Major General Mark Rosenker USAF (Ret.) 69:
Communication Alumnus and Military Veteran Leaves a Legacy

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Mark and Heather Rosenker with President Loh

Although born in Baltimore, Maryland, Major General Mark Rosenker, USAF (Ret.) learned to speak Japanese before English. His father was a career air force officer, and the family spent two years in Japan before eventually moving back to the States—where the family was then stationed in multiple locations across the country. Yet, Rosenker’s connection to Baltimore and the state of Maryland remained strong. After high school, he attended a community college in Baltimore before transferring to the University of Maryland for his sophomore year.

He was eager to enhance his education in television and radio, having worked in these fields during his high school years. One of his earliest mentors at the University was Dr. Thomas Aylward, the Department of Communication Chair, who encouraged Rosenker to apply to Maryland’s flagship university. Rosenker took a number of courses from Professor Aylward, which provided the opportunity to do some advanced independent study on FCC broadcast policies. While he flourished in his studies, Rosenker also decided to follow the path of his father and joined Maryland’s Air Force ROTC program at the end of his sophomore year. In 1969 he earned a bachelor of arts in radio/TV/ communications and was also commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF.

Rosenker’s time at Maryland was “life-changing,” putting him on the path to a distinguished and illustrious career—both within the public and private sectors—and as the recipient of a number of military decorations as well as prestigious civilian awards.

Upon graduation, Rosenker’s first assignment was at Andrews Air Force Base supporting radio and television initiatives. After a number of other assignments, he later transitioned to the active reserves—retiring in December 2006. As part of his civilian career, he spent 23 years as vice president, public affairs for the Electronic Industries Alliance—the trade association that developed standards for electronics manufacturers. Throughout this time, he also served in various capacities on ten presidential campaigns. This culminated in his appointment as deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Military Office in 2001; Rosenker was travelling with President Bush at the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11. Rosenker later served as the eleventh chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and led the Board from March 2005 to July 2009, when he then returned to private life.

Wanting to give back to the school that “gave me everything I have today,” Rosenker and his wife Heather have included the University of Maryland in their estate plan. This generous commitment will provide for the university in three areas: 1) general use funds for the Air Force ROTC; 2) undergraduate and graduate scholarships for students majoring in communications through the Mark and Heather Rosenker Endowed Scholarship in Communication; and 3) operational support to the Department of Communication though the Mark and Heather Rosenker Endowment in Communication.

In additional to their financial support, the Rosenkers have also been active on campus—encouraging and advising our next generation of leaders. Today Rosenker is president of his own firm that addresses transportation safety issues and regularly appears on radio and TV as a consultant to CBS. He was also recently appointed a commissioner by the governor of Virginia to the newly formed Washington Metro Rail Safety Commission.

Heather, a University of Denver communication graduate, also enjoyed an extensive and successful career in both federal and corporate communications.

“It is a privilege to be able to give back to my alma mater,” says Rosenker. “My education at Maryland was an essential stepping stone to both my career in the public and private sectors. Heather and I want to help ensure that future students can have similar opportunities.”

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