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Intertwining Lives

Sunday, September 18, 2011

With her passion for service, Cindy Hartley Ross creates a beautiful and meaningful tapestry by weaving together the lives of generous givers with those in need. Learn about her unparalleled leadership and devotion to uplifting Polk State College and the community.

The Dennis and Cindy Hartley Ross Scholarship

The Loyola Kerekes Ross Scholarship

Cindy Hartley Ross is an active local leader whose passion for Polk State College is well represented by more than eleven years of service on the College’s District Board of Trustees from May 31, 1999 to the present. She was Vice Chair July 2004 to June 2005, and served as Chair from July 2005 until June 2006.

Cindy’s involvement with the Polk State College Foundation began in 1999 as a member of the Republican Women’s Club. The group was looking to focus charitable giving in other areas, but Cindy persuaded the group to continue contributions and use those donations to form an endowed scholarship. Over $17,000 has been contributed to date, and the club is proud to be able to help more students in this way.

Along with her husband Dennis Ross, Cindy established the Dennis and Cindy Hartley Ross Scholarship for graduates of George Jenkins High School (GJHS) in 2002.

In 2004, Dennis and Cindy started their second scholarship in honor of Dennis’ mother Loyola Kerekes Ross. She was a Registered Nurse who volunteered her time and talents to a neighborhood mobile street service for women. When Mrs. Ross passed away the family invited others to contribute to the Loyola K. Ross Nursing Scholarship and the donations were overwhelmingly generous. Now that both scholarships are endowed, these gifts will benefit students in perpetuity.

Having personally experienced a feeling of comfort in memorializing a loved one, Cindy encouraged the family of GJHS student and enthusiastic wrestler, Dakota Evans, to start a scholarship in his memory after his untimely death in 2006.

Then in 2009, GJHS student Jared Zumbrun passed away after a long battle with cancer. Once again, Cindy remembered the Dakota Evans scholarship and the comfort it brought, and helped the friends and family of Jared honor his memory by helping others attend Polk State College.

Cindy actively participates in the Florida Association of Community Colleges and the national organization, the Association of Community College Trustees. She previously served on the ACCT Southern Nominating Committee and served on the Education and Communications Committee.

Cindy assisted in educating and persuading legislators to retain and increase the Perkins Grant and Pell Grants. Additionally, she supported development of a national course title and numbering system synonymous for all colleges, state, private, Community Colleges and Universities to benefit transfer students.

Other service to Polk State College includes serving on the PSC Foundation Board of Directors, and as Vice President of the Alumni Association in 2009 and President in 2010.

Displaying her commitment to the arts, Cindy serves as President of the Polk Arts Alliance (PAA) and is editor for its Art-i-facts magazine. When PAA was in between Executive Directors, she stepped in and handled many of the interim responsibilities. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Governors for the Polk Museum of Art.

Cindy serves on numerous boards, including Florida House – Washington, DC, Lakeland Council; Polk County Property Appraiser’s Kids Tag Art; the Advisory Boards of Habitat for Humanity and Junior League of Greater Lakeland; and is an Ambassador for Girls Inc. At George Jenkins High School she chaired the Teacher/Employee of the Year Celebration there last year and was the 2008-2009 Volunteer of the Year. She is President of the Academic Boosters Club for the 2010-2011 school year.

In July 2010, Cindy was appointed as a commissioner for the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

A member of the Republican Women’s Club of Lakeland, Cindy believes strongly in America’s electoral process and has served as campaign coordinator and fundraiser for numerous political campaigns.

Cindy and Dennis reside in Lakeland with their two sons, Shane and Travis, where they are members of the First Presbyterian Church. They enjoy traveling together and have visited forty-nine of the fifty states and several countries as a family. “Giving, sharing and helping others brings an amazing feeling of comfort, joy and peace to my inner self as I try to please God in all that I do.”