A graduate of the Point Pleasant High School, Class of 1963, Thomas R. Ross has many fond memories of the years that he and his sister, Patricia "Patty" Ross Harman (Class of 1961) lived in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. His late father, Samuel T. Ross, was manager of the Point Pleasant Celanese Corporation for several years, concluding his time in Point Pleasant in 1963. Mrs. Willow June Lowery Ross, late mother of Thomas and Patty, enjoyed hosting many social activities while the family resided in Point Pleasant.

Patty attended West Virginia University and later taught elementary school in California for many years. She is now retired. Mr. Ross completed his education at the Pennsylvania State University and Central Michigan University, following which he served for thirty-eight years in the United States Agency for International Development Foreign Service and Civil Service. During his career, he focused on international development assistance in Latin America/Caribbean and Africa. Now retired, he resides in Washington, D.C.

While Mr. Ross traveled to many different places as a child, he says that some of his happiest and best memories are of his years spent in West Virginia. As a way of giving back to the Mason County community where he attended high school, Mr. Ross has initiated a permanent charitable scholarship fund for the benefit of Point Pleasant High School students within the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). Founded in 1963, the PACF is a nationally accredited community foundation that is a regional public charity serving eleven counties in the Mid-Ohio Valley region, including Mason County. The PACF manages a wide array of charitable funds for the benefit of the citizens of its service region of which one type are scholarships.

To be eligible to apply for this award, applicants must be graduating seniors at the Point Pleasant High School who have been admitted to attend a regionally-accredited four-year college or university. The Ross Family award is intended to focus on academic excellence and need for financial assistance with the costs of education. Applicants must have at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average across all four high school years and be planning to achieve at least a Bachelor's level degree.