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AUW Mourns the Passing of Professor Henry Rosovsky

Posted on November 18, 2022

Written by AUW

Dear AUW Community,

It is with a deep sense of sadness and a profound measure of loss that I write that our friend, mentor and colleague and former member of the Board of Directors of the AUW Support Foundation, Professor Henry Rosovsky, passed away on November 11 at his home.  Like his mother, he lived till he turned 95.  He was a wise, kind, warm, candid, humorous, practical, knowing man with an exacting memory of all things, small or great, with a penchant for single malt Scotch. He spoke many languages including Japanese, German, French and Russian.  He was a recipient of an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from AUW which was conferred upon him at a special event at the Harvard Faculty Club held on October 20, 2016.  A recipient of many honorary degrees, he told us that the AUW honor was one he particularly treasured; AUW certainly could not have been associated with a more honorable man.

Even though he was never able to make the journey to Chittagong, he was in fact at its creation.  In the year 2000, Henry and I (accompanied by David Bloom) met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge and first obtained her support for the idea of AUW.  Over the years, through all the vagaries of a start-up initiative, he persisted in believing in AUW’s full potential.  He helped; he goaded others to help.  At his granddaughter Abigail’s high school graduation, he spoke about AUW’s Pathways for Promise program.  It was Henry who introduced us to Moshe Safdie who then became AUW’s campus architect.

Professor Henry Rosovsky with AUW alumnae, Jampa Latso and Saren Keang, and Jack Meyer

Professor Henry Rosovsky flanked by Kamal Ahmad and Jack Meyer

Although we never asked him the question of why he gave so much of his time and affection to AUW, I suspect it has to do in part with his own life’s experience as a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi Europe.  He remembered the small humiliations he suffered along the way, not out of self-pity but as a reminder of how we humans tend to treat others when they are down.  It is a lesson that AUW has taken seriously, for we measure ourselves on how we treat the weakest in our community.  Henry was deeply saddened by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was distressed by the seeming hopeless of it.

We mourn the passing of this special person as we also carry a sense of gratitude for the privilege and fortune of knowing him. May his soul rest in peace.

Kamal Ahmad
Asian University for Women