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March 04, 2015

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March 04, 2015

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December 1, 2012
Henry J. Burnett

Don Rothman makes this a better world. Students, Faculty, Administrators and the General Public who interacted with Don Rothman went forward with a renewed sense of purpose, a better understanding of life, and the ability to think about and observe the world around them. Don's positive energy always flowed to those nearby. He made you think, he made you embrace life's experiences and contemplate the significance of large and small events. The smile, the twinkle in the eye, the enthusiasm, the passion, the intellect, always made interacting with Don an incredible pleasure.

Don taught writing at one level; and thinking at a much deeper level. He challenged, led, and mentored students toward expressing themselves in written form that went beyond the superficial. Don was also a talented Photographer with and eye for composition that is elegant and expressive.

I have a favorite photograph that I took of a Cafe in Argentina near Plaza Dorrego in the San Telmo District. I use this photo as my computer background screen. I have looked at this photo literally thousands of times. One day when Don was visiting at the house, we were looking at some of my photos. This particular photo is in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson with a “Decisive Moment” in the action. I had frequently looked at the three main characters in the action of the photo. Don looked closely at the image and said, “Look at the reaction of the lady sitting inside of the Cafe..” The expression was stunning and added an incredible dimension to the “Decisive Moment.” Literally, I had never noticed this significant element of my own photograph.

Don inspired us to look more carefully at the world around us, analyze the elements, and draw deeper meaning from large and small events.

Each time I look at this favorite photograph, I will think about Don Rothman and the incredible influence he has had on humanity. Don challenges us to look and think beyond the basic elements.

In moments like these, we often lapse into sadness. I experience this with Don's passing. The sadness is fleeting as I think of the positive energy, the warm smile, the twinkle in the eye, and Don's challenge to make this a better world.


Henry J. Burnett, Director of Media Services, UCSC (Retired)
December 1, 2012
My deepest sympathies to the family. Don was a true mensch who I will always be grateful for having known. Stephanie Coulter-Hill
December 1, 2012
Don was a kind and compassionate teacher, father and mentor. He had warmth and empathy. Sincere condolences to his family.
December 1, 2012
I was in Santa Cruz for a brief vacation around a year ago, and sure enough, met Don exiting a restaurant we both like. When I sit back and ponder what to say now, I notice there's a pleasant smile on my face. Thinking of Don does that to me, and probably to most anyone who knows him. It was easy to stay on Don's good side because not many people, if any, found a side of Don that was anything but good.
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