Remembering Richard “Dick” Rosenberg (1930-2023)

By Mika Rivera

A portrait of Richard Rosenberg wearing a suit

The UC San Francisco community is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard “Dick” Rosenberg, who passed away on March 3 at the age of 92. A visionary businessman and prolific philanthropist, Rosenberg will be remembered for his inspiring impact on the Bay Area community and beyond.

Rosenberg was a tireless advocate for UCSF and gave generously of his time, serving on the UCSF Foundation board for 23 years, holding numerous leadership positions, including board chair from 2006 to 2011 as well as on numerous committees. He also served as founding chair of the UCSF Health Executive Council and a member since its inception in 2002. As board chair, Rosenberg oversaw the ambitious capital campaign to build UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, which now stands as an iconic landmark of health care in the Bay Area and positively affects numerous lives every day. 

“Dick’s long-term service, dedication, and unwavering commitment to UCSF will be a lasting inspiration,” said Sam Hawgood, MBBS, UCSF chancellor and the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor. “His insight and wise counsel helped shape our strategic vision at UCSF and broaden the scope of what is possible in science and medicine.”

A devoted friend to many across the University and a longtime donor, Rosenberg was a driving force in addressing the University’s greatest needs and providing leadership support to smooth the path forward for UCSF’s faculty members, students, staff, patients, and broader community for generations to come. He and his wife, Barbara, contributed profound gifts to the UCSF Chancellor’s Circle Fund and UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, as well as the Cardiology Council, Osher Center for Integrative Health, and many other projects, funds, and efforts across the University.

Rosenberg’s legacy also lives on in spaces he and Barbara named to support UCSF: the Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Children’s Garden at the Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco and the Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Cancer Resource Suite at the Bakar Precision Cancer Medicine Building. In 2014, Rosenberg received the UCSF Medal, the University’s highest honor, in recognition of his outstanding contributions toward advancing health worldwide.

“Dick could always be counted on to support UCSF Health’s vision, including the future hospital at Parnassus Heights,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, president and CEO of UCSF Health. “He was a true leader who cared deeply about health care in our community.”

Born April 21, 1930, Rosenberg grew up in Fall River, Mass. Barbara also hails from the same city, and though their paths crossed in high school, it wasn’t until years later when they reconnected that they began their life together. The couple went on to have two sons, Michael and Peter, and five grandchildren. 

Rosenberg earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Suffolk University in Boston and a law degree and Master of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He served in the U.S. Navy for eight years before forging a path of success in the financial sector, which brought him and Barbara back to San Francisco.

Rosenberg became a renowned leader in the banking industry during his 22 years at Wells Fargo, beginning in their advertising department – where he popularized the trademark stagecoach as part of Wells’ branding – and advancing to become vice chairman. He then joined Bank of America and eventually took the helm as chairman and CEO during the 1990s, setting the bank up to become one of the largest consumer banking franchises in the world.

Even amid his career success, Rosenberg was dedicated to balancing his time with philanthropic work. He often noted that he felt he owed the community for his good fortune and dedicated himself to giving back in return. In addition to supporting UCSF, he and Barbara have given generously to numerous organizations and institutions, including the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Caltech, U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island, and San Francisco Symphony.

With his legacy as an inspiring leader and champion fundraiser and philanthropist, Rosenberg was and remains beloved by the community – here at UCSF and beyond. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered for his many contributions and dedication to creating positive change in the world.