Over a 31-year career at Kansas Newman College and Newman University, Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC has just about done it all. She has served as, among other things, history professor, academic dean, alumni director, campus ministry director, service learning director, study abroad director – even interim president and chief operating officer.While Rohrbach, now professor emerita of history and director of mission and archives, is pleased with her 31 years of service and achievement at Newman, she reached a milestone this year that is even more meaningful to her – 50 years as a professed Adorer of the Blood of Christ.
In her years as an ASC, Rohrbach has also covered a lot of ground. She has served as, among other things, delegate to the General Assembly in Rome, president of six ASC corporations and provincial coordinator in Wichita, director of ASC activities surrounding the canonization of St. Maria De Mattias, and chair or member of a long list of committees.
Yet as anyone who knows Rohrbach will tell you, she’s not only done it all, she’s given it her all.
“One of my goals has always been to live life to the fullest,” Rohrbach said. “I try to be as fully dedicated as I can, in all aspects of life.”
‘I don’t do things half way’
Rohrbach came to the Newman and ASC communities from her native Oklahoma, when some of her high school teachers who were ASCs recruited her to Sacred Heart College. While there, she decided to become an Adorer – despite a few doubts that lingered even after she entered the order in 1959.
“One girl left right before making her vows. She told me, ‘I’m not sure I’m supposed to be here,’” Rohrbach said. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m not sure I’m supposed to be here, either, but I’m staying until I know for sure.’ That’s just me – I don’t do things half way.”
Rohrbach had originally planned to follow her love and talent for natural science and math, but was persuaded by the ASC to be a teacher. In 1961, a few days shy of her 21st birthday, she professed her first vows. In 1962, she graduated from Sacred Heart with a degree in education.
Rohrbach taught in rural schools in Oklahoma and Kansas, and later earned a master’s degree in history from Creighton University. After a dozen years teaching all levels from K-12, she returned to Newman to teach history, and in 1976 earned her doctorate of philosophy in American Studies from St. Louis University.
‘How can I best be of service today?’
In addition to teaching and the wide variety of administrative positions at Newman, Rohrbach has worked as a fundraiser, led or participated in many studies and projects (including the 75th anniversary celebration of the founding of Newman University, and the beatification of John Henry Newman), created and launched academic and administrative programs, and served on even more committees.
And that’s not even counting her involvement in civic and religious organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Center of Hope and Catholic Charities.
Rohrbach said the source of her energy is a passion for teaching and a desire to give of herself.
“What’s most meaningful to me as an ASC is how to be of service,” she said. “I get up early in the morning and spend time in reflection and prayer asking, ‘How can I best be of service today?’”
Rohrbach’s desire to be of service has brought her many awards, including the Cardinal Newman Medal from the university and the Pro Ecclesea Et Pontiface Medal from Pope John Paul II for service to the local Church. These and other accolades, however, have not diminished her desire to continue doing what she does best – even on those days when she doesn’t feel that she has done her best.
“There are days that if I had a scorecard, I wouldn’t score very well. But I’m a very honest person. I have no problem saying I made a mistake and didn’t succeed. That’s OK. The thing is to learn from it and do better. You have to do the best you can.”
From the looks of things, you’re doing fine Sister Charlotte. Just fine.In honor of her service to the ASC and the university, Newman University has established the Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC Endowed Scholarship. To contribute, contact Tom Borrego at 316-942-4291, ext. 2163, or [email protected]