DU Alumni / Magazine Feature / People

Giving was Rosie Meyer’s motto

It’s easy to say the University of Denver was an important part of Rosie Meyer’s life.

Meyer earned a psychology degree from DU in 1949. She met her husband, Dick (BA’51), at DU, her brothers also were alumni and her granddaughter currently is studying for a master’s degree at the University. Meyer’s father, Elwood Murray, was a professor in DU’s speech communication department and was “legendary” in the speech communication field.

Like many other DU professors at the time, Murray lived in the Observatory Park area, so Rosie Meyer practically grew up on the DU campus, says Scott Lumpkin, associate vice chancellor in University Advancement. The family lived right around the corner from Josef Korbel, and were friends with the family.

Meyer’s dedication to the University was unquestionable, Lumpkin says, and it carried on for her entire life. In fact, “dedication” was a word synonymous with Meyer.

“She was one of the most community-minded people,” Lumpkin says.

Meyer’s life was simply one devoted to community outreach and giving, her family and friends say.

That life ended on Oct. 30 at age 82.

Not surprisingly, Meyer made one of her most generous gifts to the University.

In 2004, when the University was raising money for the new hotel, restaurant and tourism management building, Rosie pledged $1.5 million to the project. The kitchen in the school — “the hub” of the building — was named the Richard and Rosalind Meyer Family Kitchen.

“Dick and Rosie didn’t even want the kitchen named for just them, but for their family,” Lumpkin says. “And that really says a lot about them.”

The kitchen was important to the Meyers, in part, because it honored Dick’s achievements in the food service industry. He chaired a food service management company that had contracts with universities in 39 states. Dick Meyer died in 2002.

“She was so proud to see the contribution … and especially to see the impact the Meyer Kitchen was having on our ability to educate our students in a professional facility,” says David Corsun, director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.

“The kitchen provides great opportunities for students to put into practice what they are learning in their classes,” Corsun says. A variety of events, such as the recent DU Vin Wine Festival, also utilize the kitchen.

“These were people whose values and ideals fit with the University,” Lumpkin says. “They are the kind of people students should have as examples. Dick and Rosie were exactly that — they were generous, moral people who were extremely dedicated to their family and their university.”

Meyer also was instrumental in creating two endowed funds in the department of human communication studies to honor her parents, Elwood and Emma Murray. The funds were established in 1991 and 2001, respectively.

In 1964, Rosie and Dick Meyer settled in Grosse Ile, Mich., where Rosie immersed herself in activities and service devoted to the town.

“She was pretty much a rockstar on that island,” says granddaughter Shelly Landaal, a first-year master’s student in DU’s human communications department. “She was a board member or avid volunteer for tons of different organizations and clubs on and outside Grosse Ile. She loved the arts and for as long as I can remember she would be taking my brothers and I to all sorts of shows, whether we wanted to or
not,” she says.

Meyer’s involvements included a laundry list of organizations: the Grosse Ile Garden Club, the Downriver Council for the Arts, the Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club Women’s Golf Board, the Southern Great Lakes Symphony, the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation, the Friends of the Historical Society, Downriver Town Hall and the Grosse Ile Questers.

Meyer also was a board member of organizations including the Southern Great Lakes Symphony, the Overture Society and the Grosse Ile Educational Foundation.

“Her personality was so bubbly and contagious,” Landaal says. “I would take her to my sorority brunches [during] undergrad, and all of my sisters would just gather around to talk to my Grandma because that’s just the way she was…she made everyone feel loved and important.

[This article was updated on Feb. 8, 2010].

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