February 24, 2015
Ruth Rothman’s indomitable spirit came from a lineage of overcoming the odds. At 13, her mother led her extended family out of Russia and negotiated their way to the United States. Her parents made a habit of helping people---family members and strangers alike---get through the Depression. As she said, “They taught us to be involved.”
Rothmann has put her parent’s teachings into practice throughout her life. In the early 1970s, at the age of 46, with her own children grown and out of the house, Rothman was ready for a new career. Enrolling at California State University, Northridge (then San Fernando Valley State College) at an age many might consider late to be embarking on a new path, Rothman earned her undergraduate degree and continued on to a master’s in speech and communications disorders (now called communication disorders and sciences). Rothman went on to work as a speech pathologist, speech teacher and therapist for the next 25 years, dedicating herself to helping children who have difficulty with communication and self-expression.
In 2010, Rothman---now retired---established a scholarship program, combining current gifts, an endowment and a commitment from her estate to help CSUN education and speech-language pathology students. It is her way of carrying on a family tradition of helping others.
Since the program started, 20 students in CSUN’s Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences and the Michael D. Eisner College of Education have received funding toward their education at CSUN thanks to Rothman’s generous support, and numerous additional awardees will benefit from the program in the future.
Rothman and her nephew, John Rothman, have also established Ruthie’s Kids Program, an early intervention program for children up to three years old. The program, which was launched earlier this year, provides assistance to the families of children who attend the C-SUNFlowers preschool program and are not eligible for funding from the state of California. This new program will allow CSUN to assist needy families with the cost of tuition.
Editor's Note: Ruth Rothman passed away on March 18, 2013. CSUN is grateful for her life and legacy.