Reprinted with permission from the UCLA Daily Bruin, April 23, 2004
By Lauren Rodriguez, Daily Bruin contributor
Rosemary Park Anastos, a former UCLA vice chancellor, remembered by many as a highly intelligent, passionate individual with a wry sense of humor, died April 17 in her Los Angeles home. She was 97.
Park, a language professor and co-founder of the Perpetual Learning and Teaching Association, served as UCLA's vice chancellor from 1967 to 1970 and retired as professor emeritus of education in 1974. Park was also the former president of Barnard College and former president of Connecticut College.
June Macklin, a professor at Connecticut College, remembers Park as a feminist in a "pre-marked feminist era."
"President Park embodied the model of what a woman could do without having to emphasize that we were women," she said.
Linda Lear, a Connecticut College graduate, knew Park in her student days and admired her throughout her academic career.
"She had a steel-trap mind. ... She processed things and kept things in her intellect that most of us don't even dream about."
Park was also known for the high standards she held her colleagues and students to, said Helen Astin, UCLA professor emeritus.
Esther Hirsch, a member of the PLATO society, said she remembered Park attending the early days of one of the society's meeting committees but saying nothing.
When Hirsch questioned Park about her silence, Park reportedly replied, "I am only here to ensure that the level of offerings of the PLATO society are such that UCLA should support it."
But Park was far from all work, no play. "She loved good times," Astin said. "She was not just all about business. ... She was a woman for all seasons."
Park attended the weekly meetings of the PLATO society her entire life. After an operation that shortened one of her legs, Park continued attending the society meetings with Hirsch.
"I would take her to discussion at the PLATO society every week, until the last week of her life," Hirsch said.
Hirsch once questioned Park on whether attending the meetings was too difficult. She said Park admitted it was getting hard, then countered with, "But I love it."
Park earned a bachelor's degree in German from Radcliffe College and her doctorate from the University of Cologne. After retiring from UCLA, she traveled the country as a speaker on the position of women in education as well as the future of education.
Park was married to Milton Anastos, UCLA professor emeritus of history and Byzantine Greek, who died in 1997.
Lear, who used to go out to garden lunches with the two, remembers them as a "very loving, romantic couple" who "exuded intellectual curiosity and good will toward people."
"Those of us who came under her tutelage were all the better for having her set the pace," Lear said of Park.