Beloved alum donates center

Rockwell endowed three dean’s chairs and provided in her estate a center for ethics and leadership at UH .  | Courtesy Office of UH Communications

Rockwell endowed three dean’s chairs and provided in her estate a center for ethics and leadership at UH . | Courtesy Office of UH Communications

Elizabeth D. Rockwell was a brilliant woman who believed in charity, education and giving back to the community in any way she was able to.

Rockwell donated a lot of her time and money to UH. She passed away Friday at the age of 89.

As a testament to all the work Rockwell put into helping UH grow and reach its potential, her name graces the president’s suite in the Houston Alumni Center, the career services center in the C.T. Bauer College of Business and the pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library.

UH’s newly-acquired Tier One status was Rockwell’s final gift to UH, said Spencer T. Yantis, who worked closely with Rockwell in his position as associate vice chancellor for university advancement.

“She probably started believing in us as a Tier One before many other people did,” Yantis said.

Rockwell arranged for the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Ethics and Leadership Lecture series, which UH hosts and brings noted scholars, researchers and innovators to speak.

Even after death Rockwell was generous; in her estate, she provided for a center for ethics and leadership for UH.

She really believed in ethics, Yantis said.

She also endowed three deans’ chairs at UH: M.D. Anderson Library, the College of Education and the Cullen College of Engineering.

UH’s Director of Development Nancy V. Clark was a close friend of Rockwell’s and spent a lot of time working with her at University events Rockwell planned.

“She would get an idea and she would share it with whomever it was best going to help,” Clark said.

Rockwell would go out of her way to help in any way she could, Clark said, and go to any lengths for something she believed in.

She made “Rolodexes” full of a variety of business cards for any new employees at UH to help prepare them for issues and situations that they would come across.

“On a personal level, she coached me on the art of fundraising, saw that I was introduced to many of the leaders in the city of Houston, and always spoke eloquently about the importance of the libraries to the University of Houston,” the current dean of M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, Dana Rooks, said in an e-mail.

“Elizabeth will be greatly missed by many,” Rooks said, “but her impact on our lives and the lives of so many she never met, will last forever.”

Rockwell set up the Discover UH lecture series to shed light on the many talented professors of UH, Clark said.

“She always felt like we had so many fascinating professors in both research and scholarship at UH, so she underwrote a lunch,” Clark said.

Rockwell even organized the guest list and position of the tables, so everyone could see and get through the lecture in a timely fashion.

Rockwell attended business school at UH in the 1940s and received an honorary doctorate from UH in May of 1999.

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