Even though Noah Rosenberg has been a health-care attorney in California for 30 years, he keeps a warm place in his heart for Madison. Realization of how the tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s at the University of Wisconsin helped to shape the attorney he became, plus the desire to remember his sister and niece have prompted Noah and his wife, Shelley, to establish the Ina Jo Rosenberg and Shiri Eve Leah Gumbiner Fellowship for a health policy student at the La Follette School.
Fellowship recipient appreciates gift as he starts health policy program
"The Rosenbergs' gift means lot to me," says first-year student Alex Hartzman. "It's nice to know an alum cares enough about the university and what I am studying to make a donation."
The fellowship honors Noah's younger sister, Ina Jo Rosenberg, and her daughter, Shiri Eve Leah Gumbiner. They both passed away too soon, Ina in 2002 and Shiri in 2005.
The Rosenbergs share a commitment to education. Although Shelley is a Michigan State Spartan, she concurred with her husband's suggestion to make a donation to the University of Wisconsin, Noah's alma mater, to help someone get a good, quality education, he says.
Established through a multiyear pledge, the fellowship is supporting its first student, Alex Hartzman who started a dual master's degree program in public affairs and public health this fall.
Noah Rosenberg knows well the value of good health policy. Since graduating in 1980 from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he built a law practice based on health care. He represents physician groups, hospitals, hospital systems, and physician and hospital trade associations. "I live, eat and sleep health care," he says, "so supporting a public health student is a good fit for Shelley and me. All of my practice is about the business, law and public policy side of health care, working to keep hospital doors open, doctors practicing medicine and getting people access to health care."
Rosenberg loved his time in Madison during the heyday of the anti-war movement. "The UW–Madison shaped me academically, culturally, socially and politically," says Rosenberg, who earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1972 and master's degree in social work in 1975. He studied under historians Harvey Goldberg and George Mosse and did his share of protesting and advocating change while on campus.
Neither Rosenberg's sister nor his niece attended the university, but Ina did live in Madison for a few years when Noah was a student there. "The activism and the politics made living in Madison one of the more interesting times in her life," Rosenberg says. "Madison was a wonderful part of our life in the years she lived there. Her daughter, my niece, only heard stories from me and her older brother, who did graduate from Madison, but our family has roots in Milwaukee and relatives who graduated from Madison 50 to 60 years ago."
The Rosenbergs value supporting a professional master's degree student. "By the time someone is in graduate school, they are ready to focus their energy on a topic," Noah says. "For graduate school, many students are making a life change and a sacrifice, if they have been working for a while, to spend time to concentrate on one particular area, public health in this case. Shelley and I appreciate the opportunity to facilitate the education of somebody who is committed to making a difference in someone's health care, whether through research or through policy."
A version of this article appears in the fall 2010 La Follette Notes.