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SWOSU Names First Parks & Recreation Management Endowment in Honor of Dr. Ken Rose

Dr. Ken RoseSouthwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) with locations in Weatherford and Sayre has announced that it will name the university’s first Parks & Recreation Management endowment in honor of the late Dr. Ken Rose.

A native of Clinton, Rose completed his undergraduate studies at SWOSU in 1967 and earned his master’s degree, also from SWOSU, in 1970. He earned his Doctorate of Education from the University of Oklahoma in 1980. Rose was a committed scholar and an expert on SCUBA diving who conducted extensive research on the effects of hyperbaric pressure on divers and the psychological factors impacting diver performance.

Rose devoted his life to education. From 1968 to 1974, Rose taught, coached and served as principal at Washita Heights Public Schools in Corn. In 1974, he joined SWOSU as an instructor in physical education, later advancing to professor. He chaired the Department of Health, Physical Education & Recreation, later was named dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and, eventually, dean of the College of Professional & Graduate Studies.

“Ken Rose was a transformational figure in the history of SWOSU and we are all beneficiaries of his brilliance and dedication,” said SWOSU College of Professional & Graduate Studies Dean Dr. Chad Kinder. “We can think of no more worthy figure to pay tribute to than Dr. Rose as we steward SWOSU’s first Parks & Recreation Management endowment and seek to enhance partnerships with charitable donors and investors.”

Among many significant achievements Rose facilitated during his four-plus decades of service to SWOSU is the evolution of the SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management Department into one of the most unique and dynamic academic programs of its type in the country.

“SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management students today go into the workforce well-equipped to succeed thanks to the curriculum and experiential learning programs put into place under Dr. Ken Rose,” said Ryan Haggard, chair of the SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management Department.

Rose passed away on September 2, 2020. He was a devoted husband to Susan and a loving father to David, D’Ann, Wesly and Tiler.

“SWOSU was at the heart of Ken’s life and work,” Susan Rose said. “I know my late husband and best friend would be truly honored to be associated with the first parks & recreation endowment in SWOSU’s history and would celebrate philanthropic support of the university’s students, faculty and programs.”

The Dr. Ken Rose Memorial Fund will benefit the SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management Department and will provide for annual student assistance to be awarded to Dr. Ken Rose Scholars. The fund is stewarded by the SWOSU Foundation, Inc. An institutionally-related charitable entity, the Foundation was established in 1977 to promote philanthropy, award scholarships and distribute funds to support the activities and programs of SWOSU. Located on the Weatherford campus in the historic Burton House, the Foundation currently stewards over $26 million in assets for the benefit of SWOSU.

For more information on the Foundation or to donate to the Dr. Ken Rose Memorial Fund benefitting the SWOSU Parks & Recreation Management Department, please visit or call 580-774-3267.