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David Paul Roselle

David Paul Roselle, 84, died on April 15, 2024. He leaves behind a loving family and a large community of friends and colleagues. David was born on May 30, 1939 in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Chester University and received his PhD in Mathematics from Duke University.  At Duke, he met his wife, Louise Dowling. They were married in 1967.

During his early career, David was a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, Louisiana State University and Virginia Tech. He was a member of the Mathematical Association of America and served as its secretary for ten years. He was a highly regarded mathematician, with numerous publications and recognitions. At Virginia Tech, he was recognized for his leadership skills and became dean of the Graduate School and later the provost. In 1987, he was selected to be the 9th president of the University of Kentucky. David is remembered for leading the university through a basketball scandal that started shortly after his arrival. He was praised for his honest and thorough approach to the investigation and in 1989 was named Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.

In 1990, David was appointed the 25th president of the University of Delaware, a position that he held for 17 years. He deeply loved UD and successfully led the university through a capital campaign, tripling the university’s endowment. After retiring from UD in 2007, David assumed the position of Executive Director of Winterthur Museum for ten years.

During his lifetime, David was honored to have had two buildings named for him, The Louise and David Roselle Center for the Arts at UD and Roselle Hall at UK, which was named 21 years after he left Kentucky.

David was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He found his greatest joys in watching and hearing about the lives of his children and grandchildren, who called him GoDad, a nickname that he always loved. He was a deeply kind man who instilled a happy, humble, and calm attitude in those close to him. He loved golf, but the golf that he cherished most, and where he played most of his rounds, was late on summer evenings, surrounded by family, laughter, love, and long shadows.

David is survived by his wife, Louise, their son, Arthur Roselle and his wife, Paige; their daughter, Cynthia Koenig, and her husband, Trevor; their five grandchildren: Charles, David, and Faye Roselle; and Trevor and John Koenig. He is also survived by his sister, Sue Ellen Roselle and her daughter, Beth Brown, his sister-law, Marsha Roselle, and her son Paul Roselle.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, April 29, 2024 at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 E. Buck Road, Wilmington, DE 19807. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the University of Delaware or Winterthur Museum.

Funeral Services

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, April 29, 2024 at Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 E. Buck Road, Wilmington, DE 19807. Interment will be private.


    Ed&Anne Carter lit a candle and writes,
    Louise, Arthur and Cynthia and other family members we are so saddened to hear of David’s passing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Anne and I cherish the very special time we were privileged to spend with you while you were in Kentucky, They are times we have never forgotten and relive often. God will welcome David into the land of joy and light to join the community of saints. Peace be with you and all the Roselle family. Ed and Anne Carter
    04/16/2024 08:08 pm
    Robert Stozek lit a candle and writes,
    I am truly saddened to hear of Dave's passing. I worked for him at UD at a time when he brought momentous change to the university. I will always remember our conversations, how he listened, and how he made one feel appreciated. He was a great man with a big heart who showed his love for UD in so many ways and I am proud to have known and worked with him.
    04/16/2024 10:30 pm
    Michael Middaugh lit a candle and writes,
    I had the privilege of serving in the Roselle administration for 17 years at the University of Delaware. David was the most transformative President in the University’s history. His vision and leadership forged a true sense of community at UD. I will miss his wry sense of humor. My sincere condolences to Louise and the rest of the family. Rest in peace, David.
    04/17/2024 05:20 am
    John and Dodo Newlin writes,
    David was a dear friend to so many of us. In spite of the many leadership roles he occupied, he always had time to chat, and he always did so with humility and with a twinkle. When we took one of our sons to The University of Delaware, David spoke to the new families and did so in a way that made us so proud to be sending our son there. He and Louise were such a marvelous team! We hope that Louise and his family will be comforted in thne days ahead. We miss David and cherish the memory of having known him.
    04/17/2024 08:18 am
    Joyce Hill Stoner lit a candle and writes,
    David Roselle was a wonderful presence both at the University of Delaware and at Winterthur. He helped us establish the first PhD program in art conservation in North America, urging us on with our fundraising auction at Christie's. He was a great supporter of theater and music; many celebrations for named professors and other events in his home featured the talented UD music department groups. He and Louise knew the faculty members personally and always greeted them on the sidewalks of Newark. He believed in horizontal rather than vertical leadership, he once told me, although this did involve emailing me when I was Chair of Art Conservation at 7:30am on a Saturday morning about some important issue, but in those days I was glad to answer him fairly quickly! Later, he often brought groups of distinguished visitors to the Winterthur painting conservation studio, proud of what we were doing, and knowing that we were often there and ready to greet people at 6 PM on a Friday. He could be funny and self-deprecating, was warm and friendly with donors, and was a beacon of leadership.
    04/17/2024 01:36 pm
    Larry Peterson, professor emeritus, University of Delaware writes,
    Louise, we wish to send you and your family condolences for David's passing. I have a number of good memories from David and your days at the University. I remember David walking over to Cindy and me in Bayard Sharp Hall. David said "I bet I know why both of you are smiling," (actually he said I know why you are chuckling) and he was right on! Best wishes to you. I hear that he was regarded well and respected by the Winterthur staff. Larry
    04/17/2024 03:55 pm
    Judy Celli writes,
    As a young instructor, I was invited to President and Mrs. Roselle’s home on the UD campus. President Roselle made all of us - from instructors to deans-feel valued and appreciated. Despite being a mathematician, he fought hard to strengthen the arts and humanities at UD. The last time I saw him was when he and Mrs. Roselle visited a newly minted building for Foreign Languages. They were both so down to earth and just as excited about the new building as those of us moving into it. President Roselle was a man of great accomplishments, but for me the most impressive thing about him was his humility. May his family take comfort in knowing that his kindness and convictions affected more people than he or they could imagine.
    04/17/2024 11:26 pm
    Marilyn Prime writes,
    Wonderful memories of working with President David Roselle at the University of Delaware continue to bring much pride and gratitude for his service and leadership. The positive campus changes and strategic growth brought our campus to the forefront and generated a new level of Blue Hen school spirit. He was kind, sincere, and generous touching so many lives. My most sincere condolences to Louise and all family members. May Dave rest in peace and rise in glory.
    04/18/2024 07:15 pm
    Dorothee Blum writes,
    Dr. Roselle was one of my mathematics professors when I was in graduate school at Virginia Tech. He was a wonderful teacher and a kind and thoughtful person. He encouraged me in my studies even after he moved on to administration. I still have the hand written note he sent to me when I earned my Ph. D.
    04/18/2024 07:58 pm
    Stephen Steenkamer lit a candle and writes,
    I was a student at UD and an intern in the university’s public relations office when Dr. Roselle became president. He’d come in to see Mary Hempel and John Brennan, who ran the office, and it was obvious to me that they were fond of him and respected him. Dr. Roselle’s sense of humor and interest in connecting with the staff showed up in his relationship with Bob Cohen, a lovely, quirky UD photographer. He let Bob take his picture holding up a fist next to an old red car of Bob’s that (for whatever reason) had a set of metal cattle horns just above the front grille. Bob had a wall of photos with all manner of people in that same pose. I also understand that often, as Bob walked past Dr. Roselle’s Hullihen Hall office late in the afternoon, he’d stop and throw pebbles against a window until Dr. Roselle came to the window and waved good night to him. That image has stuck with me for decades. My condolences to Mrs. Roselle and Dr. Roselle’s family and friends.
    04/18/2024 08:57 pm
    Skip Prichard writes,
    We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Roselle, a remarkable man whose warmth, intellect, and humor profoundly touched us all. David and his wife, Louise, formed a partnership of immense kindness and generosity, making a lasting impact wherever they went. David's leadership was invaluable, particularly on the OCLC Board of Trustees and as president at both the University of Delaware and the Winterthur Museum. He was not just a respected leader but also a beloved friend, known for his wit and ability to connect genuinely with everyone. Our thoughts are with Louise, their children, and grandchildren during this difficult time. David was truly a remarkable man and an incredible asset to every community he served.
    04/19/2024 10:28 am
    Ajay Prasad writes,
    I have been at UD for over 30 years, and had the pleasure of meeting David Roselle during all the milestone moments as a UD faculty member... a reception for new faculty hires, a reception for newly tenured faculty, and also many other more routine meetings around campus. The Roselles were always delightful hosts; I greatly enjoyed David's wry sense of humor and Louise's vivacious charm. As President, David Roselle was responsible for many bold initiatives that transformed UD from a quiet bucolic campus to the academic powerhouse that we are today. We owe David an immense debt of gratitude for his dedication to our university. He will be deeply missed!
    04/19/2024 03:23 pm
    Helen Robinson lit a candle and writes,
    Dr. Roselle was a very special friend to me at the University of Kentucky and a great President. He will be missed by many people. I offer my sincerest condolences to his lovely family. Helen
    04/19/2024 03:25 pm
    Charity Williams Patton lit a candle and writes,
    To the Family. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved. Dave was a classmate of mine at WCU- we had many classes together with Dr Filano as I was also a Math Major. Dave accomplished many wonderful things in his life. May he rest in peace. With Deepest Sympathy
    04/20/2024 12:18 pm
    Brady and Anne Deaton lit a candle and writes,
    David was a mentor, colleague, and friend whom I will miss very much. He was my Provost at Va Tech where we both served on the faculty, and where he challenged me personally to undertake new professional opportunities. I am indebted to him in so many ways. He and Louise were very dear to Anne and me and to our children, through unique interactions in Blacksburg and later at the University of Kentucky. He was a wise confidant through my career, as I frequently called on him for advise. He invited me to join him on the Board of OCLC and served as my mentor on the Board. I was so proud to be present for his deserved recognition as one of America's great university leaders and mentors by the American Council on Education. He will be missed by so many who identify with the values and courage he always demonstrated. Anne and I extend our heartfelt condolences to Louise and their extended family.
    04/20/2024 01:21 pm
    Jeannette Lindvig writes,
    I knew Dave through his time at Winterthur Museum. His leadership there, his “brief retirement job” as he referred to it, lasted 10 years - long enough to fill up the coffers and to put everything in good order! Dave began every all-staff meeting with a self deprecating joke and a laugh. He made everyone feel welcome to bend his ear. I can still see him sitting in the Winterthur cafeteria, very early in the morning, reading the Wall Street Journal and drinking coffee, ready for the day well before the museum opened to the public. Dave was clearly an effective leader, whether as a University president, mathematics professor, or a museum director. But in the end, Dave Roselle will be best remembered for his quiet wit, his easy warmth, and his welcoming smile.
    04/21/2024 07:46 am
    Dennis and Sandra Klima lit a candle and writes,
    Loise and family, Sandra and I were saddened to learn of David's passing. He was a wonderful President of the University of Delaware where I first met him at some economics meeting. During a break we met , and I mentioned my son was a freshman at the university and was finding his math course to be quite challenging. Dave told me that the university was known for its mathmatics department but suspected that if Ed studied hard he would do fine. In 1997 I was honored to join the board at the university and work with Dave on numerous projects. During the ten years until retirement from his leadership role, we enjoyed the many events that Dave and Louise hosted at the president's home. They made it our home as well. Retirement did not slow down Dave and Louise from cheering the Blue Hens on in football or basketball games, where we enjoyed seeing them again. Dave was not just the President of the university, in many ways he and Louise were the university. May God bless his soul, and may Louise and family know of our sympathy in this time of sorrow.
    04/22/2024 06:01 pm
    Jennifer Younger lit a candle and writes,
    Dave was one of the best colleagues with whom I have been privileged to work. I was fortunate that my service on the OCLC Board of Trustees overlapped with Dave's service. Dave was generous and kind in sharing his time, talent and energy with others; I was a beneficiary. Together he and Louis made a lasting and positive difference in the lives of so many colleagues and friends for which we are all grateful. My husband Tom Smith and I extend our deepest sympathy in this time of great sorry to Louise, their children, and grandchildren.
    04/23/2024 12:05 am
    Elizabeth (Liz) lit a candle and writes,
    To Louise, Cynthia and the rest of the family: I send you my condolences, and I am so sorry for your loss. Feel my hugs, as I wish heaven had visiting hours. I will continue to think about you guys, as your family has left an everlasting impression on my heart ❤️ - with love, Elizabeth (Liz)
    04/24/2024 10:34 am
    Cheryl Kowalski lit a candle and writes,
    I was very saddened to hear of the recent passing of Dr. David Roselle. I had the privilege and honor of working with him from 1997-2007 in the Office of the President at the University of Delaware. He was an outstanding leader and visionary during his tenure as President, who made huge strides in advancing UD's position as a top-rated, higher-educational institution in the country. I extend my deepest sympathy to Louise, their family, and friends, as they mourn the loss of such a truly great and remarkable man. He will be greatly missed by all of us who had the deepest respect and admiration for him and for all he accomplished in his life. Cheryl Kowalski
    04/25/2024 03:00 pm
    Cheryl Kowalski lit a candle
    04/25/2024 03:01 pm

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