Roger Page, U dean, 'really cared about students'

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2008 - 9:31 PM

The longtime administrator and professor, 91, started as a student counselor, "and he never left that focus."

Roger Page

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For Roger Page, the University of Minnesota had one focus: students.

That focus was evident in Page's long tenure as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts, where he advised the college's student governing board and was involved in the development of the student advising system and the honors program. After his retirement, he focused on older students and continuing education as a member of the committee that founded the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Page, whose health had been failing for several years, died Dec. 19 at Fairview Riverside Hospital. He was 91.

"He just really cared about students with regard to higher education and wanted them to have the best chance to be successful," said Mary Anne Page, his wife of more than 48 years.

Page was born Aug. 14, 1917, in Richmond, Va. He attended Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) and worked his way through school as a waiter in the dining hall. He received a bachelor's degree with honors in psychology in 1938 and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin before transferring to the University of Minnesota in 1939, drawn by the Psychology Department's reputation and renowned faculty.

He withdrew from the university during World War II to enlist in the Navy, where he was commissioned as an ensign. He worked in the Naval Air Corps as a psychologist, screening candidates for flight training.

At war's end, he returned to the U to finish his doctoral degree in psychology. He didn't leave the university's employ again until he retired as a psychology professor and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 1988.

"He started out as a student counselor, and he never left that focus," said Clarke Chambers, a retired history professor and department chairman. "The faculty were there to serve the students and to help them along and open opportunities for them."

Known to students as "Dean Page," he often wore tweed jackets and invited students to his home in the Prospect Park neighborhood for dinner and discussion of current events.

"We were all very fond of him," said Iric Nathanson, who as a student in the late 1950s and early 1960s looked to Page as a mentor. "He was very courtly. He had quite a wry sense of humor. He was sort of the complete gentleman."

Page's wife also noted his sense of humor, which she said she noticed when they were introduced over Sunday dinner by mutual friends.

The couple enjoyed travelling in the United States and abroad, including trips to Europe, Australia and Central America.

It was after a trip to Costa Rica in 1997, however, that Page's health began to fail because of a stroke. He entered St. Anthony Park Home in 2000, and Mary Anne Page visited him daily to keep him apprised of the goings-on at home.

"He had a great sense of humor, which persisted despite all his physical and medical problems at the end of his life," she said.

In addition to his wife, Page is survived by sons Christopher and Gregory, daughters Nora and Emily, and five grandchildren.

Services are pending.

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