“I really started dreaming…and broke out of my shyness when I got to Howard University,” says Gross, perched on the steps of the School of Communications (or School of C as the HU natives call it). “My first acting class was an Intro to Acting class with Professor Bay, who really broke me out of my shell, encouraged me to follow my dreams and make them a reality.
The NAACP Image Award-winning actor recalled hanging out on campus at the Punch Out and the track field, the sport that copped him a full scholarship to Howard. He also noted his fave places to grub in D.C. like Ben’s Chili Bowl and Ben’s Next Door, where he broke bread with VIBE for a tasty lunch that day.
When it comes to the “House of Payne” star’s involvement with Toyota’s Green Initiative, he says he partnered up with the car company he held close to his heart. “I got in a really bad accident in a Toyota vehicle but I feel like the safety of the vehicle and God really saved my life.” Now, he practices greener habits in his personal life, using energy efficient appliances in his condo and unplugging when necessary.
Crediting his undergrad education to his success, Gross also offered students advice on pursuing their dreams. “It’s shown and proved that hard work pays off,” he says. “Make goals, achieve them and replace them with new goals.”