UC Santa Cruz founding faculty member Jasper Rose dies at age 89

 Jasper Rose, William Everson, and Jack Stauffacher in 1976
(From left): Jasper Rose, William Everson, and Jack Stauffacher at a reception in the University Library's Special Collections in 1976 (Photo by Andrew Neuhart).

Jasper Rose, a founding faculty member of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a professor emeritus of art and history, died on June 12, 2019, in Bath, England, where he had lived in recent years. He was 89.

Born in 1930 in London, England, Rose received his B.A. and M.A. from King's College, Cambridge. He is the co-author of a 1964 book titled Camford Observed: An Investigation of the Ancient Universities in the Modern World, an account of university life at Oxford and Cambridge that contained ideas that would have a major impact on the formation of UC Santa Cruz.

Rose was a faculty member at UCSC’s Cowell College when it opened in 1965. He became the second provost of Cowell from 1970-1974. Rose spent the next decade teaching at Cowell until 1983, when he briefly served as a faculty member of Porter College (formerly College V) until his retirement in 1986 as an emeritus professor.

Current Cowell provost Alan Christy noted that Rose was one of the most beloved figures in the history of the Cowell college community.

“Countless students, colleagues, and faculty from the first 20 years of UCSC had their lives transformed by their contact with Jasper,” said Christy. "In fact, there is no telling the story of Cowell without telling the story of Jasper Rose. He was a founding faculty member, a central part of what set this new campus apart from its opening day in 1965. His classic history of Oxford and Cambridge was an influence on fellow founders like Page Smith in imagining what college life could look like, and what a collegiate university could accomplish.”

“He also brought his personal experience as a fellow of Cambridge—and his dynamic style as a consummate Englishman—to communicate the gravity, breadth, and joie de vivre of college life,” Christy added. “He worked tirelessly to create an experience, not just an education, for his students, who remember him as a gifted teacher in and outside of the classroom.”

Greatly admired by his students as a teacher, mentor, artist, and historian, Rose was influential in fostering the growth of the arts on campus and instrumental in launching the Cowell Press. He held waltzes in the dining hall, and with his wife, Jean, welcomed students to the provost house, inviting them to paint and express their artistic talents.

For more than a decade, he also taught extraordinary classes on the history of landscape painting with fellow Cowell faculty member, Mary Holmes (1910-2002). He sponsored classes in stained glass window making at Cowell in the mid 70s, and those windows can still be seen on campus today—on the walkway down to the Cowell dining hall, and near the stairs of the faculty offices.

And just this spring, an exhibition of Rose’s watercolor portraits painted from memory was on display at The Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at Cowell.

“While Jasper in time left Cowell for Porter, and later left the university altogether, we remain his first and lasting home,” said Christy. “His legacy deserves greater recognition on campus, because there is little in Cowell that doesn’t bear his stamp.”

“Last year, an oral history was conducted with Jasper about his life and work at UCSC,” Christy noted. “It is currently being edited and will be released later this year for anyone who wants to hear Jasper’s story and legacy in his own words.”

Rose is survived by his wife, Jean, and his sons William and Inigo.