Dartmouth 2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: Russell A. Boss ’61 (Doctor of Humane Letters)



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Dartmouth alumnus, philanthropist, and retired executive

Russell A. “Ron” Boss earned an AB from Dartmouth College in 1961. While at Dartmouth, he was a member of ROTC, Sigma Nu Delta fraternity, and the Dartmouth Corinthian Yacht Club. He represented Dartmouth as a skipper on the 1956 Intercollegiate Sailing Team, racing for the Lipton Trophy in England. Under Dartmouth’s 3-2 program with the Tuck School, he spent his senior year at Tuck after majoring in geography as an undergraduate.


He spent three years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard before beginning a 46-year career with A.T. Cross Co., the maker of fine writing instruments, based in Lincoln, R.I. At Cross, he went from being a manufacturing manager to become president and CEO and finally chairman of the board of the company, which in 1971 went public.

An active alumnus, Boss has been a class agent, enrollment interviewer, and has been on his class executive committee. He was class head agent in the three years leading up to his 25th reunion, class 25th reunion giving chair, and served two terms on the Alumni Council, which he served as president. He was also chair of the Alumni Fund Committee while on the council.

He is also a past president of the Dartmouth Club of Rhode Island. He served as vice chair of the Will to Excel Campaign, is a past member of the President’sLeadership Council, and served two terms on the Alumni Awards Committee. Boss is a member of the Wearers of the Green and a winner of the Dartmouth Alumni Award.

He has served on the boards of various private and public companies, including at A.T. Cross, Brown & Sharpe, and Eastern Utilities Associates. In addition, he is a former governor of the American Stock Exchange. He is a past board member and chairman of the United Way of Southeastern New England and of United Way’s Tocqueville Society. A former president of the Manufacturing Jewelers of America, he was also a founder of the Jewelry Institute.

Boss was on the board of Rhode Island Hospital for many years and was vice chair of its Hasbro Children’s Hospital campaign. He also chaired the hospital’s Legacy Capital Campaign and remains on the Rhode Island Hospital Foundation Board.

Always interested in education, Boss has been on the boards of the Rocky Hill and Moses Brown schools and is a past president of Rocky Hill’s school board. A 1957 graduate of Moses Brown, he received the school’s 25th and 50th alumni awards.

A yachtsman and sailing champion, he was a New England junior sailing champion, was third in the North American junior sailing championships for the Sears Cup,and has wonmany championships in Narragansett Bay.

Boss is married to Marjorie B. Boss. Their daughters are: Robin Boss, Martha Bennett ’89, and the late Alexis Boss ’93, an All-Ivy singles and doubles tennis player.

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Susan J. Boutwell