Richard Rosenberg, former chairman and CEO of the Bank of America, died Friday, March 3. He was 92. When Rosenberg retired from BofA in 1996, the bank honored him by endowing the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at UC Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources:
“Dick Rosenberg is well-known for his generous gifts to the University of California and to the Bay Area. With his Bank of America endowment gift to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources to create the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy, he has had the most far-reaching and profound impact. Over the years, Dick developed an understanding of the complex and contentious water issues in California and across the globe. His intent in bringing together scientists and policymakers from around the world to discuss water management was to reduce conflicts surrounding this critical resource. While we continue to face challenges of water scarcity and water quality, we are able to solve some issues by sharing our knowledge and experiences. For years to come, the global community will benefit from Dick Rosenberg’s foresight to fund the International Forum on Water Policy.”
Soroosh Sorooshian, UC Irvine Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing and chair of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy:
“Mr. Richard Rosenberg was passionate about the well-being of the environment in addition to his responsibilities managing one of the largest financial institutions in the world. His concern about water resources scarcity and international water conflicts led to the establishment of the UC ANR Rosenberg International Forum for Water Policy with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to honor Dick’s vision. It is a great honor for the forum to carry the vision of Mr. Rosenberg as a lasting legacy to his commitment to issues related to international water policy.”
Henry Vaux Jr., UC Riverside Professor Emeritus, UC ANR Associate Vice President Emeritus, Founding Chair of Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
Richard Rosenberg made many contributions to the well-being of all Californians. Among those was the rallying of the business community to the cause of managing an earlier severe drought that began in the late 1980s. This expression of his long term-interests in the management of water resources led the Board of the Bank of American to establish the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy at the University of California in his honor. Over the years, that Forum has met at 10 locations around the world, often with Rosenberg himself in attendance. The work of the Forum has influenced water policy in countries ranging from Australia to Jordan. As a founding chair of the Forum, I can attest to the crucial role that he played in guiding the establishment of the institution and ensuring its success over two and a half decades. I will miss his wise counsel, sharp insights on almost everything and his great sense of humor. I send my condolences and best wishes to his wife, Barbara, and his family.
About the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy
The Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy originated in 1996 with an endowment gift from the Bank of America to the University of California. The purpose of the gift was to support a water policy forum in honor of then-retiring Bank Chair and Chief Executive Officer Richard Rosenberg. Rosenberg had a long-term interest in water resources and was credited with rallying the California business community to address the causes and impacts of the drought of 1987-1992.
The Rosenberg Forum is held every other year in different locations around the world. Participation is limited to 50 water scholars and senior water managers. Interactive discussions about the science of water management and different experiences in water management around the globe are at the heart of the forum.
The first forum was held in San Francisco in 1997, followed by gatherings in Barcelona, Spain; Canberra, Australia; Ankara, Turkey; Banff, Canada; Zaragoza, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Aqaba, Jordan; and Panama City, Panama. The last forum was held in San Jose, California, in 2018 and has been on hiatus due to the pandemic.
The overarching theme of the Rosenberg Forum is “reducing conflict in the management of water resources.” Specific sub-themes are chosen by an advisory committee for each individual forum. The primary objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and experience in the management of water resources.
The problems of managing water are surprisingly common around the world. However, approaches and solutions may differ depending on the available financial resources as well as social and cultural norms. Discussions of alternative approaches and identification of what works and what doesn’t are intended to aid in devising more effective and efficient water-management schemes.