James “Jim” Rosengren, Class of ’81 passed away Monday, March 28, 2022. Rosengren, with his wife, Julia, supported a wide range of programs across the university including making multi-million-dollar gifts to the College of Sciences, the College of Arts and Humanities and UCF Athletics.
From the start of their philanthropic relationship with UCF, the Rosengrens wanted to ensure their support of the university would resonate for years to come, and while many donors target a single program, Rosengren often said that he and his wife were passionate about so many things at UCF, they couldn’t pick just one area to support. Their philanthropic support for UCF encompassed modern languages, athletics, sea turtle research, endowed professorships, and PTSD treatments for veterans and first responders.
“Jim and Julia’s generous support of UCF’s academic and athletics excellence will strengthen our university and community for generations,” said UCF President Alexander Cartwright. “Their passion for partnership with UCF RESTORES will continue to help veterans, first responders and others who suffer from PTSD regain their lives. I will always be thankful for how much Jim loved UCF and how our university was always ‘home’ for him.”
A retired combat medic, Rosengren was devoted to veterans and first responders and provided not only financial support, but also also advice to UCF RESTORES, a program known nationally for its innovative PTSD treatment. The Rosengrens’ endowed support for UCF RESTORES helped ensure its future ability to provide treatment at no cost to its patients. The PTSD clinic was renamed the Rosengren Trauma Clinic at UCF RESTORES several years ago in honor of the Rosengrens’ generosity.
“When we first met Jim,” says Deborah Beidel, Ph.D., executive director of UCF RESTORES, “he said, ‘I don’t want to just be a financial donor, I want to be your partner,’ and what a partner he was… We will miss his wisdom, laughter and genuine delight over every UCF RESTORES’ achievement.”
Athletics was also near to Rosengren’s heart. As a UCF student and ROTC cadet commander, he marched with the honor guard and fired a cannon to celebrate touchdowns in the downtown Citrus Bowl where the fledgling team played at the time. He continued to be a supporter of the Knights and UCF’s athletic programs throughout his life; his generosity helped create the on-field cabanas and the Rosengren Lounge in the Bounce House, UCF’s stadium.
“The generosity of Jim and Julia has helped the university tremendously,” said Michael D. Johnson, UCF provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “Their support of programs across UCF and their commitment to our students, student-athletes, and overall academic excellence will benefit lives and UCF’s upward trajectory for many years to come.”
For Rosengren, giving back to his alma mater was an honor. “For us to be able to take some of our wealth and put it into things I am passionate about, and Julia has become very passionate about, for me, there’s no better place,” Rosengren often said. “It’s like Dorothy said [in the Wizard of Oz], ‘There’s no place like home.’”
With his passing, James Rosengren’s UCF home is diminished but it is a better place for his having been here.