MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Preparations are well underway to inaugurate the new president of Alabama State University. Former state lawmaker Dr. Quinton Ross took the helm 10 months ago but won't officially be sworn in until later this month.
"These are good times. Hold on for the ride," Dr. Ross said to an incoming freshman from overseas Thursday morning.
And what a ride it's been so far for Ross. A one-time high school principal and state lawmaker, Ross is now just days away from being inaugurated as Alabama State University's newest president. He still can't believe it after being in office for:
"317 days. I'm keeping calendar days," Ross said with a smile.
And keeping tabs on what he hopes to accomplish once he officially takes up the mantle on Aug. 30.
"Developing relationships that will be meaningful to the institution and to the success of our students. That's a major goal," he said.
Dr. Ross took over a school rocked by turmoil and instability under three previous administrations. From all it appearances, it appears Ross has become a stabilizing force, a view he gladly embraces.
"One of the things we did is we immediately looked at our fiscal standing and we refinanced some of our debt," said Ross.
After our interview, Ross took a stroll through campus to connect with students, some of whom by the way make up one of the largest freshman classes in recent memory. According to school leaders, 1,200 or so freshmen have enrolled.
Ross earned all of his degrees from Alabama State University and never thought in a million years, he would become its 15th president.
At 49, President Ross doesn't bother trying to figure out how long he wants to remain as ASU president. He plans to take it one day at a time and see where the journey leads, a journey that started with the first step 317 days ago.
"Sometimes I have to pinch myself," he said.
Alabama State University officials said inauguration festivities begin Sunday, Aug. 26. The itinerary features luncheons, performances, speakers and Dr. Ross' formal inauguration on Thursday at 10 a.m. Aug. 30 in the Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
The events continue throughout the weekend, including the football match-up between Alabama State University and Tuskegee University in Hornet Stadium.