|Thomas T. Ross '63 named 2010 Hendrix Award Recipient
August 18, 2010
Contact: Anna Mitchell
Tom Ross was described by his football teammates as a "hard-nosed, aggressive competitor." Standing at 6 feet and weighing 185 pounds, number 55 was a fast thinker and punishing hitter. His keen playing sense, relentless hustle, and muscular physique made Ross an athlete in every sense of the word.
Small as a linebacker, Ross nevertheless had an impressive senior campaign receiving the inaugural LaFar Defensive Trophy awarded to the most valuable defensive player. He was part of the Wildcat team that tied football powerhouse, William and Mary during the 1962 season. Ross also aided the 'Cats in a legendary victory against VPI in 1960. This hard-hitting Wildcat valued team accolades higher than his own football accomplishments. Coach Bill Dole remembers, "Ross isn't a man who'll claim credit for himself. He doesn't play for self glory; he plays for the team."
Ross graduated from Davidson in 1963 with a degree in physics. Beyond football, he was active as a Dana Scholar, Treasurer and Boarding House Manager of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and member of Sigma Pi Sigma (the honorary physics society), the Conservative Club, and the YMCA Activities Committee. Ross earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida School of Law in 1966, where he was a member of the Editorial Board of the University of Florida Law Review. Ross served in the Army Reserve's, Army Intelligence from 1967 thru 1973.
He commenced law practice in Orlando as the newest member of Akerman Senterfitt, then a 13 person Central Florida firm. Currently, after 42 years of practice, Ross is a retired partner of that same firm, a law firm which has grown to 13 offices located around the U.S. with more than 500 attorneys. Ross was based in the Orlando office and specialized in real estate, real estate development, financing, land use and entitlements. Ross was also at one time the Chairman of Akerman, which was and remains one of the largest law firms in Florida. He was listed in The Best Lawyers in America for 2001, 2002, and 2005-2009. He was a member of the Florida Bar, the Orange County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.
Ross is General Counsel of the Home Builder's Association of Central Florida and a member of the Urban Land Institute. Tom is Chairman of the board of Angel Flight Southeast, past chairman of the University of Central Florida Research Park Board of Directors , and a former long term board member of the Dr. P. Phillips Foundation and Dr. Phillips, Inc., a 200 million dollar asset charity in Central Florida. Ross also currently serves as Chairman of the board for Lighthouse Central Florida. Lighthouse is a nongovernmental agency which offers a comprehensive array of professional vision rehabilitation services, including early intervention services, training, counseling, and new state-of-the-art low vision services for the blind and visually handicapped. This cause is near and dear to his heart given his own sudden total loss of sight due to complications from a routine surgery in 2001. Ross's story of recovery and rehabilitation after that surgery is truly inspirational.
Ross has remained engaged with Davidson, having hosted several Orlando alumni gatherings. A valuable leader, donor, and fan of the Davidson Athletic Foundation, he supports the Thomas T. Ross Family Scholarship awarded to a female student athlete, held previously by volleyball player Lindsay Paroczai '09, and now by volleyball player Ariel Ley '13.
Ross lives in Windermere, Fla., outside of Orlando, with his wife JoEllen and his daughters Kendra (17) and Kari (12). Still faithful to his adopted state, the Ross family also has a summer home in Highlands, N.C.
Biography of James P. Hendrix
History of the Hendrix Award
The Hendrix Award is sponsored by the Davidson Athletic Foundation.