Martha O. Roseman, a retired Johns Hopkins University associate dean of academic advising who was recalled as a "grandmother" for those at the Homewood campus, died of cancer July 22 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. The Pikesville resident was 90.
Born Martha Ozrowitz in Brooklyn, N.Y., she earned a degree at the Bernard Baruch School of Business, a branch of the City College of New York. In an autobiographical sketch, she recalled taking additional courses at the school's 135th Street campus, which was not coed and where she said she was "surrounded by 5,000 male undergraduates."
She recounted her experience: "I married one of them, He had an advantage. He happened to live next door." Her husband of nearly 70 years, Saul Roseman, retired chairman of the Johns Hopkins University's department of biology, died July 2. They had known each other since they were 12 and both had grown up as the children of immigrants.
She lived for about two decades in the Midwest and earned a graduate degree in educational psychology and was later certified in special education. She lectured at the University of Michigan's School of Education. She worked with gifted students, slow learners and emotionally disturbed students. She developed an elementary school science curriculum used in the Ann Arbor, Mich., public schools system.
After moving to Baltimore with her husband, she worked with Edward McDill at the Johns Hopkins Educational Research Center, where she acted as liaison with the Baltimore public school system. In the early 1970s, she was hired at the Hopkins Homewood campus as a counselor.
She was promoted to assistant director of academic advising, and then to director, assistant dean and finally associate dean.
"She was beloved by many students on the Homewood campus," said Jerome D. Schnydman, a friend who is executive assistant to the school's president. "Her philosophy was, 'How can I help students, how can I help them graduate.' She was kind and thoughtful. She was everybody's grandmother here."
When she retired in 2001, a Baltimore Sun profile noted that students "came and sat … on the couch in what she calls 'the living room,' or at the table, what she calls her 'dining room.' They sat within reach of a box of tissues and they sat under bookshelves lined with token gifts from other students and they sat beside photographs of her three children; her grandchildren; and her, at her junior prom, because she needed to remind some of them that she was young once."
Mrs. Roseman, who was initially hired to help female undergraduates being admitted to what had been an all-male school, soon expanded her role and became an adviser to many on the campus.
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"When you were uncertain, she believed in you," said David Pietramala, the Hopkins men's lacrosse coach, who met her when he was a Hopkins undergraduate. "We talked about academics, life and family. She was a spectacular woman. She instilled confidence. She could make you feel good about yourself and make you believe in who you were."
A Hopkins colleague, Ruth Aranow, said, "So many students have told me she changed their lives. She set a tone in this office. She created a family. When she chose people to work with her, she said they had to have a heart. She said we can teach them the rest. She cared about students. This was fundamental to her."
Mrs. Roseman also worked with a study consultant program designed to help students who procrastinated or were poor note-takers.
She was an enthusiastic fan of the Orioles, Ravens and Baltimore Colts. She also attended the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Opera.
Services were held July 24 at Sol Levinson and Bros.
Survivors include a son, Mark Roseman of Columbia; two daughters, Dorinda Gershman of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Cynthia Schnaar of Owings Mills; a brother, Jack Ozrowitz of Sarasota, Fla.; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.