The Torch Bearer

Susan Rose

Susan Rose. Photo by David J. Nelson

Jack Rose

Jack Rose

Susan Rose is neither an alumna nor an emerita, but she is definitely a big part of the CSULB family. Jack Rose, her late husband, professor emeritus of kinesiology and physical education, longtime track and field head coach and Long Beach State Hall of Fame inductee, provided the inspiration.

“Jack came to CSULB when he was still in graduate school at USC getting his doctorate,” Rose said. “He was the type of person who would involve himself completely in the university. Jack always made friends all over campus and became active in so many areas. When they started Jewels of the Night, he got on the committee. And that’s one thing that got me going, being on the Jewels of the Night committee, because he would have continued to be on it, and I wanted to carry his love of the campus onward.”

Rose, who is from Northern California, met Jack in 1954 while she and her family were hiking in the California Sierras and right after she graduated from UCLA with a degree in interior design. Their first date involved climbing Mount Whitney together.

Despite being opposites in their fields of study, “we decided we were a good pair,” Rose said. They were engaged by Christmas and married in 1955. “It was interesting because I think art and the out of doors blend and he appreciated the beauty of Mother Nature, which is especially important to me. I really didn’t know much about track and field when we were first married, but I learned to be a timer and a track official. Later on, he became the executive director of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. That was a wonderful experience because I got to meet so many of the famous athletes in the world.”

As Jack’s tenure at CSULB progressed, Rose found her own niche.

“I wanted to be active on campus to support my husband, and at that time, we had a women’s group that was made up of housewives,” she explained. “We had a tennis group; we had a dine-out group; we had deans and department chairs and all kinds of interesting people that I got to meet. But, as time progressed, so many of the women began working that it no longer became a necessity for people. I still wanted to be active on campus in the arts, and that’s when I found out about Fine Arts Affiliates.”

Rose joined Fine Arts Affiliates, which raises money for CSULB arts related student scholarships; served as president twice and has held numerous other offices on the board.

“I enjoy being part of it,” she commented. “I attend some of the theater events. I go to the art sales. I’ve purchased a lot of things at the art sales to support the School of Art and, of course, music. Now, I’m a Fine Arts Affiliates board representative for the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.”

As a believer in public education and an advocate for the recently passed Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s initiative to increase state revenues for state universities, Rose is also heavily involved with Women & Philanthropy. Founded in 1998, the group engages its members in funding scholarships and student research.

“(The late) Nini Horn was the one who decided that we needed something for reentry women,” Rose said. “It took about a year and a half of meetings before we decided how W&P should function, and it’s expanded even beyond what we started. We would find women who had to quit their education because they had kids. Since they didn’t have any money, we would provide scholarships for them. And then we began giving money out for student research. We’ve even had a reentry man. I guess you could say we’re the women who promote philanthropy. We’ve enlarged our focus.”

Rose’s desire to keep her late husband’s legacy alive also has resulted in the creation of the Jack Rose Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding kinesiology students who have an interest in track and field/cross country or are currently a member of Long Beach State’s team.

“Jack was a teacher and lifelong learning advocate,” Rose said. “These are challenging times as the cost of tuition at CSU now exceeds the state allocation per student. My husband was a champion for any student whose dreams may have exceeded their personal resources.

“Above all, Jack loved The Beach,” she continued. “He was an integral part of creating excellence at this university and would be extremely proud to know that his legacy lives on. I hope each of you will remember that one special student or experience during your faculty or staff tenure that will inspire you to consider making your own legacy gift to preserve the foundation and tradition of excellence you helped build at CSULB.”