Island University Dedicates Bench in Honor of Rabbi Kenneth Roseman

By Olivia Santos | Published: November 03, 2020

Island University Dedicates Bench in Honor of Rabbi Kenneth Roseman

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi hosted an intimate reception on Oct. 25 to dedicate a bench in memory Rabbi Kenneth Roseman (1939-2020), former Islander professor, student and long-time member of the community.

During the reception, Roseman’s family and longtime friends were invited to share stories. The wooden bench is in a high traffic area, just outside the Michael and Karen O’Connor Building, directly across from Lee Plaza.

“When we first came here, the University became a big part of Ken’s life,” said Phyllis Roseman, wife of the late Rabbi. “He loved history and teaching students. Education was the most important thing in his life; he never stopped learning. Looking around, I know he would have loved this, because he loved talking to students, and this would have been the perfect spot.”

An educator to both students and the community, Roseman’s long and distinguished career touched the lives of many, including University President and CEO, Dr. Kelly Miller.

“When I had an office in the Faculty Center, I would see Rabbi Roseman sitting on a bench talking to students and colleagues for hours about religion, history, philosophy and life. So when I heard his family was dedicating a bench in his honor, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to honor his memory here on campus,” President Miller said. “He was so well connected to students inside and outside of the classroom. It makes me extremely happy to know that we now have this permanent legacy in his honor. He left a legacy in all the lives he touched, including mine.”

Born in Washington, D.C., Roseman arrived in Corpus Christi in 2002 to help merge Temple Beth El and the B’nai Israel synagogues. He became the first Rabbi of the merged congregations, Temple Shalom, and continued serving in that role until his retirement in 2014. His passion to educate and stimulate young minds drew Roseman to his role at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi where he taught courses like Issues in Contemporary Religion, U.S. History Since 1865, and History of Religion in the United States in the Department of Humanities from 2010 to 2015.

“As a rabbi, professor, author, and student, he was always a very smart man but also very fun to be around. Ken was always a close friend,” said Chris Adler, family friend and University philanthropist. “It was our great fortune the day Kenneth Roseman came to town.” 

Roseman transitioned from Islander professor to Islander student following his retirement from the Island University in 2015. A supporter of many multi-religious organizations, Roseman’s colleagues and fellow students remember him as a caring, compassionate person who loved to be around students and stay connected to the world around him.

“There are not enough words in our language to describe what Ken was like – I treasured the time we had together,” said Larry Urban, longtime friend and University supporter. “When you spoke with him, Ken made you think, and that’s a wonderful gift to have. For someone of his age and knowledge to stimulate the minds of young people – we always thought was truly amazing.”

During his career, Roseman received many awards and was a prolific prize-winning author.

“My father was a lifelong learner and because of him, it’s become one of the core values of our family. It’s what he taught us and what he taught the communities he led – to be inspired and passionate about learning and curiosity,” said Michael Roseman, son. “For my father, it was never work – it was his life, his passion. Connecting with people and helping improve their quality of life was key for him. It was not only his vocation but his avocation.”

To learn more about donating a permanent memorial at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in honor of a colleague, friend, or loved one, call 361.825.3320.