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Press Release for Wednesday, May 1, 2019

UNF Biology Professor Awarded Terry Presidential Professorship

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

Dr. Cliff Ross, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of North Florida, has been selected as the recipient of the Terry Presidential Professorship.

This professorship was designed in honor of UNF President Emeritus John Delaney to recognize faculty achievements through the support of outstanding scholars. Ross joins Drs. John Hatle, Kenneth Laali, Lee Gasparov, Greg Ahearn, Andy Buchwalter, David Courtwright, Tom Pekarek and Gary Smart as the University’s ninth presidential professor.

“Serving as the Department of Biology chair, Cliff Ross has remained fully engaged in his field of coastal ecosystems while also investing time in mentoring numerous undergraduate students,” said Dr. Pam Chally, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.” I have every confidence Cliff will bring further recognition to the important contributions of all our presidential professors.”

Ross, a Mandarin resident, will receive a $7,500 stipend for the professorship and one course release each academic year. The professorship, effective in July, carries a full-term appointment of three years. Financial support for this award was established through the generosity and support of the Mary Virginia Terry family.

A UNF faculty member since 2007, Ross’ research program aims to utilize biochemical, cellular and ecological approaches to better understand stress responses in marine and freshwater organisms. He has taught an array of courses including Marine Biology, Oceanography, Marine Botany, General Biology I and Current Applications in Biology for non-majors.

Ross currently holds a position as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution and is a regular presenter at regional, national and international conferences. He’s published numerous publications and his works had had a positive impact on the growing reputation of the Department of Biology and UNF.


He has received several awards and fellowships including the UNF Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award, UNF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, UNF Disability Resource Center’s Empowerment Award, UNF Dean’s Council Faculty Fellowship and the Smithsonian Marine Station Postdoctoral Fellowship, to name a few.

Since arriving at UNF, Ross has maintained an extremely active, student-centered research program. He and his students are particularly interested in evaluating the impacts of environmental stressors on cellular processes with the ultimate goal of understanding how this influences ecosystem functionality. The work he and his students have accomplished has been funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Smithsonian, Mote Marine Laboratory’s “Protect Our Reefs” program and various UNF funding sources.

He received his doctorate in Marine Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce. Ross received his master’s in marine biology from Florida Atlantic University, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.



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