Rosemary Rodd '63 struggled financially to put herself through college. After spending one year at Rice, she left to work full-time as a secretary, eventually taking night classes at another university. Most semesters, she could barely afford to take one class.
Over 50 years later, Rosemary returned to Rice to fund a scholarship, hoping to help students just like her.
When I attended, I was impressed by the quality of Rice and very much wished I could have stayed and graduated," she says. "Giving to schools and students is one of my favorite things. I just remember how hard I had to work and scrape to go to school."
Rosemary says her philanthropic spirit comes from her parents. Her competitive spirit, however, comes from elsewhere - exactly where, she's not sure, but over the years it's allowed her to succeed in everything from business to racing. "I was raised to be a southern lady," Rosemary says. "My mother raised me to be the company president's wife, and she was horrified when I turned into the company president."
Driven to succeed, Rosemary eventually earned her degree and carved out a successful career in business, working for Southland Corp. and Xerox, before leaving to run three businesses of her own - Leo's Pro Audio, Spitzer Music and Spitzer Helicopter Leasing. In her spare time, she enjoys almost any activity that involves adrenaline, including racing Porsches.
"If you're not scaring yourself, you're not going fast enough," she says, detailing her racing and business philosophy. "You never think about the speed while you're doing it. All you think about is going faster and being better. I think business is that way. You just want to go faster, be better and get your organization further."
By funding the Rosemary S. Rodd Endowed Scholarship and adding to it through a charitable remainder trust, Rosemary hopes to open doors for students who lack the means to attend Rice, but carry her same drive and determination.
"If I can give something that helps some undergraduate here, so that maybe they don't have to drop out, I'll feel good about that," she says.