“Hey Hey My My Rock and Roll Can Never Die.” These words held a lot of truth for one man in particular, UWM’s Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum. An astute poet, musician, and multifaceted scholar, Dr. Rosenblum became part of the UWM community in 1970. For 44 years Dr. Rosenblum not only made special connections with his fellow faculty members but with students by the thousands; he was well respected and greatly loved. Within his time at UWM Dr. Rosenblum, also known as “The Holy Ranger,” founded the only Rock and Roll Certification Program in higher education in the fall of 2010, giving students the opportunity to gain in-depth perspectives on vernacular styles of music throughout our American history. The program provides an education on social and cultural influences surrounding rock and roll music, helping students to understand and appreciate its many dimensions. Examples of the classes offered within the program include American Popular Music, Literary Aspects of Rock & Roll, Folk Music and Contemporary Culture and many more.
With great sadness Dr. Rosenblum, aged 67, passed away in his sleep January 11 of this year, survived by his wife Maureen of 44 years and his two talented daughters Sarah and Molly Rosenblum. Deeply affected by this news, I personally could not help to reflect on how this man is nothing but an inspiration to me on so many levels. After taking classes every semester since freshman year with Dr. Rosenblum, I not only learned about Rock and Roll music(s) but I learned through his actions of hard-work, dedication and sheer grace how to infuse ones’ passion with a resilient work ethic. He had a beautiful gift of seeing someone’s passion, harnessing it and helping us to find it within ourselves. A fellow UWM Rock and Roll Certificate student Jessicka Raygun could not agree more. She believes, “Dr. Rosenblum encouraged students to find a direction and run with it. He helped provide academic as well as life guidance because sometimes it is hard to trust yourself and your goals, when to others they may seem silly or lofty.” With heavy hearts we said goodbye to our professor, our mentor and our friend, although with what he gave us he will never be gone.
In respect to Dr. Rosenblum, Jessicka and I are having a charity concert to honor him and his legacy. With talented local artists like Joshua Lane, The Grasping At Straws and The City Pines graciously coming in to perform, and all of the donations gathered going directly to Dr. Rosenblum’s charity The Red Guitar Foundation, it will indeed be a great time. Save the date: April 17 at 12:30 to 1:30, Spaights Plaza here at UWM. Come support American vernacular music and help keep Dr. Rosenblum’s visions alive and well.