History of the Roesch Chair

Fr. RoeschThe Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences is named in honor of Fr. Raymond A. Roesch, S.M. A native of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Fr. Roesch entered the Society of Mary in 1933 and graduated from the University of Dayton in 1936. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1944. Fr. Roesch returned to UD in 1951 as a professor of psychology. After serving seven years as chair of the department, he became the sixteenth president of the University in 1959.

Fr. Roesch was instrumental in giving the university campus a new look. Hoping to make his vision of excellence for the University of Dayton a reality, Fr. Roesch not only oversaw the renovation of existing campus buildings, but was instrumental in several new construction projects, including Kennedy Union, Miriam Hall, Roesch Library, and the University of Dayton Arena. He developed the housing capacity for making UD a residential campus with the construction of Marycrest Hall, Stuart Hall and Campus South. He also provided the leadership in shaping the academic curriculum for a modern, comprehensive university. During his twenty-year presidency, he added nine academic departments, six associate degree programs, eighteen bachelor degree programs and forty-four masters programs. The School of Law also reopened under his leadership.

Fr. Roesch retired from the UD presidency in 1979. Shortly thereafter, he became acting president of Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. Following his retirement from Chaminade in 1989, Fr. Roesch returned to the University of Dayton to act as a special assistant to the president. He held this position until his death in 1991.

When Fr. Roesch officiated at the dedication of Sherman Hall on May 9, 1960, he set the Sherman Hall pendulum into motion. This pendulum captures the essence of Fr. Roesch's leadership. He set into motion the commitment to excellence that continues to shape the University of Dayton. We have established the Raymond A. Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences to recognize his contributions to the University of Dayton. For a period of forty years, he exemplified the Marianist commitment to servant leadership, and this endowed position will serve as a constant reminder of our duty to build upon his legacy.