Benjamin J. Roess '14
Q&A with Ben
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Oakwood, Ohio, the first suburb south of Dayton. Fun fact: Oakwood has the largest amount of albino white squirrels per square mile in North America, and it is also the home of the Wright Brothers.
What's your family like?
I am the second of two children. My sister, Claire, is a senior at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and plans to attend dental school next fall. Both of my parents are DePauw alumni: My mom Becky graduated in 1977 and works as a trust manager for a local bank while my dad Will graduated in 1979 and works in the business sector for an engineering firm. In addition, I have a four-year-old rescue dog named Ziggy and a frog named Eddie that I got as a tadpole in first grade.
What do you remember about high school? What were your favorite activities? Who inspired you?
I loved high school. I went to a small public school in walking distance from my house, so I definitely felt a strong sense of community and friendship. I played baseball all four years, and I was also the president of my class. In addition, being a member of the choir provided me with many fond memories. My sophomore-year AP US History Teacher, John Moore, greatly inspired me not only to be a student of learning but also a student of life.
How did you discover DePauw?
I had been to DePauw a number of times throughout my childhood for various alumni events and athletic contests because of my parents, but it wasn’t until junior year in high school that I realized that it could be a great fit for me. After meeting Keith Stanford in the Admissions Office and taking a few official visits, my mind was made.
What were your first impressions of the University? Do you find they’re still true today?
My first impression of DePauw was that it was amazing how involved people simply wanted to be. Here we are in a small town in rural Indiana, thinking new thoughts and meeting new people on a daily basis…I was amazed! After spending more time here, I definitely affirmed this impression because I realize what an impact this place has both on each of its students and faculty but also on the outside world. It really doesn’t take much searching to find the countless opportunities available within our borders, no matter how small or isolated they may initially feel.
What DePauw mentor has inspired you?
Dorothy Brown, the housemother at my fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, is an amazing and inspiring woman. Mom Brown has such a quiet, observant demeanor, but she doesn’t miss a thing within the house or on campus. She has been there for me in times of greatest need, and I will never forget her amazing displays of sincerity. Spending time getting to know her and her amazing story of progressing through Indiana’s education system as an African American female teacher and administrator earns my constant respect, and she has done so much for DePauw both with the Dorothy Brown Cultural Resource Center and within the inter-fraternity community. There is nothing like a good Mom Brown story, and she has the most infectious laugh I have ever heard.
Have you volunteered as a student?
I have – I spend an hour a week at the Putnam County Senior Center on the square helping clean up after brunch or simply having coffee and conversation, and I have met some great people by doing so. In addition, I started helping out this year with the JumpstART program; we meet with local elementary school kids once a month and teach them about art through hands-on projects and interactive discussion.
What are your plans after DePauw?
I wish this was the first time I’ve been asked this! While I don’t have a perfectly definitive plan at this point, I am either planning on continuing on to Law School or graduate school in public policy. Hopefully becoming a GOLD Scholar will help me refine my decision and meet some great contacts in the process.
What advice or perspective would you share with others?
Don’t let DePauw end at graduation, and don’t be afraid to brag about how awesome it is. And next time you get a GCB, get it with bacon and grilled onions.