Northwest went all the way to Tinseltown and came back with an experienced film producer to take over former professor Matt Rouch’s classes in the mass communications department.
The University approached Justin Ross, Theo Ross’ son, to fill in as a temporary replacement for the semester. Not only will Ross teach his Hollywood knowledge, he will also take a walk down memory lane with his father.
“I am an alumni and before that I was a townie,” Justin Ross said. “I still have family here. My father teaches and directs plays, and so I always come back as often as possible to see him and the people I still know.”
Justin Ross is teaching four classes in Wells Hall and said he is greatly blessed to be teaching and sharing the profession with his father, Theo Ross.
Before the department asked Justin Ross to fill the open position, he was working as a head of development for a motion picture company. The latest film he worked on was “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D.” Justin Ross has lived in L.A. for six years and plans to return after his teaching semester is over.
“If this was more than a semester, I probably couldn’t do it,” Justin Ross said. “We have a couple feature films that are getting close to production.”
Justin Ross claims that most of his success is due to Northwest. He attended Horace Mann Laboratory School, received his undergraduate degree from Northwest and made fond memories he said he will remember and relive while teaching on campus.
“I’ve grown up on this campus,” Justin Ross said. “And you know, after school I’d hang out with my dad in the performing arts center and watch him direct actors. It’s kind of in my blood.
“And not just coming back and being part of the Northwest family on the substantial level, which I love, but to be able to contribute to the next generation of students is even more rewarding.”
Students are also enjoying Justin Ross’ time in Maryville, and seem to be proactive in his classes.
“You can tell that Justin really cares about our ideas,” senior Chance Parsons said. “Instead of shooting them down right away, he will spend a gracious amount of his time to help craft and mold your idea to the best potential.”
Ross has created a fresh, new vibe for the classes he is teaching, and his overall presence in Wells Hall is noticeable.
“It’s wonderful (to have him in town)...” Theo Ross said. “We relate as colleagues now, which we have always related as a father and son. But it’s a different perspective. It is interesting, but I am enjoying it.”