Jenny Rosti, director of major scholarships and fellowships, died on March 18, 2022. Rosti taught at Roanoke College since 1983 and took on one of her most influential roles in 2013 when she was named to oversee the major scholarships and fellowships program. Rosti took a burgeoning program and built on that foundation to raise Roanoke College’s profile into one as a national powerhouse for producing Fulbright Scholars and other national fellowships.
Rosti’s dedication to this program was highlighted in the 2017-2018 academic year when the College was named one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright students. The College has also produced 15 Gilman Scholarship Award winners.
“Jenny changed lives,” said Dr. Wendy R. Larson-Harris, chair of the English and Communication Studies department. “There was a continuous stream of students coming to her office, and Jenny had the warmth and energy to give everyone the attention and assistance they needed.”
Savannah Scott ‘17 was the College’s first Fulbright to Europe and reflected on Rosti’s impact.
“It is so hard to come up with words to describe the sunshine that she brought with her. Jenny is the reason I had the opportunity to study and work as a Fulbright student, and she is the reason I became the person I am today,” Scott said. “Jenny had this way of making you feel like you could do anything and was always first to cheer when you achieved your dreams. That will be her legacy.”
“Jenny changed lives. There was a continuous stream of students coming to her office, and Jenny had the warmth and energy to give everyone the attention and assistance they needed. ”
Dr. Wendy R. Larson-Harris, chair of English and Communication Studies department
Her radiance and positivity are remembered by those who knew her.
"Jenny Rosti was a one-of-a-kind woman — a real angel on Earth,” said Colleen Morrison ‘13. “She cared more about her students than anyone, and she was the best cheerleader and support system. She could make you laugh no matter what mood you were in. Put simply, to know her was to love her, and I'll miss her very much."
Her family has established a scholarship in her name at Roanoke College, which you can find more information at www.roanoke.edu/rostischolarship.
"Roanoke College students routinely achieve the most prestigious awards, grants and fellowships in the nation; Professor Rosti is the reason,” Daniel Osborne ‘17 said. “I speak for all students who have worked with Professor Rosti when I say this: the magic to her method was not merely an ability to see brilliance in students, but her unique power to make us see brilliance in ourselves."
A celebration of her life was held on Friday, March 25 in Antrim Chapel. The video above was created by Dr. Elizabeth K. Heil, associate professor of art, and was shown at the service. Her family’s obituary may be viewed here.
To read more about the impact of Jenny Rosti's work at Roanoke College, turn to page 18 of this issue of Roanoke College magazine.
Rosti (second from right) was part of the lip sync video with faculty, students and local community dancing to James Brown music.
David Taylor and Jenny Rosti are in place for the lip sync video filming.
Rosti with Fulbright finalist students from 2019, from left to right: Olivia Streett, Erin Hannon, Linnea Stewart, Jenny Rosti, Sasha Bronder, Emma Blair and Gabe Umland.
Rosti with Fulbright finalists in 2017, from left to right, Kristen Wicander, Savannah Scott, Stephanie Shields, Jenny Rosti, Brieanah Gouveia, Erin Keating and Edyth Cisneros.