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  July 19, 2004

Former Head Of English, William Rosen, Dies

William Rosen, a professor emeritus of English, died of cancer at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 77.

Rosen joined the English department in 1960 and was department head from 1987 until he retired in 1992. He helped establish the Connecticut Writing Project.

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Rosen earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Harvard, specializing in Shakespearean and Elizabethan literature. He wrote Shakespeare and the Craft of Tragedy and, with his wife Barbara, co-authored material for the Signet edition of Julius Caesar.

"He was a generous man and a true humanist, who was dedicated to many different social causes," says Robert Tilton, chair of the English department. "I always found him to be a true gentleman who gave me lots of good advice when I became department head."

Kathy Jambeck, who was a graduate student when Rosen was department head, says he was "an indefatigable risk-taker, problem-solver, and optimist. He also possessed the endearing qualities of political acuity and social savvy, combined with a modest and earnest commitment to worthwhile causes." Jambeck is director of the Connecticut Writing Project.

Rosen was an active member of the University and the community at large. He was president of the UConn chapter of the American Association of University Professors in 1975, when it won the right to represent faculty members in contract negotiations.

He was a volunteer ombudsman at the Mansfield Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation from 1994-2003, and the town's commission on aging. He was an active member of the Mansfield Town Council from 1999-2003, and helped facilitate the development of the Mansfield Community Center.

After his retirement, Rosen led classes for Connecticut Learning in Retirement, and after moving to Oregon, for Southern Oregon Learning in Retirement.

He is survived by Barbara, his wife of 43 years; daughters Judith Rosen and Susan Moen; and two grand-children.

Contributions may be made in his memory to the William and Barbara Rosen Fund, and sent to the Department of English, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06268; or to the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry, P.O. Box 221, Willimantic, CT 06226.