The Golden Gate University community is saddened to learn of the passing of Richard “Dick” Rosenberg, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America, on March 3 at the age of 92. A visionary business leader and philanthropist, he will be remembered for his profound impact on GGU and the wider Bay Area.
A graduate of GGU’s Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, and Master of Business Administration programs, Rosenberg served on the Board of Trustees and was a tireless advocate for the University, passionate about veterans’ education and support services. He made exceptional philanthropic contributions to GGU that greatly supported the welfare and development of the University.
“Dick was an inspirational, distinguished, and gracious GGU alumnus,” said president David J. Fike. “His passion for philanthropy, support for veterans, and commitment to quality have powerfully impacted GGU and the students we serve.”
Named Alumnus of the Year in 1982, Rosenberg served on the Board of Trustees from 1984-1993. In 2015, he received the Amicus Award in recognition of his investment in GGU and impact on the University’s educational programs.
Rosenberg was born on April 21, 1930, in Massachusetts. With the country in the grip of the Great Depression, his parents struggled to make a living. His father worked in the shipyards of New York City while his mother was employed as a salesclerk for local dress shops.
Rosenberg paid his way through college, earning a BS degree from Suffolk University in Boston in 1952. After college graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy, undertaking active roles in the Korean War and Vietnam before reaching the rank of commander in the US Naval Reserves.
“Dick Rosenberg’s life story epitomized the trajectory of the Greatest Generation — and the power of the GI Bill to unlock their full potential,” said Jason Dempsey, Director of The Helen Diller Center for Veterans of U.S. Military Service at GGU. “It is a testament to him that he leveraged the GI Bill to take advantage of every educational opportunity he could, and then later in life made it his mission to help the next generation of veterans forge their own paths to success.”
Rosenberg began his banking career at Crocker-Anglo Bank and later Wells Fargo, where he worked for 22 years.
During his tenure as chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America, Rosenberg doubled the size of the financial institution. Under his leadership, and by the time he retired in 1996, Bank of America became the second-largest banking institution in the United States, achieving record earnings and establishing itself as a leader in community reinvestment programs.
Rosenberg was dedicated to balancing his contributions to the business world with philanthropy. He served on the boards of directors of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Naval War College Foundation. He was president of the San Francisco Jewish Home (now the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living) and served for many years on the board of the United Way of the Bay Area. He also served as founding chair of the Health Executive Council and chair of the Foundation board of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, where he directed the campaign to build UCSF’s new hospital in Mission Bay.
For his numerous contributions, Rosenberg was elected to the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame.
Rosenberg is survived by his wife of 66 years, Barbara Rosenberg, sons W. Michael Rosenberg and Peter Rosenberg, and five grandchildren. He will be greatly missed and remembered for his tremendous achievements and his legacy of positive change.