William & Mary

Notice regarding Professor Emerita Ellen F. Rosen

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to the campus community June 6, 2016 - Ed.

Dear colleagues, I write to pass along the news that Ellen F. Rosen, Professor of Psychology, Emerita, passed away recently.

Ellen Rosen was born January 28, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, to Clara Paulker and Samuel Rosen. Before she entered school, the family moved to Glencoe, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago, where she attended elementary and middle school. In 1958, she graduated from New Trier High School, one of the premier American high schools. She earned a B.A. from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a major in psychology.  She completed a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign in 1967 and was hired immediately as an assistant professor at William & Mary.

Her teaching interests were in the technical and quantitative areas of psychology.  She taught statistics and experimental design as well as physiological psychology, but also instructed Human Sexuality, Women in Psychology and seminars in emerging areas of the discipline.  Prof. Rosen also taught several courses in the Women's Studies Program. She served several terms as director of the graduate program in psychology.  She earned tenure in 1971 and later was promoted to full professor. She and her research partner Linda Petty were awarded grants from the Department of Education and the National Institute of Mental Health to support their research and to develop innovative educational programs for students and faculty at Hampton University (HU). In 1993, Prof. Rosen co-authored Gatekeepers of Psychology with E. Rae Harcum, a colleague in the psychology department at W&M.  In 1999, she retired as Professor Emeritus after 32 years at W&M.  Following retirement, she became Dean of the Graduate Programs at Chicago State University (CSU), a minority university on the south side of a Chicago. During her time at CSU, the graduate programs flourished with the addition of numerous masters’ level programs and the approval of several terminal degrees.

In 2004, Ellen and her life partner Linda Petty retired and moved to Davis, California, where they had often visited friends and enjoyed the low humidity.  When they could legally marry in California in 2008, Ellen asked Linda to marry her. They were married a few days after the judge's ruling.  Ellen volunteered at community meals for many years, earning the nickname “The Salad Lady.” She was also a dedicated volunteer at the Davis Police Department. Her favorite activity there was directing traffic on Picnic Day.  As an active member of the Davis Unitarian Universalist Church, she served on the finance committee, was a worship associate, and sang in the choir. She brought years of experience and wisdom to her service on the Davis Human Rights Commission. Through her early experiences as a Jewish girl in the post WWII upper class suburban Midwest and her consciousness raising in the 1960s, she was always a soldier in the army for social justice.  She was a founder of the Women's Studies program and was an advocate and mentor for women and minority students at W&M.  She served in many volunteer and grant funded capacities in the psychology department and the Center for Teaching Excellence at HU. She was a teacher and mentor of minority students at HU and CSU. She was a feminist, lesbian educator who served and loved her students. They are her legacy.

Ellen cultivated her love of nature and all animals. She had a special affinity for dogs, and in the course of her life, she nurtured 27 dogs in her home. She was an early supporter of the Best Friends Animal Statuary in Utah.

Ellen is survived by her life partner of 45 years and wife of 8 years, Linda Petty. She leaves behind her brother Elliott Rosen, his wife Sandy, and their daughters Samantha and LiShan of Chicago, Illinois. She took on the role of mother to a deceased friend’s son, Jeff Justice, of Virginia Beach. Ellen also has an adopted daughter-in-law, Lori Mathis, and a granddaughter, Dani Mathis, of Marietta, Georgia.

Ellen's memorial service will be held on June 18th at 2 PM at the Unitarian Universalists Church, Patwin Road, Davis, CA. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to Best Friends Animal Statuary of Utah.