Rozewski to leave USI after 10 years as VP

Bobby Shipman

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One of the first things Mark Rozewski did when he started as Vice President of Business Affairs at USI in 2005 was ask the question, “What’s one of your worst classrooms?”

USI President Linda Bennett, who was vice president of academic affairs and provost at the time, said she took him to the old Science Center, which was filled with one armed wooden desks with words scratched into the tops.

“He was so in tune with the academic mission of the institution. And what can we do to enhance the academic mission,” Bennett said. “He has a very firm belief that the configuration of physical space has an impact on your experience in that space.”

The final renovations on the Science Center ended in the summer of 2014 with the completion of the biology department.

Rozewski is leaving the university in February after a decade as USI’s vice president for finance and administration. He accepted a position as executive vice president at Southern Connecticut State University in December.

Prior to working at USI, Rozewski was the associate provost for finance and administration at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, where he is originally from.

Much of Rozewski’s family still lives in New Jersey, he said.

“Ten years is a really good run in this business. There’s family considerations, and I know I can make a contribution at Southern Connecticut,” Rozewski said.

Rozewski joined the USI vice presidential staff as construction began on Rice Library, and he has since overseen the construction of the Business and Engineering Center, University Center East, the cone, the USI Teaching Theatre and the new Conference Center, which the university broke ground on recently.

“USI was attractive because of its momentum, its energy and its infinite potential,” he said.

Rozewski’s responsibilities, however, encompassed much more than just construction.

“It’s really about keeping the financial underpinnings of what is at its heart a very large enterprise in good working order,” he said.

About $150 million per year passes through USI via its operating budget, which is a combination of tax payer dollars and students fees, and more than $1.5 billion has passed through during Rozewski’s tenure.

He said securing adequate funding for projects has been not only a challenge at USI, but a challenge in publicly funded higher education across America.

“We’ve got a great staff. It’s a small staff, but it’s incredibly hard working and very, very smart,” he said.

SCSU is similar in size to USI with a comparable mission, and Rozewski said he feels the university is about to experience its moment just as USI was when he hopped on board.

“My last station in higher education was at Rutgers. This is sort of a testimony to the circular nature of life,” he said.

Bennett said she understands what a great opportunity this switch is for Rozewski, but that he will be missed.

“(Rozewski) brought a great sensibility in terms of physical space and what it should look like to us over the past decade,” Bennett said. “It’s been wonderful to work with him.”

Bennett was on the search committee that brought Rozewski to USI in 2005.

“I knew from that moment that he would be someone very special in that position,” she said.

When Bennett became president she changed his title from vice president of business affairs to that of finance and administration.

“The new title really denotes a broader view. It’s more than just about the business of the university and there is a lot about this university. It’s like a small town,” she said.

Rozewski impacted the addition of smaller amenities at USI as well, such as the umbrella tables seen throughout campus and the labyrinth in front of the Liberal Arts Center, which signifies USI’s roots in New Harmony.

Rozewski will remain in his position at USI until early February and Bennett said she hopes to have the post filled by April.

Vice President for Governemnt and University Relations Cynthia Brinker said Rozewski brought a vision to projects that she doesn’t think anybody else at USI would have been able to bring.

Brinker said she will miss his dry sense of humor and love for deserts—particularly Coldstone Creamery.

“We always make fun of (Rozewski) because he loves to eat desert,” Brinker said. “We will go to a meeting and the Board of Trustees will be there and if someone doesn’t want theirs, they know where it will go and go away.”

Brinker said she is still in denial about his departure.

“He has been a great colleague to have sitting right next door to me for ten years,” she said.

Rozewski said USI is one of the best examples of what Hoosiers can do when they put their minds to it.

“My favorite part about working at USI is the warmth and collegiality of everyone who is here,” Rozewski said. “There is absolutely a sense of shear values and direction that has stood the test of time and has stood some real adversity.”

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