A Brief History of the Rose Institute’s 40 Years

This year, the Rose Institute celebrated its 40th anniversary. In its four decades, it has seen three directors, a spectacular new view from the fourth floor of the impressive Kravis Center, hundreds of student researcher alumni, a wealth of accomplishments and fond memories too numerous to list. When the Rose Institute first came to be, after a 1972 memorandum on the need for an institute of state and local government, it launched with the million-dollar pledge from benefactress Edessa Rose. It functioned as a “bootstrap operation,” as former Rose Director Alan Heslop put it, for more than a decade without the endowment. Despite the financial constraints, the Institute still managed to make a name for itself, particularly due to its thorough redistricting analysis.

When the Rose first opened, the student staff was minimal, but in 1979, the Institute received a California Roundtable grant for redistricting reform and analysis, and student employment jumped to a staff of 90 for a short time in the early 1980s. After that redistricting cycle, the staff size normalized to around 25 students.

When our first Director Alan Heslop wrote “A Quarter Century of Thanks” on his departure from the Institute in 2000, he paid tribute to our namesake, Edessa Rose, “a businesswoman and lawyer, a feminist and activist, and a force in innumerable California organizations.” He also paid tribute to Marian Miner Cook, who funded fellowships and scholarships for students at the Institute. Other donors included a few familiar names at CMC: Donald McKenna, Priscilla Fawcett, and George Benson. Upon Heslop’s departure, incoming Director Ralph Rossum also noted a few “vital” pieces of information in a written memo – “Dr. Rossum calls dibs on blue for any future croquet games or tournaments” was listed first.

In 2003, the Rose celebrated its 30th anniversary. Congressman David Dreier, an alumnus of Claremont Men’s College, sent the Institute a commemorative letter for the occasion. He praised the Rose’s pioneering inclusivity for student employees to conduct ground-breaking, professional research under faculty direction. Dreier wrote that while other institutions have since adopted similar models, “it is worth remembering that 30 years ago the Rose Institute was almost alone in providing this kind of undergraduate research opportunity.”

In July of 2009, Dr. Miller became the new Associate Director of the Rose Institute, briefly sharing the title with long-time Associate Director Florence Adams before she retired. In the fall of 2010, Dr. Miller was joined by Professor Andrew Busch, our current director, when Director Ralph Rossum stepped down. Today, our projects include the continuation of established projects like the Kosmont-Rose Cost of Doing Business Survey, but also include newer efforts, such as the launch of our redesigned website, utilizing the technological skills of our student researchers to enhance the Institute’s online presence.

Syndicated from the Rose Institute’s semi-annual hard copy publication, The Rose Review.

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