Elder Conrad M. Rocha has been named interim synod executive/stated clerk for the Synod of the Southwest, succeeding the Rev. Jan DeVries, who is now executive presbyter for Grace Presbytery.

Rocha, an attorney, is executive director of Law Access New Mexico, a not-for-profit organization that provides free legal services to New Mexico’s poor. He is a member of La Mesa Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque and has served in a variety of capacities at all levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), most recently as moderator of the Synod of the Southwest and as a member of the General Assembly Mission Council.

Rocha began his full-time service with the synod on Aug. 17. His term of office is one-year, renewable for two additional terms.

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Davidson College (N.C.) President Tom Ross has been unanimously elected president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina. Ross, 60, will take office January 1, 2011.

Ross, a native of Greensboro, N.C., has been president of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related Davidson since 2007. He is a 1972 graduate of the college. A lawyer, Ross has had a long and distinguished career in legal, government and public service. In 2000 he received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, given to one judge in the nation each year. In 1994 he was named National Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine.

During Ross's tenure, Davidson adopted a visionary strategic plan for Davidson's future and implemented The Davidson Trust, becoming the first liberal arts college in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages and giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. The college also established the Alvarez Scholars Program, which provides scholarships for international students at Davidson.

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Maryville College alumna Laura Atkinson has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to study at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theatre in Leipzig, Germany. A native of Louisville, Atkinson is a member of Central Presbyterian Church there.

Under the guidance of Professor Jeanette Favaro-Reuter, Atkinson will work on a project based on the music of German composer Robert Schumann.  She has also been awarded a six-week intensive language course. She and her husband, Jason Steigerwalt, will move to Germany for the 2010-11 academic year.