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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

In remembrance of Richard Rosenberg: A Journal alum, titan in business, philanthropy, and a beloved family man

The+Bank+of+America%2C+where+Rosenberg+was+chief+executive+and+chairman+from+1990+to+1996
William Woodring
The Bank of America, where Rosenberg was chief executive and chairman from 1990 to 1996

Philanthropist and Suffolk University graduate Richard Rosenberg, who transformed Bank of America during his time as chief executive and chairman, died on March 3 at the age of 92.

Rosenberg, affectionately known as Dick, is survived by his wife, two sons and five grandsons.

Suffolk President Marisa Kelly announced the tragic loss in an email to the community on March 7. Rosenberg, she said, was a beloved member of Suffolk’s community whose legacy continues to impact the institution.

“On behalf of the entire University, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Barbara, their sons, Michael and Peter, and the entire Rosenberg family, and all who knew and loved Dick,” said Kelly.

Rosenberg was born in Fall River in 1930 and graduated from Suffolk in 1953 with a degree in journalism. He was the business editor for The Suffolk Journal during his college career.

After graduating, Rosenberg enlisted in the United States Navy where he was stationed in Europe and Asia. He served in Korea and later in the reserves for 12 years until his retirement as a commander.

Kelly said Rosenberg was a major donor to Suffolk, most notably giving $3 million to the  Rosenberg Student Training Employment Program in 2021 and a donation in 2007 that established the Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies.

Ronald Suleski, director of the institute, said while Rosenberg wasn’t a “very tall guy,” his character, loyalty and generosity made him stand above many.

“Once you were around him, you felt this dynamism and this energy. And once he began speaking, you saw this guy’s got a sharp mind,” said Suleski. He added that Rosenberg’s donation establishing the institute extended Suffolk’s mission beyond Boston.

“You know, I think his donation impacted Suffolk as much as me,” said Suleski. “… He had seen a new world that he hadn’t experienced before. And he wanted to bring that impact to Suffolk.”

Rosenberg began his banking career in 1959 in San Francisco at Crocker-Anglo and continued on to Wells Fargo. He remained at Wells Fargo for 22 years, eventually leaving as vice-chairman.

In 1987, he joined Bank of America and was later named chief executive and chairman in 1990, reported the New York Times, where he worked to double the institution’s size during his tenure.

During his time at Bank of America, the Times reported that Rosenberg helped turn the bank into the nation’s second-largest bank through acquisitions such as the largest banking merger at the time between Bank of America and Security Pacific in 1992. An innovator at heart, he also helped make the bank profitable once more by creating new lines of business like credit cards.

He retired from Bank of America in 1996.

Beyond his work, Rosenberg was a beloved family man. He married his junior prom date  Barbara Cohen in 1956 after the two had drifted apart and reconnected after high school.

“People knew Dick as an industry titan, a respected leader and a philanthropist, but he was also a devoted husband and a proud father and grandfather. He had a way of pulling others into his family circle as well, like the former banking assistant who was getting married and whose father had died. Dick walked her down the aisle,” Kelly said.

While working and raising his two sons, Peter and Michael, Rosenberg also earned a law degree and master’s in business administration from Golden Gate University.

“Suffolk University is a better institution because of Dick’s care and support, and we mourn his passing,” Kelly said.

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Shealagh Sullivan
Shealagh Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief | she/her
Shealagh is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in international relations from Ashby, Massachusetts. She has previously worked as a co-op for the Boston Globe on the homepage desk and as an intern for GBH News and Boston Public Radio. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, finding a new favorite coffee spot and exploring Boston. She is a huge art lover and wants nothing more than to see the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. After graduation, Shealagh hopes to be a political journalist in Washington D.C. Follow Shealagh on X @ShealaghS.
William Woodring
William Woodring, Senior Editor-at-Large | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on X @woodringwill
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In remembrance of Richard Rosenberg: A Journal alum, titan in business, philanthropy, and a beloved family man