Graduate School

The University of Mississippi
Valeria Beasley-Ross

Against All Odds

Valeria Beasley-Ross arrived at the University of Mississippi with a high school diploma and began a job as a senior secretary. With the support of her friends and family, she has climbed the academic ladder and will be receiving a Ph.D. in Higher Education.

Motivation for Furthering Education:

Ross’s educational journey began with her mother, who stressed the importance of education not only to Ross, but to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her life partner, who pushed her to apply to graduate school, reinforced her strong support base. Ross’s desire to obtain a terminal advanced degree was not just a personal quest. She was determined to make a better life for her daughters and inspire them to continue in their own education.


Ross obtained a Ph.D. while working in the Office of the Dean of Students as the Assistant Dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs and Volunteer Services. She is the advisor to the Black Student Union, African Caribbean Student Association, National Pan-Hellenic Council, the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir and supervises the Americorps Campus Link Team. While working at the University she has been honored by numerous student organizations.

Future Plans:

Ross hopes that her degree will help with her pursuit of an upper level administrative position in higher education, but more importantly she hopes this will help with the future academic successes of her family. She is now in the position to motivate and inspire her daughters to continue their educations. With her degree, she will increase the quality of life opportunities for her family.

What Does Earning A Ph.D. Mean:

“It means that I have demonstrated the ability to conduct and report research, to problem solve, to think critically, to use intellectual ideas, and theories. I also think (and hope) it demonstrates for me, that I appreciate the people and educational resources that the university affords to me as a member of the institution’s community.”