Dr. David Ross’ 50-year love affair with all things French dates back his visit to Paris and Versailles with a group of American Boy Scouts following a World Jamboree in England where he had met Scouts from France and Belgium who became life-long friends.

The next year, he began to study the language, the first step in what would become his life’s work – teaching French language, culture and literature.

The California State University, Fresno professor’s career dedication to and promotion of French language and culture resulted in being honored by the French National Ministry of Education with the award of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques.

L’ Alliance Française de Fresno and the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at Fresno State joined in honoring Dr. Ross.

n March, Patrice Servantie, the French deputy consul general in San Francisco, officially conferred the honor on Ross, a Fresno State faculty member since 1968 and associate dean of Graduate Studies from 1979-97.

He served from 2000-06 as president of the board of directors of L’Alliance Française de Fresno, as the liaison with the Fédération des Alliances Françaises de l’Amérique du Nord and with the Délegation Générale of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Ross participates in the Faculty Early Retirement Program with a reduced teaching schedule and is writing for publication.

His essay, “Madame Souza’s Casa Portuguesa in France: The Portuguese Element in Sylvain Chomet’s Multicultural, Animated Film, Les Triplettes de Belleville,” appeared in “Tradições Portuguesas (Portuguese Traditions): In honor of Claude Hulet” published in April 2007.

Ross’ most recent book is an edition of Voltaire’s “Candide, ou l’optimisme,” featuring the French text accompanied by his cultural notes, an introductory essay, extensive text notes and a glossary in English. It is intended for intermediate students of French whose first language is English.

Ross holds bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles.