To the family:
Don--such an unassuming and amazing person and teacher! When UCSC still offered writing courses for staff, I enrolled in a business writing class. Don imbued what could have been painfully dull lessons with charm, dignity, grace and gentle humor. And we all were the better for it: he modeled how to write our bureaucratic memos with both UC-approved business style and heart (oxymoronic, but it worked). The rest of my time at UCSC, I would email snippets from the Rule Book (a co-worker and I drew the short straws to "clean" it up): "Don, this is how the policy was written! Who can possibly comprehend this?!" I could see his benign smile and hear his chuckle through cyberspace. I miss his presence--I am grateful that he was my writing teacher.
Shizue Shikuma, Santa Cruz
The world has lost a beautiful light in the passing of Don Rothman. If there is any comfort in a time of grieving for his lovely family, know that his light still shines through you and many of us who he taught and befriended. Leona Phillips
My condolences to the Rothman and UCSC Families. While I was not a student of Professor Rothman's or an Oakes student, Professor Rothman welcomed me with open arms into his office and in the coming weeks helped me prepare and perfect my personal statement for medical school. Now being in medical school, I cant thank him enough for his support, assistance, and encouragement to follow and accomplish my dreams. Thank you again Professor Rothman for everything you did for me and thousands of others just like me.
With heartfelt sympathy to the family for this loss. The Bible assures us of where our loved ones are and gives a wonderful hope that is in store for them in the future.
Dearest Diana and family,
My most sincere condolences to you in this sad time. I'm still stunned at the news of Don's death. He was such a fine spirited, smart, and generous man. I'm so grateful to have known him as a mentor, friend and, at times, as a co-conspirator in community efforts over the years. I'll miss him greatly. He unquestionably made my life and our community richer.
Don understood the power of the written word, the provocative question, and shared inquiry. He literally changed my teaching methods by example, and the ripple continues. Diana, Dov and Naomi--he has inspired so many of us, and we are grateful.
Don, through attentive listening, caring coaching, sensitive support, intelligent and concise questions, constructive comments, a delightful sense of humor, the sharing of your insightful writing, and loving patience you inspired thousands to enthusiastically embrace one of the greatest challenges in learning: to discover ones own authenticity through the process of writing. I will always apreciate the positive impact you have had on my life. Thank you, and may you rest in peace.
How I enjoyed his company. He was a happy, loving man, who never wasted a moment.
If you had eyes to see, ears to hear and an open heart, he could welcome you back home to your best self.
There is such deep sadness in his passing, yet such an abundance of gratitude in knowing him that his spirit will truly remain with us. Diana, Dov, and Naomi, my hope is that you find comfort in hearing from all who were so inspired by his strongly gentle soul.
From Don, these are the questions I learned to ask my students: is it good? Can it be better? And from Don, this is the question I learned to ask myself: is it kind? I am so sorry for his family's loss. And I am so glad I had the chance to meet and be challenged by this wonderful man.
Don's loss is inconceivable. I've known him for more than half a century and though we live a continent apart he was always a part of my life.
A light has gone out of the world with the loss of Don. His embrace was so wide as to include people everywhere. He engaged people deeply from subways in Manhattan to classrooms in Santa Cruz and beyond. I open my email and read his deeply thoughtful posts that reflect his love and concern and humor. And he held fast to those he cared about and loved. I will always remember his laugh like a burst of sunlight. I can't imagine the world without him. Nina Thomas
Don was the kindest person I have ever met. He will be sorely missed
Dearest Diana, Dov, Naomi, and families.
I am so saddened by the news of Don. It seems like just last week that we ran into each other. And, as always, Don was interested, genuine, and kind. I am holding you in my heart. Much love,
Don was a true gentleman.
My life was made much better for my having had the pleasure of knowing and working with Don Rothman. He was one of the most caring and compassionate people I have ever met and known. His students were of the utmost importance to him, as well as his family, the Writing Project, Oakes College, and many other areas of interest to him. I will always remember the many good times we shared and I always appreciated his encouragement and support. His passing is a huge loss to UCSC and the Santa Cruz community. My deepest sympathies go to Diana and the family.
Don was a rare man. He will be missed by me and so many others. He is the beating of a butterfly's wing that resonates around the world.
Professor Rothman was the kindest and most generous man - gone far too soon.
Don made and continues to make a difference to UCSC, writing, writers, readers, those he touched in classes, friends, colleagues, neighbors, family and the world at large, for all were enriched by his presence, and transformed by his spirited, eternal, incandescent smile, soulful laughter, irrepressible humanity, eternal optimism and infectious enthusiasm. What an honor and gift to have known him!
My thoughts are with you as you mourn this wonderful teacher, friend, and human being.
Don was a wonderful colleague to my students and I, always willing to help us with writing and support my efforts to help students write clearly, passionately, and well.
Don Rothman's many contributions to UCSC, its students, the community and to my own life will live on forever. He changed the way I saw myself in the world, helped me claim my voice, opened doors to my future as an educator and reminded me to "listen eloquently" to the world around me. May his family find peace and courage at this difficult time.
Not long ago, I saw Don walking near the Santa Cruz Bookstore smiling with family and friends. We both said hello and both smiled--he remembered my face from the countless faces who attended the UCSC Writing Project. He inspired us to change our approach to the teaching of writing, to help us help our teens find purpose, passion and social justice in writing. I will remember him as a most endearing humanistic soul who helped and encouraged so many students and teachers. I thank him for coming into our lives and sharing his vision.
Dear Don Rothman, how was it possible for one man to make so many students feel like they are the most important student in the world? I can't believe you're gone so soon.
Don taught me to view my teaching as a political act, and to see myself as a writer. He also taught me the importances of silent pauses in the classroom, and in life. His gleeful giggle and the twinkle in his eyes will be sorely missed. He will forever be my writing godfather.
What a gift one person can make, to open so many to so much. My heartfelt condolences to the family and all his many friends.
Deepest sympathies -- he certainly touched many lives. Jen - Oakes Alumnus
Don was the essence of cool. I would run into him occasionally on the sidewalks of Santa Cruz. He was always shining with enthusiasm and I always felt so fortunate that our paths crossed. He and I were part of a Sunday morning golf foursome, and sometimes five when his son Dov joined us. I so much enjoyed our conversations that stretched from putting to Shakespeare. He was such an asset to our community and will be heartfully missed.
Those of us who met Don through the writing project he began in the 80's knew him as a mentor, a person who challenged our assumptions about teaching, class, and our responsibility as teachers. I know he saved many careers-- the writing projects (now nationally acclaimed in all 50 states) give teachers a voice and a community. One didn't DO the writing project; it was not an experience a teacher could ever be done with because it became the lense through which we taught literacy. Since his retirement, many of us have worked tirelessly to save his vision and and carry on his legacy. No one could ever fill his shoes.
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)
My deepest sympathies to the family. Don was a true mensch who I will always be grateful for having known. Stephanie Coulter-Hill
Don was a kind and compassionate teacher, father and mentor. He had warmth and empathy. Sincere condolences to his family.
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.
Don's boundless curiosity, passion, and creativity buoyed and enveloped those fortunate enough to have known him. Although he was best known as a teacher of writing, his love of art and photography was deeply felt and appreciated. Hearing of Don's death was a shocking reminder of how much we depend on each other to keep moving forward. His enthusiasm for life and pursuit of truth was a beacon for so many of us. Having his wide-eyed enthusiasm heralding Sara's work was invaluable and we feel so grateful for having touched lives with such a generous and “imaginative spirit.” Our love goes out to Diana, Dov and Naomi, who've received and lost so much.
A sad epilogue for a very fine man. And too early a death for one of the most empathic persons ever to grace our world. May we honor him by trying to follow his example. Most sincere condolences to Diana and all the family.
Don was a real mentor always giving from his heart with compassion and sincerity. Just knowing him was comforting-his humanity warmly and softy radiated. Steven, UCSC student from 1987
Sympathies to the family. Don hired me as a writing tutor for the Oakes Core Course which was a boost to my own confidence as a writer. He was a very kind and generous man. A real gem.
Don was a person who made a real difference with his life. He is loved and respected and that is his real tribute. The world is a bit more empty today.
My sympathy to Don's family. Don changed my life 20 years ago by believing in me, giving me the chance to become a teacher and a writer. He touched so many lives. I remember him talking with such great love about his family, little notes that a young Naomi left him especially. I'm so sorry for your loss, our loss.
Our deepest sympathies to Diana, Dov, and Naomi from Bud and Anna Marie Kingdom. You were great neighbors and friends. We will miss Don's personality and friendlyness. Love to all of you!
Don Rothman was one of the most generous people I've ever met. Without ever knowing me, he donated his time to help me write my graduate school application essays. He showed me the meaning of true kindness- the kind that is given without anything to be gained. I will always remember the man who gave me words of encouragement when I needed them most, as a beloved friend.
Don was a great friend, mentor and inspiration to me and so many others. I saw him only weeks ago and he was full of energy, passion, and fresh ideas. I cannot believe he is gone.