J. D. Ross started his career in education in the Quad Cities where he worked in both the Rock Island Public School District and the United Township High School District in his hometown of East Moline, Illinois.
In 1974, Ross accepted employment at Joliet Junior College (JJC). Over the years, he held numerous administrative positions within the academic division of the college including that of Vice President of Academic Affairs. In February of 1999, he was appointed to serve as the 6th President of the college, a position he held for just over 7 years.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a lifetime achievement award from the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce. In 2005, in recognition of his extensive service to the community during his tenure at Joliet Junior College, the Board of Trustees named the college’s highest award in his honor, “The J. D. Ross Extraordinary Service Award” and also established a scholarship in his name.
Ross and his wife Helen reside in Joliet, Illinois.