IN MEMORIAM: Karen Roth, Chuck Fadley, Walter Robinson

Quick Summary

  • Roth was a leader in the diversity education program and Campus Community Book Project
  • Charles “Chuck” Fadley, distinguished professor emeritus of physics, pioneer in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Campus memorial scheduled Oct. 8 for Walter Robinson, retired associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management

Karen Roth, instrumental in the development of diversity education, the Campus Community Book Project and the Principles of Community, died Aug. 6 of endometrial cancer at her home in Sisters, Oregon. She was 63.

She left UC Davis in 2006 and taught part-time at Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend until 2008 when she became the director of diversity and inclusion in 2008 at Central Oregon Community College, also in Bend, a post she held until retiring last year.

She started her career at UC Davis in 1987 as the assistant director of residential life in Student Housing, where she helped create the Student Housing Commitment Statement — a statement that formed the basis for the Principles of Community. 

Karen Roth mugshot

She subsequently moved to the provost’s office and Office of Campus Community Relations as the coordinator of diversity education. She trained a cadre of trainers across the campus, including Mikael Villalobos, who succeeded her at the helm of diversity education.

“I would not have the honor in serving the university in this capacity without her early guidance in my development as a diversity educator,” Villalobos said. “She was not only my mentor, but my friend.”

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Roth spearheaded the Campus Community Book Project, designed to promote dialogue and build community by encouraging faculty, staff, students and the wider community to read the same book and attend related events. The project continues to this day, having featured books on such subjects as conflict resolution (Gandhi’s Way), the harrowing immigration route known as The Devil’s Highway, and race (Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?).

She devoted much of her career to engaging people in ongoing learning around diversity and social justice. She was a teacher of future teachers, in a class on multicultural issues in education, for students in the Early Childhood Education program at Central Oregon Community College and the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Oregon State University-Cascades.

Roth, a native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, was a master gardener who helped others with their gardening, through Oregon State University Extension Service, and she taught reiki, an ancient Japanese form of hands-on healing.

She is survived by her spouse, Chris Rubio; daughter, Jennie Konsella-Norene of Woodland (who serves as assistant director of global professional programs in UC Davis Global Affairs); mother, Sally Roth of Viroqua, Wisconsin; sister and brother, Janet Vesbach and Gary Roth, both of Ohio; and three grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, Roth requested donations to the St. Charles Cancer Center, specifically Integrative Therapies or to St. Charles Hospice.

A celebration of life will be held Sept. 21 in Bend.

Charles ‘Chuck’ Fadley

Charles “Chuck” Fadley, distinguished professor emeritus of physics who was a pioneer in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, died Aug. 1 at his home in Berkeley. He was 77.

Charles "Chuck" Fadley mugshot

“Chuck was truly a giant in the world of photoemission and surface science,” said Professor Shirley Chiang, one of his departmental colleagues. “His impact on the field will long be felt not only through his scientific discoveries but also through the many students and postdocs who worked with him and have continued to work in the field themselves.

“For decades, he came regularly to Davis to teach, meet with students and serve on committees here, while also supervising his research group at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He will be very much missed by his friends and colleagues in the department.”

Fadley received many national and international honors for his work, including fellowships in the American Physical Society, American Vacuum Society, Institute of Physics, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Uppsala University Royal Society of Science and Surface Science Society of Japan.

Read the complete obituary by Becky Oskin on the College of Letters and Science website.

Walter Robinson

Save the date, Tuesday, Oct. 8, for a campus memorial for Walter Robinson, the retired associate vice chancellor of Enrollment Management who died June 9. Because it was late in the academic year, as finals and commencement approached, his friends and colleagues decided to delay the memorial until the fall.

The memorial will begin at 2 p.m. in The Pavilion at the ARC. Sign up here to receive an email invitation with an RSVP link, to be sent at a later date.

Read his obituary in Dateline UC Davis.

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