Joel Rodney Profile Photo
1937 Joel 2024

Joel Rodney

November 9, 1937 — February 15, 2024

Huntingdon Valley, PA

 

**In Loving Memory of Dr. Joel M. Rodney**

(November 9, 1937 – February 15, 2024)


Dr. Joel M. Rodney, beloved husband, father, grandfather, educator, mentor, and friend, passed away on February 15, 2024, after a brief illness. He was 86 years old.


Born on November 9, 1937, in Brooklyn, NY, to parents Samuel Seymour and Jennie (née Loorya), Joel’s brilliance as a scholar and academic leader, paired with his relentless dedication, sharp sense of humor, and kindness, left an indelible mark on all who knew him. His love of fun and adventure was similarly unforgettable. 


Dr. Rodney’s 60-year academic career spanned 10 universities across four continents. His legacy includes implementing numerous new programs, extensive fundraising for faculty development, scholarships, and buildings, and creating alliances both with local school districts and international universities, particularly in India. His work enabled many thousands and thousands of first generation college students of all ages to access higher education


Joel earned his BA in History, cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1959 and a Ph.D. in the History of England from Cornell University in 1965. He began his career teaching at Washington State University in the 1960’s, and later served as Professor of History and Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Washington County from 1990 to 2003 and as CEO and then Chancellor of Penn State York from 2003 until his retirement in 2011. He subsequently served as a professor, Dean, and then Dean Emeritus at Apeejay Stya University in India, where he was also a member of the International Advisory Board.


In 1971, he was awarded a ‘Summer Fulbright’ grant to India and was involved in Indian/US joint ventures with Elmira and Rockford Colleges as well as with the University of Wisconsin and Penn State. He was the founding editor of the journal, ALBION, and a published scholar in the field of British Studies.


Community involvement was a hallmark of Dr. Rodney’s life. He was engaged with numerous organizations and helped end the practice of redlining in West Bend, WI. A member of the disabled community, he was active in advocacy for disability rights. 


Joel was also an afficiando for bagpipe music and a connoisseur of cuisines from around the world, earning him the affectionate moniker “Mr. Food.” 


He will be deeply missed by his wife of 29 years, Judy, as well as by his sons, Adam, Ben, and Jon, and grandsons Kyle and Eric. His legacy of strength, resilience, and love will continue to inspire those who knew him worldwide.


As we mourn the loss of Joel. Rodney, we celebrate the life he lived and the countless memories he created. His spirit will forever live on in the hearts of those who loved him. An online memorial service to honor and remember him will be held at a future date. 


In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations be made to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in memory of Dr. Rodney.

וּצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתוֹ

 …and bind this soul in the bond of life.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joel Rodney, please visit our flower store.

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