The Hanover College community mourns the passing of Robert James Rosenthal, professor emeritus of philosophy. He died Feb. 26, 2021, in Hanover, Ind.
Rosenthal, 82, served as a member of Hanover’s faculty for 47 years before retiring in 2014. He has the second-longest tenure of any faculty member in school history, surpassed by only Joshua Garritt, a Greek professor from 1856-1906.
He was born March 31, 1938, in Hartford, Wis. He earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Olaf College in 1959 and a doctoral degree at the University of Maryland in 1968.
Rosenthal began his tenure at Hanover in 1967 after three years as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (1964-66). His areas of specialization included the philosophy of art, philosophy of religion, environmental philosophy and intentional communities.
He developed many courses, including “Concepts of Love,” and led generations of Hanoverians into field study of the “simple life” during his spring term course, "Utopias and Intentional Communities.” That popular course, which studied monasteries, communes and Amish societies, also examined the lives of celebrated local artist and writer Harlan Hubbard and his wife, Anna.
Rosenthal served as a founding member of The Friends of the Hubbards and coordinated two campus conferences to share and explore their way of life. He was also a founding member of the Communal Studies Association.
He was preceded in death by his father, Armand Rosenthal, and his mother, Virginia Rosenthal.
Rosenthal is survived by his wife of 39 years, Vicki Jenkins, former associate professor of philosophy at Hanover; daughter, Sonya Rousseau and her husband, Nathan; brothers Donald, David and Thomas Rosenthal; sisters Beverly Larrson, Karen Meyer, Jean Johannes and her husband, Jim, and Janet Butterbrodt and her husband, John; grandson, Malcolm; and several nieces and nephews.
A remembrance of life ceremony will be celebrated later this spring. Memorial contributions may be made to Hanover College, The Foundation for Intentional Community or Thai Street Paws Rescue.