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UB prof in 'What People Earn' report

A University at Buffalo professor is willingly sharing with a national audience a piece of personal information that many people won't even reveal to friends and family: his salary.

Gary Earl Ross, a professor in UB's Educational Opportunity Center and a noted local writer, revealed his income as part of Parade magazine's annual "What People Earn" report.

The issue will appear in Sunday's edition of The Buffalo News and other papers. This doesn't faze Ross, who offered to reveal his income after reading last year's Parade report.

"I was curious what would come from it," Ross told The News on Friday.

Ross, who is 55 and a Buffalo resident, told Parade he earns $64,900 per year.

He said that's an estimate that takes into account his UB salary, primarily, and modest income from his writing.

Ross is an author and playwright, and Ujima's TheaterLoft and other local theater companies have produced his works.

He said he is a regular reader of Parade and the magazine's annual salary report, in part because of his natural interest in how his salary compares to what others earn.

Last year, the article included a link to a Web page through which people could express interest in sharing their salary in the 2007 issue.

"I had nothing better to do at that moment, so I filled it out," Ross said. He noted that his UB salary already is public information because he is an employee of a state university.

A Parade staffer contacted him by phone, and a photographer later came to his house to snap his picture for the issue.

He shares Page 16 with international soccer star David Beckham, who earns $50 million per year, and actor Will Smith, who takes home a more modest $25 million in salary.

Ross said he considers himself part of the middle class and not particularly wealthy.

His reported salary is well above the estimated median income of $41,967 for Erie County residents, according to 2005 U.S. Census figures.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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