In Memory of Mike Rose
A Celebration of the Life and Work of Professor Mike Rose
Sunday, October 10th, 2021, 11:00 am
UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center
Centennial CD Ballroom
The event was live-streamed and recorded for those who were unable to gather in person.
You may watch a recording of the memorial here.
Tributes from Our Community
You can read our obituary honoring Mike, here.
Tyrone Howard via @TyroneCHoward
"The education world lost a giant last night. If you've not read @MikeRose7971 you must. He was not only an amazing thinker & writer, but he was a more amazing person and friend. He was one of the biggest advocates of the working class that you will ever find. RIP Mike!"
Bill Sandoval via @ProfCrnkypants
"I would never have been tenured if it weren't for Mike Rose. His mentorship, guidance, and friendship were all instrumental in how I think about my research, my writing, and my job as a professor. I'll miss him."
Annie Wofford, Ph.D. via @annie_woff
"Mike Rose was one of the most profoundly kind, brilliant, and generous people I’ve ever met. It was an honor to take a class with him, and it’s heartbreaking to see him gone too early. His legacy reaches far and wide, beyond former students and the communities he loved deeply."
Estele via @eggzbenedict
"He was such a fantastic teacher and mentor. I am forever indebted to him. My sympathies to his family and loved ones."
Claudia Ramirez Wiedman, PhD via @C_DubPhD
"What a loss. I remember my conversations with Mike over our shared experiences."
Victoria Graf via @VictoriaGraf1
"Very sad news! His book Lives on the Boundary is one of the most significant ones in education. A graduate of the English Department @LoyolaMarymount @LMUBellarmine"
Dr. OiYan Poon via @spamfriedrice
"I was just thinking about Mike last week. He was so generous, kind, and absolutely brilliant. Even though I never got to take a class with him, Mike was always so encouraging and inspiring. I will continue to learn from his writings. What a legacy."
Edwin Mayorga via @eimayorga
"Mike Rose #presente! His work was so deeply influential on my early path to becoming a teacher."
Na'ilah Suad Nasir via @ProfNai
"I would not have a PhD today were it not for this man. Mike was my mentor and friend. He made the academy a more humane place. This is the same deep ethic of respect he brought to his scholarship. The torch is now passed to all of us."
Dr. Karen Kusiak via @k_kusiak
"Lives on the Boundary and Possible Lives both were influential to me. Mike Rose’s scholarship spoke to (and with and for) many new comers to higher education."
Linda Collins via @LindaCLPandLW
"Oh no. Such a loss. Mike was a mentor, the kindest of souls and a beacon for basic humanity in all his work."
Jessica Shiller via @jessicashiller
"A huge loss: Mike Rose was so influential in public education."
Paul LeBlanc via @snhuperez
"He was a towering presence in my development and thinking about education. A wonderful human being."
Michael J. Steudeman via @mjsteudman
"Mike Rose was a profound researcher. Beyond his incredible defenses of public education, in “The Mind at Work” he eloquently described the intelligence required of workers in oft-demeaned professions. A rare scholar who recognized the dignity & virtue of learning in all its forms"
Sharim H. Martinz via @sharimhmartinez
"I want to say that I don’t have the words to talk about this loss but I can hear Mike telling me that I always have the words and always will—if I just listen to myself. If I’m willing to sit in the messiness. If I am willing to wrestle with the words. So here goes: Mike is one of the very best teachers I have had. Nobody has ever made me feel more like a writer than the man who’d email me at 3am to tell me he couldn’t stop thinking about one of my sentences and “‘maybe if we just move the comma” it’d be as close to perfect as we can get. When I was struggling with writing my dissertation during the pandemic, he met with me and mapped out every chapter despite not being on my committee. I would not have finished without him."
Brianna Harvey, MSW via @YoungBlackScho1
"Mike was amazing. I am so grateful to have been in his last class of students this year. I cherish the brief time we were able to spend together. He pushed me and my work in a way that no one else has. I’m heartbroken"
K.E. Ogden via @kristenogden
"We’ve lost a giant— beloved mentor and teacher #mikerose has died. I willalways remember him championing, supporting and cheering on those of us in academia with a different background, a different story, a different voice. He always said 'your voice is important. Keep writing!'"
Raymond Johnson via @MathEdnet
"Mike Rose's next-to-last blog post was from May, a reflection on working with Bob Moses in Mississippi. Now we've lost them both. http://mikerosebooks.blogspot.com/2021/05/an-evening-with-bob-moses-in.html"
Jonathan C.W. Davis via @DrJcwd
"My heart breaks for my @uclaseis and Bruin family, near and far. Yet another loss to the extended family. Condolences to Prof. Rose's family and all those he touched and helped become better writers."
Maggie via @Maggie_Dahn
"Mike was one hell of a friend, teacher, and mentor. Absolutely gutted - we love you, Mike."
Aaron Pallas via @AMPallas
"The world is a dimmer place today, with the passing of education scholar Mike Rose @MikeRose7971. He wrote so eloquently about the meaning of education in people’s lives. I’m heartbroken."
Leigh Patel via @lipatel
"I never met Mike Rose in person, but he was a distal mentor. I read Lives on the Boundary in my 1st year teaching 7th grade language arts As a junior scholar, The Mind at Work was essential company amidst all of the frenzy about school-based achievement What a loss for so many"
Kris Gutierrez via @krisgu
"Giants are supposed to live forever. I am at a loss , broken hearted. yesterday we lost arguably one of the most influential thinkers, writers pedagogues &social analysts in the academy —one of the most decent/generous human beings. Mike Rose was perfection-brilliant, generous, kind, wickedly hilarious, prolific & incomparable on every measure. on a personal level, Mike was one my closest friends since before i was in grad school; he was my confidante, confessor, muse, critic, collaborator, dinner partner, my inspiration, my daily go-to no matter the topic. what will i do without you, dear Mikey? His powerful legacy and spirit will endure and will continue to lift us up & encourage us to be better versions of ourselves. will miss you, dear friend"
Dr. Krystle Cobian (she/her) via @krystlecobian
"A huge loss for @uclaseis, Dr. Rose’s writing class & his kindness were legendary. Writing is a huge source of anxiety/vulnerability for us scholars. While he taught us how to write, I esp appreciate his lessons on how to love what we write, & how to be brave w/ what we write"
Jack Schneider via @Edu_Historian (a thread)
"He was the ultimate elder statesman. He didn't take people under his wing. Instead, he extended a cloak of love and care across you -- one you knew would protect you. He did this with no effort. And I'm sure I'm one of hundreds who felt his embrace over the years."
Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab via @saragoldrickrab
"I spent the day thinking about Mike Rose because of the gifts he gave me, a woman scholar. It’s not lost on me that thousands of girls will never become scholars because of what’s happening in #Afghanistan - and that I’m completely devoid of ideas for how to help."
MN Youth Story Squad via @MNstorysquad
"Professor Mike Rose’s work is one of the reasons why @MNstorysquad exists. He has impacted more people than he will ever know. Our hearts are heavy."
Mariana via @MarianaBat
"Today, I felt the comfort of reading the stories of all the lives touched by my dear friend and mentor, Mike Rose. So I decided to share mine in case it helps someone else find comfort." (A thread)
Janelle Scott via @janelletscott
"Mike Rose was my friend & mentor and his loss is unimaginable. His work attested to the brilliance of everyday people & he deeply believed that schools could be places of possibility & fundamentally, be democratic spaces. His body of work is essential, especially now."
Vicki Madden via @vlmadden
"Reading Lives on the Boundary by Mike Rose early in my teaching career radically transformed my sense of purpose for the better. He wrote so clearly about what matters to students who aren't sure school is a friendly place where they can belong... Students like me & those I teach"
Sabrina Klein via @brinbird
"My heart is so so heavy. Mike saw me in ways I’ve never known. He was a mentor and dear friend. I deeply wish for one more moment at the round table in his office. The gift of knowing Mike is one of the greatest I’ve been given."
Ana Romero via @Ana_L_Romero
"Mike Ross was a brilliant and kind soul. I'll never forget the time he called me when I was struggling to find the words for my research paper. His affirming and encouraging words were a tremendous gift. He was a great colleague and mentor and will be deeply missed."
Paolo Velasco via @pjvelasco818
"I’m incredibly sad to hear this news. Professor Rose was so insightful, warm and supportive. Wishing love and positivity to his family and loved ones."
Harvey J. Graff
"I am stunned by the news of Mike Rose’s death. Mike was my friend and colleague for three decades and a scholar from whom I learned for years longer. My mentor and friend, Michael B. Katz, and Mike were close friends, writing buddies, and co-editors of the landmark Public Education Under Siege (2013). My relationship with Mike began independently as we came together in our mutual concerns, research, and writing about literacy past and present, education, and young people." Read full tribute here.
Karen McClafferty Jarsky - Class of 1999
"It feels impossible that we are in a world without Mike Rose, but what a legacy he leaves behind. Those who knew him, took his classes, read his books -- we are so much better for it. He was an important influence on my career, but it was his friendship that I treasured most. I loved his sneaky sense of humor, his potty mouth (what a gift to have him call you "the shit"), his quirky taste in decor. Mostly I loved and admired his gift for listening and really hearing you, for truly being curious about every human being who crossed his path. He never wasted that gift and the world is so much better for it."
"There are plastic mermaids in several of my purses. Blue, pink, red… They are from my many dinners with Mike at the Galley in Santa Monica. Our last meal together was 2019, an uncommonly long time ago thanks to COVID.
After martinis and many hours of discussing the terrible state of higher ed policy, Mike would always ensure the friendly servers gave me handfuls of those mermaids to take home to my kids." Read Full Tribute Here
Matt Stevens - Class of 2011
"Mike Rose spent his life around everyday people seeking to better themselves in school or on the job. He quietly observed, asked tender, probing questions, and listened hard. Then he wrote about the people he met -- and the dignity of their work -- in a way that moved the public and policy makers alike. He was a scholar who taught me how to be a better journalist. And he was also my mentor and friend. I will miss learning from him."
"I am one of the many Mike mentored generously and selfishly from afar. Mike found me through my work, and was there for me at every juncture of my professional career, starting in 2003. He wrote me notes after my books were published to tell me how he enjoyed them. He sent me his books as they came out and we discussed them over email. His attention to both the social and cognitive aspects of learning--never losing sight of either and never letting one overshadow the other--is what made his work so powerful. That and it is inimitable voice which never failed to show his humanity. He was a guiding light not only in how to do the work, but why."
"Mike was someone who shared the pained journey of the search for the right words along with their illumination. He walked with you but also in support of you along with his friends whose paths were joined. He has been an advocate in plain sight for all. Thanks for crossing my path, the occasional times we shared and your ethic of respect and care."
Howard Tinberg - B.A. '75 & M.A. '77
"While his research and academic publications have been immensely influential, it is his personal journey that resonated the most with me—especially as he shared that narrative in Lives on the Boundary. As an immigrant’s kid who found a home in academe, I saw my story in his."
Gwendelyn Rivera - Class of 2012
"I refer to a small group of mentors as “national treasures” and Mike was definitely one. Mike was more than an exemplary human being and teacher. So many people have used the word “kind” to describe him. Mike believed in my dissertation idea when everyone was telling me it was not going to work, he encouraged me to keep working on it. He was one of the few faculty members that cared and asked if we had enough financial support to eat and pay rent. Mike validated me as a scholar and person. He was one of the first people that actually wrote down my thoughts, making me feel that I actually had knowledge to share. Mike also shared his personal story, allowing me to share mine, and find ways to incorporate life lessons into my work. I will forever be grateful for having Mike in my life, I am one of the luckiest people in the world because of it. I will do my best to help others through scholarship and everyday life in Mike’s spirit."
Dawn Berlin - Class of 2002
"I am so saddened by this loss. Mike will influence future generations of students as we continue to have our teachers read his brilliant words. I will always carry the lessons learned from his teaching and informal advising. May he Rest In Peace."
"The line that stands out for me in this tribute is that Mike "made the academy a more humane place". He certainly did, through his writing, his teaching, and his gentle, consistent support and friendship. Mike never acted like an important person, although he was indeed a very important person, perhaps especially for those of us who teach writing. I will miss him deeply."
"I am deeply saddened to hear that Mike has passed away. I am very grateful and fortunate to have had the opportunity to take his writing course. I learned a lot from him and felt that he was not only a teacher, but also a friend."
Kristen Nicolaisen Jennings
"Thank you, Professor Rose. Your writing influenced so many of us. We carry your legacy forward in the work we continue through kindness, respect, and connection."
Shirin Vossoughi - Class of 2011
"Mike Rose's imprint on the work so many of us are doing to build spaces and systems of educational dignity is immeasurable. And he lived those values powerfully in every generous and gentle exchange. He nurtured the flourishing of so many young writers, holding our vulnerabilities with care, powerfully drawing us into the craft, and showing us how to change it. His writing and storytelling did this too - incisive, searching, rhetorically capacious, and always pedagogical, centering the intelligence and ingenuity of labor that others choose not to see. The ripples from his work and spirit of being extend far beyond the people he taught directly. They live in the deep sense of presence, listening, sharpness, humor and love he practiced daily. What a profound blessing to have known you in this life dear professor. love you Mike Rose."
Diane Friedlaender - Class of 1998
"Mike, even though it’s been years since I’ve spoken to you, you are part of my DNA. Your gentle, compassionate, yet emphatic confidence in me—and all your students, for that matter—enabled my emergence as a lover of words. Through your guidance, I learned that I had something to say. That my truth was worthy of the light of day. That it was enough because it was mine. What a rare message to hear as a graduate student. I carry that message forward as well as the notion that writing can be a political and creative act, a quietly revolutionary act. You lived your humanity authentically and transparently illuminating to your fortunate students another way to exist in academia. The outpouring of love and gratitude expressed here are a tribute to you legacy, you burn bright in our hearts!"
"I'm Sam because of Mike Rose. I mean, I've always been Sam, but when I started out as an academic, I did what others did. I tried to act all grown up and impressive, and signed my name on my first publications, "Samuel." I even used my middle initial, S, to make it more impressive. I knew it was an affectation, but wasn't that what you were supposed to do as a "scholar"? That is ... until my 2nd year as an assistant professor when I had a phone conversation with Mike Rose." Read Full Tribute Here
Martha A. Rivas, Ph.D. - Class of 2012
"I am at a loss for words, I know - hard to believe. What life consistently insists to remind us is that people brought into our lives, at any phase, is for a reason." Read Full Tribute Here
Ravneet Tiwana - Class of 2012
"The world lost an amazing and beautiful soul of an educator, mentor, and all around good human being. Heart-breaking news. Mike had a wonderfully gentle way of genuinely appreciating and critiquing my work that allowed for growth. He did it all with a great sense of humor. He could quickly figure out someone's internal struggle, ask thoughtful questions, and shine a light on the pathway to get you to where you were wanting to go. Mike, simply put, got human beings and their souls. He used this gift to surface their powerful stories. Long after I graduated from UCLA, Mike was a person I immediately turned to because I knew he got it. His legacy exists in the many lives he touched and deeply understood through friendship, mentorship, and powerful writing. I'll always remember his big laugh when he say our division t-shirt with the headline 'putting the social back into social research methodology'."
Dr. Tunette Powell - Class of 2020
"Mike Rose said I was a badass and so I was!
Yen Ling Shek
"Mike Rose was kind, generous, and spoke his mind in a way where I found myself laughing and thinking he’s brilliant. I wish I had spent more time soaking in his presence. It’s been years since we had seen each other and memories begin to fade. But the feelings of care, encouragement, and laughter remain."
Kerri Ullucci - Class of 2005
"The last conversation Mike and I had this past summer was what it meant to be "someone's student". How could you tell? What did that mean?
I was Mike's. For more than 20 years, his generosity and insights have guided my path. His imprint is everywhere. I "dear reader" my students, and remind them to remove "throat clearing" lines. But beyond this, Mike is my model for being present. For making folks feel like they are heard, special, and valued. Is there any greater gift we can give each other? Thank you, dear friend. My life is forever bettered by knowing you."
"When I returned to higher ed to pursue my Master's in Rhetoric and Composition, I brought 20+ years of secondary English education experience with me. During my untold readings and research, I came across a few scholars that touched my educator's heart, and I still refer to these favored scholars to inform my role as director of a writing center at an HBCU in my hometown.
Mike Rose is one of those scholars that consistently grounds me and aligns with my philosophy about "regular" folks and education. It didn't hurt that my grandfather was a "regular" folk from Italy...another alignment with Rose's roots. I only wish I could have attended one of his lectures; his research inspires me every day. What a legacy he has left behind...even to those who have never taken a class with him, but know that his legacy is living on over here on the East Coast.
Well done, Mike Rose, well done!"
"Professor Rose's memory will be a blessing. His guidance on the writing process and enthusiasm for ideas on the intricacies of educational reform have left a lasting impression on me. Am saying thank you to him."
Deborah Appleman, Professor of Educational Studies, Carleton College
"With so many others, I am devastated by the passing of Mike Rose, the kindest, most generous, most decent person in our profession. For more than two decades, my conversations with Mike--peppered equally with brilliant insights and f-bombs--on the phone, over email, or at The Galley, spurred me to not just become a better writer and teacher, but to become a better person. My incarcerated students may not know Mike Rose, but his passionate belief in the power of second chances and the right to an education for everyone led me to them.
Let us honor his legacy by teaching with empathy and writing with humility."
Victor Saenz - Class of 2005
"I can't imagine my UCLA experience without Mike Rose. The countless writing sessions together are some of my most cherished memories at Moore Hall, not to mention the impromptu dinners at Santa Monica. Reading these heartfelt tributes from countless scholars and leaders whom he mentored and influenced, it is clear to anyone what an extraordinary legacy he leaves behind...for all us. Erica and I will miss you, Mike. Que En Paz Descanses #QEPD."
ThienVinh Nguyen, PhD - Class of 2009
"Mike opened the world of possibilities through learning for me. I took his undergraduate courses at UCLA and was his assistant for a few years. His philosophy on education and learning continue to guide my very sense of being and my political activism. He knew what it was like growing up as a refugee and immigrant, as the son of working class immigrants himself. Mike was one of my very first mentors; he supported my thinking, learning, and writing. He wrote my letters of recommendation and read my work even after I left UCLA. I would not have gotten my PhD without his advice and support. He will be terribly missed, as a public intellectual, as a mentor, as an educator, and as a friend."
"Mike is my north star. When I met him in June of 2017 to talk about scholarships for community college students, I never, realized how much I would grow to l cherish the many dinners we had together—always at The Galley. At one dinner, Mike patiently signed 50 copies of his book "Back to School". The books, intended for students who will receive a Mike Rose Scholarship, are on a shelf in my office.
I just took one from the bookcase, turned to the opening page, and shuddered to see Mike's handwritten message: "Here's to your future. Mike Rose 10/17"."
Michelle Renee Valladares - Class of 2006
"May we take the joy of Mike inviting us to think with him, to break bread with him and of course edit with him and share it with others. May we hold his love of people, of scholarship and of learning fiercely in our hearts and work. May we love ourselves as deeply as he loves us."
"The most transformative experience of my professional life was working with Mike in the eighties as a lecturer in the UCLA Writing Programs. An inspirational and brilliant director, he taught me to place “the student(s)” in the center of the pedagogical enterprise (how he would have hated those quotation marks!), to listen deeply to what students said and also didn’t say—and ask why. While we lost touch over the years, I never forgot what I learned from him. I am grateful proud to be among those whose careers he helped to fashion."
"Mike Rose was a dear friend. His passing is a loss for us all as he still had so much to give. At 77, he was still writing, teaching, and sharing his wisdom. He was always ready to engage in a heartfelt conversation and share a friendly ear and warm smile.... or just cheer you on as you jogged by during one of his neighborhood walks. None of what was great about Mike was waning with age. If anything it was only getting better."
"Mike Rose's work made me who I am as a teacher. I'm so honored to have met him, and to have shared my work with him, and that he knew who I was. When your hero knows you exist, and respects your work...that's everything. Thank you, Mike Rose. Your life made a difference, made so many, many differences."
Moon Ko - Class of 2011
"So sad to hear of Prof Rose’s passing. I remember when he invited our class for a meal at his home. It was full of unique and charming details just like him. May his soul rest in peace."
Jessica E. Schnittka Hoskins - Class of 2022
"When you feel down about the state of humanity, just remember Mike Rose. He truly saw the brilliance in others and the growth in every struggle. I had the amazing privilege of being in his writing class (EDUC 233). Instead of lecturing in front of 20-30 students (as is common in graduate school) he broke class up into multiple small groups of 4 or so people." Read Full Tribute Here
Suzanne Gates - Ed.D., '01
"Mike Rose was my dissertation advisor. I had read Lives on the Boundary; I knew who he was; and I remember telling a friend how nervous I was to meet with him for the first time. He at first had turned me down when I asked him to join my committee, citing a project taking much of his time. Then my committee advisor suddenly passed away, and given the circumstances, Dr. Rose agreed." Read Full Tribute Here
"I wrote Mike Rose a fan letter back in grad school when I read his book about community colleges, and he wrote me back and gave this advice: "Yes, I had a winding career. I guess all I can pass on from it is to follow both your heart and head as well as the opportunities that open up. If several opportunities are available, take the one that grabs your imagination. And, this is crucial, wherever you are, be looking for those ways to push on things a bit, extend what's typically done, or make a connection where one has not been made. This doesn't have to be revolutionary stuff, just small things, the everyday creativity that makes for good work." What a capacious thinker and generous spirit."
Lesley (Zimmerman) Lee - BA '93, MEd '94
"I first read "Lives on the Boundary" as a senior at UCLA in 1993 in a pre-teaching credential course taught by Ed Frankel. It turned out to be the most impactful book on education I have read in my career. As a young teacher, I kept it in my desk drawer, pulling it out on bad days, using it as a reminder of why I should keep teaching high school." Read Full Tribute Here
Bill Younglove (UCLA, Ed.D., 1983)
"Mike was "all that" that was in the overview tribute, but he was also, responsive, taking time to communicate by regular and email to those of us who found wealth in his writings. In stark contrast to all too much of the national press today, Mike fully understood that public school teachers are the salt of the earth--helping to shape the lives of students who, were it not for such people, would not stand a ghost of a chance at leading fulfilling and productive lives."
"I only knew Mike from his books and articles, which were insightful and inspiring. Lives on the Boundary is one of the best books about education anyone has ever written."
Alex Coonce - Class of 2006
"Mike was such an amazing leader, teacher, and friend. He had a heart of gold and made everyone feel like they belonged. His sense of humor, his passion for helping others, and his incredible warmth will be missed."
"On the first day of Prof. Rose’s writing seminar class, he gave us his phone number and asked us to keep it. He said that once we’ve taken his course, he’ll be our teacher for life. Even though I have never made a call, over the years, whenever I completed a milestone, I would often find myself thinking of Prof. Rose and sometimes sending him an email to let him know how his work has inspired me and the students I worked with. Hearing about his passing today made me reflect the extraordinary commitment he had as a teacher. I realized that while he has kept his words—to guide us his students “for life,” there is the other half of this promise yet to be fulfilled—our lives that continue, now without his presence. I hope, as others have mentioned, to carry on this torch of care and dedication from him that has so brightened our lives as students and will continue to shine for us as scholars and teachers."
"Just a few days ago, I had opened "The Mind at Work" to consult it again--such an important book, written by a man who cared about ordinary people, about education, and about telling the truth in plain English. Thank you, Mike, for the books you labored over and for your kindness as a colleague."
In Remembrance of our friend and colleague Mike Rose, UCLA Center X Just News is publishing a series of previous interviews with Mike about a few of his books - please take a look and share with friends - (scroll to the bottom of Just News to find the interview and other info.) https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Just-News-from-Center-X---Aug--20--2021.html?soid=1127254233622&aid=F0uspyW3vh4
Jordan Rickles - Class of 2012
Mike represented all that was good about my graduate school experience. He helped us become better writers, better thinkers, and better people. It was always a pleasure to be in his presence and I will cherish the one dinner we shared at The Galley Restaurant. His kindness and true concern for others is unparalleled. As years passed, a good AERA conference was defined by whether I ran into Mike or not. On those lucky occasions, he’d greet me with an enthusiastic smile and warm embrace. I remember Mike filling a large conference room for one of his talks, bringing some audience members to tears, and I felt a sense of personal pride that I could say I knew that guy and he knew me. Through the sadness of his passing, I feel that pride even stronger today: an everlasting gift that Mike bestowed upon all who were lucky enough to know him.
Mike was my best friend. We first met in 1965 when I was a grad student at UCLA and Mike was still an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount. At the time, Mike was rooming with UCLA undergraduate students in Westwood. We were brought together through a mutual friend. One evening Mike was grooming himself for a date but didn’t have what he thought were decent pants. I loaned him my one spare pair of my dress pants – a lending that led to a lifetime friendship.
I had no academic connection with Mike, never ventured much into his educator world. We were pursuing widely divergent curricula. However, we were close pals, buddies engaging in the normal early adult mischief and partying. On a more responsible note, he did encourage me to join him as a crisis intervention volunteer at the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center. On campus, we routinely gathered at his closet space office in Moore Hall to exchange jokes and discuss our mutual grad student challenges.
I was introduced to Mike’s literary ability through his early poetry. He would write a series of poems, print them, and then distribute as Christmas gifts. I learned about Mike’s broader writing and education oriented genius when he published his first book. I then realized that beyond the boozy banter that we often engaged in, he had a gift that I had previously had not appreciated.
Upon our graduations, Mike stayed fixed at UCLA while I relocated to the East Coast and ultimately Asia. Despite the 13 hour time zone difference, we remained in close contact, Skyping and emailing. We always relished our brief reunions whenever I made my infrequent trips back to southern California. We remained as family, with Mike graciously accepting the responsibility of being the godfather to my daughter.
When I think of Mike and his work, I keep coming back to "respect." It's a word we overuse, to the point that it seems like just good manners. But for Mike it was an animating principle for his research. Whether he was writing about struggling first year university students, or hairdressers coming up with a plan to beautify their clients, he showed respect, even admiration and wonder. He called out universities for their indifference to the potential of those "on the margins." But even when he was critical, one sensed a great kindness in his work--a sense of hope, a belief that public education can do better. God, we will miss that voice.
Professor Rose appeared virtually as a guest lecturer back in one of my courses. We had read The Working Life of A Waitress, and I felt validated and vindicated that he too saw the struggles and achievements of the working class. Carpenters, waitresses. Academia is too often far removed from these people and the knowledge they have to offer, and Mike Rose helped me feel that members of my family and the communities I had grown up in could also be acknowledged for their value and skills. I am grateful for his work, and for the way he touched our lives.
Cindy Cruz - Class of 2006
I met Mike Rose on the corner of Vermont and 82nd Street just a few months after the L.A. Uprisings. We were looking at the new home of a community school, building it from scratch, and thinking about the history of Vermont Avenue. He told me he grew up not far from here and pointed out a building that once housed a synagogue. "If you look closely," he told me, "you can see the Star of David in the brickwork." And with that insight, we began to talk about a curriculum that looked at the neighborhood as change, where students could unearth the histories of the communities that have passed through South Los Angeles and why. Black and brown students did not talk to each other in this neighborhood. And maybe, he said, students could understand each other's history a little bit better, and see that maybe new Latinx immigrants fleeing war and economic oppression were not so different than the reasons why my Black students' grandparents and great-grandparents fled the south to Los Angeles. This part of Los Angeles was not going to be rebuilt anytime soon after the uprisings and you could see in the groundwork that little had been developed even after the 1965 riots in this neighborhood. Could we build the new school's social science/English curriculum around the study of Vermont Avenue? And of course Mike was encouraging, supportive, and oh so good at asking those questions that pushed my thinking to other levels.
What I understood about Mike Rose was that he loved Los Angeles and its people because he knew that L.A. is the future and to know these new futures we needed to really understand our past, own it, re-envision it, see the potential for coalitions onward. It is a beautiful legacy. I am glad to have met this wonderful scholar and his support freed me to think a little differently, write with urgency but also with joy. It was always a joy to be in the same space as Mike Rose.
Plus, Mike Rose could curse like a sailor and I have modeled my own cursing practice after him.
I will miss you so much Mike Rose.
Mike Rose was a champion of the working class and the beauty of inclusive education. He was also a damn nice guy who was willing to spend an evening in Tucson with some lucky grad students. He'd never have remembered me, but I won't forget him.
As so many others have attested, Mike was immensely generous in supporting colleagues and encouraging their work— he did this for me when I began my career in UCLA Writing Programs—and it is hard to imagine the world without his presence. Much sadness, much gratitude.
Joanna Goode - Class of 2004
Mike Rose was undeniably a fabulous teacher, wise mentor, beautiful writer, and generous academic. Though his gifts of writing and teaching – and teaching of writing -- will be a lasting legacy that Mike has gifted to us all, what I will miss most is Mike’s kind, warm, patient, candid, hilarious, and generous friendship. To be Mike’s friend was to be part of a spirited and caring community that made a big city feel like a small town. I will always cherish our neighborhood walks, ‘quick hits’, phone calls, and Galley dinners that sustained me and made my scholarship feel valued and important. Mr. Mike, Mikey… I’m heartbroken, dear friend, the world will not be the same without you. Your legacy of teaching and mentoring and writing and caring – will stay with me forever.
Jennifer Ho - Class of 2016
Mike was a fervent advocate for education in service of our shared human dignity and the talent inherent in each of us. He lived, breathed, and never stopped writing in reflection of these values.
But what I already miss most about Mike - as a teacher, mentor and friend - is his expectation not for perfection, but for decency. For Mike, we never had to perform. We only needed to present our authentic selves and try our best to make good on our privileges and opportunities.
Artineh Samkian - Class of 2007
Mike was my dissertation co-chair and an incredible mentor and friend. In my time under his wings, I learned the power of the pen to interrogate inequities, to find the nuance in people's lives and experiences, to never accept simple (often binary) representations of complex social phenomena. I learned how to use my privilege and education to carefully study, focus on bringing about change, to advocate for those whose voices are often silenced, and to do it all with a sense of humility. It is a gift Mike gave me (along with so many other students he mentored). And I am forever grateful.
Pamela Beere Briggs
I read Mike Rose's "Why School?" 10 years ago. I tabbed so many pages, to make it easy to find the many sections that inspired me and gave me the courage to speak up about the importance of love of learning. In 2020, when I was working on a book with my UCLA professor husband and daughter titled "The Schoolhouse Experiment," I wrote to Mike. We ended up having the most enjoyable email correspondence. We were looking forward to meeting on the UCLA campus when life calmed down. Our last correspondence included a photo I took of his book "The Mind at Work" on my reading pillow. He replied: "Oh geez, I sure like that photo….thank you for your generosity, Pamela. Someday over drinks (remember that pre-historical ritual?) I’ll tell you a few stories about the book." What I want to say is this: Mike Rose was so generous, he brought out generosity in others. We need so many more Mike Roses in the world. I am so honored to have known him.
I met Mike in 1966, as a sophomore at UCLA, when I moved into my first apartment on Glenrock in Westwood…he was the bawdy yet supremely huggable guy living across the street who became a lifelong friend. Even though, I haven’t lived in my home state of California since 1970, Mike and I stayed in touch…writing and talking through the varied milestones of our lives.
I am engulfed in sadness...so I spent time re-reading some of Mike's Lunch Poems...They were Christmas gifts and Summertime treasures. I have about 11 of The Lunch Poem Booklets (cut in-half file folders with stapled pages of some of the best poems ever). If there is any discussion of compiling his lunch poems into a book…I would love to be involved. Mike was truly one of my touchstones in my formative years...he accepted, watched over, comforted and respected the wide-eyed Valley girl in my quest to “contribute something” to the world....he was instrumental in building my confidence to seek out and enjoy my eventual pathways. I warmly remember his willingness to participate in mid-nite runs to rescue me from disastrous dates, introducing me to The Talpa restaurant on W. Pico, hikes in the Hollywood hills, and his relentless listening to the Chambers Brothers, “Time has Come Today”. His ability to appreciate and connect with others led to his immersion in writing poems, books and blogs fueled by his UCLA partnership, his keen eye, his big heart, his myriad collection of friends, his winning smile and his joyful soul.
“What a warm assurance
to think that it’s never truly dark that always
there’s invisible light
through the universe.”
Lunch Poems – Mike Rose
Mike was a lovely man and a good friend. Before I moved to Asheville we would have a birthday dinner each year at the Galley. He had a penetrating mind and an ability to get to the issue with the most gentle questions. I will miss him greatly.
Cicely Bingener - Student
I've been a classroom teacher for 25 years and a Ph.D. student for 2 years. I know what it is to truly love and believe in your students. Mike Rose taught from his heart. I had the privilege of taking Dr. Rose's writing class in Winter 2021 and his generous heart, fierce wit, and rigorous skill was always on full display and fully at our disposal. He loved our dreams, he loved our aspirations, and most of all he loved us as his students and colleagues. My heart is broken to think the world has been so cruelly robbed of his brilliant presence. I am grateful to have tarried even briefly with such a powerful fellow soul. Thank you Dr. Rose!
I am devastated that Mike Rose is gone--the world is a lesser place without him. I first met Mike about 50 years ago when we were both very new to the world of writing research. He was always the most generous and sensitive soul, someone who truly connected with others, who served as a role model for not just how to write about writing, but for how to "be" in this world.
Mike Rose is gone and what a loss it is to his many friends and followers. Mike’s great contribution to our thinking about teaching and learning was his remarkably deep and generous attention to detail. He wrote from the inside; he wrote about people and places, and he wrote about what mattered. He would engage the “literature” and the issues of the moment, but as points of reference, not as subjects, and primarily to explain or ground or illuminate the lived moments that made his writing so memorable and so persuasive. Mike could wander in and out of your life, but when he was there, you knew it and it made a difference. Things slowed down. The conversation sparked. You saw and understood the world differently. For me, he was a writer’s writer, and I will miss him dearly.
Mike was the epitome of what a faculty colleague should be — brilliant, but caring and humble. I am proud of the role I played in hiring him.
Nida Denson - Ph.D. Class of 2007
I'm so very saddened to hear about Mike's passing. He was an amazing teacher and mentor and made a huge impact on me as a Ph.D. student, and I can still feel his effect on me today. I feel truly blessed and lucky to have gotten to know him. The world is just not the same without Mike Rose.
MIKE ROSE: PROLEPSIS AND APPRECIATION
As I think of our friend and colleague Mike Rose and mourn our loss of him two words come to mind: prolepsis and appreciation. One of the meanings of prolepsis is a rhetorical device by which a future event is presented as already happening. Michael Cole adopted this term for the study and practice of learning and teaching, calling prolepsis the recognition of potential in the currently dysfluent performance of a learner who is engaged in a new task and the provision of support for future development of that performance. Appreciation means recognition of what is good in things and people; an honest and thorough understanding.
Prolepsis was at the heart of Mike’s teaching and mentoring. He would take the incomplete attempts of beginning writers and see in that damaged performance the possibility for growth, gently inviting and guiding the novice toward mastery. Mike had keen awareness of how frightening—how face threatening—are our attempts as learners to try to do something new. Appreciation was foundational for Mike’s research and theorizing—his carefully crafted and analytically guided narrative portrayals of thinking and learning as it takes place within the practices of everyday life. A consummate teacher himself, he appreciated what was good in the work of other teachers. In his book Possible lives: The promise of public education in America he shows us inner-city and rural teachers who are teaching well-doing right by students even in difficult circumstances of teaching practice. He appreciated the skills and smartness of blue-collar workers and in his book The mind at work he shows us that compellingly.
Throughout his teaching and scholarship, Mike focused on possibility--on what humans can do rather than what they can’t do. His writing was luminous and his mentoring was remarkably generous and wise. The best we can do to honor his memory is to follow his example in our own practice of prolepsis and appreciation in daily interaction with others. Thanks, Mike, for showing us that way of being in and for what is most truly human.
I will never forget Professor Rose's warm-hearted supports for me. As the instructor of the academic writing class, he not only reviewed my assignments line by line but purposefully looked for the writing consultants who had experience teaching English as a foreign language from the Graduate Writing Center for me. Even after the course ended, he reminded me of meeting with a writing consultant a few times. Professor Mike Rose will be missed forever!
Many at this event know my cousin Mike as a brilliant professor, writer, and colleague. My fondest memories of him go way back to the days when he wore a sky-high afro in the early 70's and visited us at our family reunions "back east". You always knew when Mike arrived. He was, by far, the loudest of all of us. And that is saying something in big, loud Italian family. Mike was always funny, but I think he enjoyed finding the humor in others even more. I can still hear his laugh... Love and miss you so much. -- Your "favorite" cousin, Sherry
Sherri Rodriguez - Class of 1999
As my dissertation chair, Mike Rose taught me a new way of looking at research and the world. I still use his gentle, inquisitive manner to learn about students' stories and experiences. I am forever grateful to him.
Pamela Beere Briggs
Although I am a graduate of UCLA, I met Mike Rose through his books. I read Mike Rose's "Why School?" 10 years ago. I tabbed so many pages, to make it easy to find the many sections that inspired me and gave me the courage to speak up about the importance of love of learning. In 2020, when I was working on a book with my UCLA professor husband and daughter titled "The Schoolhouse Experiment: Reimagining School at Home and in the Classroom," I wrote to Mike. We ended up having the most enjoyable email correspondence. We were looking forward to meeting on the UCLA campus when life calmed down. Our last correspondence included a photo I took of his book "The Mind at Work" on my reading pillow. He replied: "Oh geez, I sure like that photo….thank you for your generosity, Pamela. Someday over drinks (remember that pre-historical ritual?) I’ll tell you a few stories about the book." What I want to say is this: Mike Rose was so generous, he brought out generosity in others. We need so many more Mike Roses in the world. I am so honored to have known him. (I've attached the photo I sent him.)
Dr. Tanner Wallace - Class of 2008
Mike was an "idea detective," always searching for a framework, a concept, a phrasing that brought everything together with stunning precision. His mind worked thoughtfully, methodically, expansively. He had little use for words bigger than their analytical weight, little use for paragraphs longer than their insight, little use for parenthetical phrases that complicated more than clarified. He carefully responded with love to ideas yet to be fully formed, mindful that to the learner these were moments of incredible vulnerability matched with hidden-in-plain-sight possibility. He loved learning. He believed deeply in the magnificent properties of human development. He saw promise where others saw only probabilities. He taught me to treat my writing as an extension of my teaching—to internalize his belief that the written word can transcend space and place... and literally change someone's life. We never were just writing, we were authoring the future. I love you, Dr. Mike Rose. You changed my life. You saw within me what I hadn't yet seen myself. You will always be with me in mind and spirit. With the deepest respect, your student always, Dr. Tanner Wallace
Sheri Repp Loadsman
Upon our first meeting in 1983, I realized that Mike was like no one I had ever met before. My somewhat sheltered life was in for a shock as Mike introduced me to all sorts of eclectic new experiences. Our relationship grew and changed over the years. Throughout, we had fun and could always count on each other. There is no question that my choices in education and career were influenced by Mike. His views on life and a strong belief that opportunity exists for everyone led him on a journey to be a mentor, benefactor, friend and teacher to all who entered his world. His support and true concern always felt comforting and validating. As much as he enjoyed helping others, he also deeply appreciated everyone in his life. I will miss Mike and will forever hold him dear to my heart.
Mike Rose was for 45 years my close and dear friend and his passing was an event wretched for its suddenness, a cruel and unwelcome reminder that our lives are fragile things, even as, especially in Mike’s case, they may leave behind material contributions that advance the human struggle for enlightenment and self-awareness.
Some of Mike’s contributions inhere in published form, in books that laid bare an incredibly unconventional journey through a childhood and adolescence whose physical and intellectual poverty are significant only for his startling ability to overcome them, creating in adulthood a man whose words had particular meaning for a significant segment of the public education sphere.
But really it was Mike’s unique and entirely personal pedagogical style that many, perhaps most of those who will remember him today will attest. And I expect you’ll hear plenty about that aspect of Mike’s professional life today.
There remains my entirely selfish, personal loss. It is profound. I will miss our dinners together. I will miss our mutual distaste for so much of the way events have so recently unfolded, the unseemliness in the way the world today presents itself. I will miss the commiseration. The how and why of it all, and whether indeed there is some salvation somewhere, near or far.
It comforts me to believe that to that last question my friend would show those particular, and particularly Italianate eyes, lean over his tequila rocks and declare: it’s in the near, Jimmie Elwyn. It’s gotta be in the near.
I love you Mikey.
Professor Rose is thoughtful, caring, and detail-oriented for my 233 classes. Other than spreading teachings of great writings, Mike devoted himself to inspiring the inner writer of each student he met. His warm and in-depth reflection on research also provides us with a unique and important perspective to evaluate our own research. He will be a role model for me as a writer, researcher, and teacher.
Today is October 13, 2021. I discovered you while listening to “On Being with Krista Tippett”. The interview was from 2010. I never even knew you existed until yesterday, but now my life has been forever changed. You put words to what my mind couldn’t express. You seemed to be speaking right to me and for me.
I’m from a poor, working-class family. I was the first to go to college and graduate, but to pay off student loans and because I felt I wasn’t smart enough to even be there, let alone go further with my degree, I worked as a server/bartender for the last 20 years. Because of the way I’ve viewed myself, I’ve limited myself.
You said to Krista Tippett, that you are “interested in what opportunity ~feels~ like” You go on to say, “Experiencing a new self— that’s what opportunity feels like,” after telling a story of a man that you once tutored that couldn’t read but wanted to better his life. It was like a light bulb went off in my heart. You have given me the confidence.. the opportunity… to experience my new self. I look forward to scarfing down everything of yours and I will share it with anyone who will listen! What a treasure you are. What a precious gift.
Thank you, Dr. Mike Rose. I am so grateful for your generous life. I hold you and your family and friends in my heart. You will never be gone from this world. Your legacy continues.
Jarbas Novelino Barato
I interviewed Mike many years ago for a magazine of a Brazilian Vocational Education Organization (SENAC). After that, I proposed translation of two Mike's books to Portuguese. We developed a good friendship although we never have met personally. I always will remember Mike as a very gentle person who would help me with my bad English in our conversations via web. I lost an amigo muito querido.
Mike Rose was our neighbor in Santa Monica from 2012 to 2015. We lived across the hall from him and we saw each other nearly every day. He became a very dear friend to us and a wonderfully loving "Uncle Mike" to our children, Max & Leo. He would be Leo’s first neighbor in life.
After we relocated to Asia, we stayed in regular touch, visited when we were in Los Angeles and we were looking forward to our next meet up.
We just discovered that he passed and we are filled with such deep sadness. At the same time, we know we need to be forever thankful for the currents of life that enabled us to have this precious friendship.
We had countless hours of conversation. Some of this was in the hallway, some at The Galley, though most often it was in our living room during the evenings over a “whisper" of tequila and a dash of Mexican beer. He was our favorite conversationalist and an unparalleled listener. Discussions would go from literature, politics, religion and science to pop culture, rock n roll and food. He was especially interested in the daily stories of our children and even our eccentric friends.
Max and Leo were totally charmed by Uncle Mike. One day, right after returning from travel in Thailand, our three-year-old son, Max, left a tiny elephant figurine on Mike’s mail table outside his front door. Mike emailed me to inquire if Max had left it there accidentally. I told him that Max left it there as a gift for Uncle Mike thinking it would be a nice addition to his collection of figures, toys and assorted items. Mike's response was "Well, bless his heart! I think it's pretty cool and already has a home."
Mike Rose very much made that apartment building and our time in Santa Monica a home for our family. We will always cherish and share these memories with our children. We will forever keep Mike in our thoughts and prayers.
Uncle Mike, We miss you and we love you. God bless you.
David, Ploy, Max, Leo and Ali
Professor Rose just came into my life this year, 2022, when an academic colleague suggested I read "Lives on the Boundary". It has profoundly changed my perspective on how to help students. When I came across his obituary I felt a deep sense of loss for this wonderful man and true scholar.