Groundbreaking $10 million gift to Florida State University College of Business will establish the Dr. Persis E. Rockwood School of Marketing in honor of the late, pioneering FSU Professor Emeritus and provide transformational support for marketing students and members faculty nationwide. ranked program.
Florida State University’s Board of Trustees approved the school’s nomination at its June 22 meeting.
University officials believe it is the first US marketing school named after a woman, and they say the gift will help bolster the marketing program’s rise in national rankings. One of the college’s six nationally recognized programs, FSU’s undergraduate marketing program ranks 17th among public schools by US News and World Report.
The gift of Rockwood, who died in May 2021 at the age of 97, and her surviving husband, FSU Professor Emeritus Charles Rockwood, continues a legacy of the couple’s major gifts at college and university.
Their latest donation will also establish – among many initiatives and priorities – the Dr. Persis E. and Dr. Charles E. Rockwood Eminent Scholar in Marketing.
“This is a historic moment in the life of the university, the college and especially the marketing department,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business. “The transformational nature of this gift cannot be overstated, as it will have a life-changing impact on our faculty and students, as well as our college.”
In total, the gift offers:
- A $3.5 million endowment for faculty support, including funding for the Distinguished Scholar Chair, Chairs, Emerging Scholars, and Research
- A $3 million endowment for student support in the form of scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students and funding for student professional development
- A $2.5 million “Preeminence” Endowment, providing discretionary funding for the Rockwood School’s most urgent needs
- $1 million for Legacy Hall, the college’s future state-of-the-art home, specifically to fund the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic Program Suite and the Dr. Persis Rockwood Academic and Behavioral Research Laboratory
The Rockwoods — major supporters of Tallahassee’s arts community — have also provided significant donations to the College of Music and the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy, including a $2.2 million donation for a pipe organ on measurement at FSU’s College of Music.
“This momentous gift will forever remain as a testament to the work, impact and memory of the late Persis Rockwood,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “She and Charlie will always have a special place in the Florida State family, and their generosity will help open up new avenues and opportunities in marketing research and education.”
Longtime Marketing Chair Mike Brady, who is also the Bob Sasser Professor of Marketing, said, “We are absolutely thrilled with the generosity and support that Persis and Charlie have given us. I told our faculty that this was a game-changing gift, and that our job moving forward was to be a game-changer.
At an event in April, Charles Rockwood joined Hartline and Brady to announce the gift to faculty and staff members. In his comments, Rockwood focused entirely on his wife, who taught at the College of Business for three decades, beginning in 1960.
“She loved FSU,” he said of his wife. “She was very modest. She didn’t tell the students her background, I don’t think ever. She would ask them things like, ‘What is your goal outside of your work ethic? What is your goal in life? »
Her journey included a series of firsts for women. This includes the first woman, in 1960, to earn a doctorate. in marketing from Stanford University; the first woman at FSU, in 1973, to achieve full professor of marketing status; and the first woman elected president of the Southern Marketing Association, of which she was a founding member. This organization became the Society for Marketing Advances.
In 2018, she became one of the first seven faculty members — and the first woman — to be inducted into the FSU College of Business Charles A. Rovetta Faculty Hall of Fame.
During her career, she specialized in research areas such as location theory and retail leasing and worked as a senior economist at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She also championed diversity and equity and chaired a university committee that created a policy on gender equity in faculty salaries.
Rockwood retired in 1989, and is remembered by her colleagues and students for her humor, reason, thoughtfulness, kindness, and courage.
Charles Rockwood also called his wife a “very smart investor” who managed her own finances.
They met at FSU and were married for 52 years.
Like his wife, Charles Rockwood quickly established himself as an influential scholar after joining the FSU faculty in 1960. He retired as Professor Emeritus of Economics in 1991.