A half-century resident of Alaska, Bronx-born alum Frances (Dushman) Rose never envisioned living life quite so far north of where she was born and attended college. Rose, pictured here with her late husband and fellow alum David Rose at the Alaska Governor’s Ball, has taught GED classes to adults, GIs, and inmates and consulted on adult education teacher training for native villages in her home state.
As a moose munched her favorite tree, his antlers “clonked on my mailbox.” After a half-century in Alaska, Bronx-born Frances (Dushman) Rose ’59 is used to spectacular wildlife, even when it wanders downtown. Her historic home in Anchorage once housed a mink pelt storage. She and her late husband, David Rose ’58, were pillars of the community even before the 1980s North Slope oil development brought boom times to this railroad hub and port.
Rose’s five decades in Alaska reflect a can-do spirit in every enterprise she undertook, especially vocational education and civic causes. When their two sons were infants, to cope with the “outrageous” cost of living, she did clerical work on military bases. Over the years she taught GED classes to adults, GIs, and in jail. She consulted on training adult ed teachers for native villages. For many years the Roses were business partners with Susan and Tony Knowles (he became mayor and later governor) in Anchorage’s popular Downtown Deli.
At a community college that became part of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), Rose directed adult basic education. She served as a UAA regent and still is a member of two UAA boards. In 1974 she earned her master’s in education at UAA. David served on the city council and in 1975 as first chair of the Anchorage Assembly, which unified local government.
“People trusted him so,” Rose recalls of her husband, who died in 2006. He earned that trust by his political skills and financial acumen when “money was rolling in,” thanks to the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. When the state committed to setting aside pipeline profits via the Alaska Permanent Fund in 1982, it tapped David to manage the fund. Over his 10 years as its first director, this unknown corporation became one of the world’s 50 largest capital investment funds. Today, it’s a $40-billion cash cow. “Every man, woman, and child in Alaska gets a portion of that money, $1,000 to $2,000 each year, depending on the profits,” Rose relates.
In 1992 David founded the independently owned Alaska Permanent Capital Management (APCM), now with $2 billion in assets. Their son Evan is chief executive officer, and son Mitch is a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Rose served as APCM’s chief financial officer and senior vice president for administration.
As QC students a year apart, she and David had been sweethearts. “We were both politically active,” Rose recalls, and that’s how they met. She says David was a “newshound” and she was an associate editor of the Crown, the then QC student newspaper. He was an accounting major; she chose history with a minor in political science. “It was probably the finest education you could get, and it didn’t cost anything,” she points out. Knowing that’s not the case today, through the Frances & David Rose Foundation, “We decided it was time to give back,” Rose says, including to QC.
“When I was growing up, there was kind of a limited horizon,” observes Rose, who could never have guessed her life’s vista would be illuminated by the Aurora Borealis. “It’s been exciting to live here on the ‘Last Frontier,’ with the wildlife you can almost touch,” she says. “That’s the magic of Alaska.”
Books: “I have a Kindle, so I’m reading about three times as much as I used to,” especially about history and England’s Tudor period.
Music: “Classical and country—my favorite will always be Johnny Cash. When he did ‘Folsom Prison Blues,’ I was teaching in jail.”