Fort Valley State University is saddened to announce the passing of LouAnn Gross, immediate past president of the FVSU National Alumni Association, Inc., on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. She was 65.
FVSU will host a campus memorial service for LouAnn Gross on Thursday, November 17 at 11 a.m. in the HPE Complex.
Gross, a resident of Riverdale, Ga., was a beloved University alumna who had served at every level of the FVSU NAA since earning her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1978, including as president from 2016 – 2020. One of her first acts as leader of the alum organization was to partner with 100 Women in Gold (WIG) to co-sponsor the Donnell Phelps Walkathon for Courage. The effort raised to endow a scholarship in honor of fallen alumnus Mr. Donnell Phelps, who lost his life while defending other alums.
Under Ms. Gross’ leadership in 2018, the Alumni Association Recognition Program (AARP) was introduced as part of the inaugural Blue and Gold Circle Awards to honor alums who were leaders in their respective career fields, outstanding contributors to the improvement of their communities, and/or have shown a continuous record of service to Fort Valley State University and/or the FVSU NAA. Gross was also heralded for launching The Gold Coat Ceremony, an enhancement to the Hall of Fame enshrinement which emphasizes that each inductee represents the gold standard in their respective induction category.
Gross’ visionary leadership continued when she pushed to celebrate FVSU’s 125th Anniversary by encouraging at least 1,000 Wildcats to support FVSU by donating $125. Her efforts resulted in scholarship funds awarded to the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program (CDEP), Athletics (non-revenue sports), GAP, and General Scholarships. To date, the campaign has been the most successful in the history of the Association and birthed the Founders’ Anniversary Campaign, which is now held annually to support scholarships for FVSU students in areas determined by the FVSU NAA Board.
“The Wildcat Family mourns the loss of Ms. LouAnn Gross,” said FVSU President Paul Jones. “She was a beloved and well-respected part of our Wildcat Family who continuously shared her time, passion, and leadership with her beloved alma mater. We are eternally grateful for her unyielding dedication and service. She will be greatly missed.”
Along with serving as FVSU NAA president, Ms. Gross had served as a member of the Fort Valley State University Foundation Board; District 1 Representative, National Alumni Membership and Recruitment Chair; Homecoming and Hunt Bond Troup Chair; past president of the Southern Crescent Alumni Chapter; and member of the Dekalb Alumni Chapter.
Beyond her alumni-related passions, Ms. Gross was also a civil servant leader who had worked for nearly 40 years in the federal sector with the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Atlanta, Georgia. Her background and focus included operational improvements, business management of government programs, and enforcement of related policies and procedures related to the Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, records, information systems, budget, and acquisitions. At the time of her death, she was the Chief of the Office of FOIA, Privacy and Litigation Support for EPA’s Southeast Region, where she had received numerous declarations, commendations, and awards, including the Alfreda Freeman Supervisor of the Year Award and National Gold Medal Award for Exceptional Service. Ms. Gross was also a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, and has one son, James.
Funeral services details for the Warrenton County, Ga. native are still pending.
President Jones has ordered the university’s flags to be lowered to half-staff beginning today in honor of Gross’ memory.