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A tribute to former UW-Washington Co. Dean Joel Rodney | By Prof. Larry Gomez

February 21, 2024 – Washington Co., WI – Former UW-Washington County Dean Joel Rodney has died. Rodney, 86, of Huntingdon Valley, PA died February 15, 2024, at his residence.  Rodney served as Chief Executive Officer, dean, at the University of Wisconsin Center-Washington County, West Bend, for 13 years from April 1990 – March 2003.
Photo courtesy Penn State York

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Below is a tribute written by Professor Larry Gomez.

Dean Emeritus Joel Rodney
UW-Washington County

Joel Rodney, the former Dean at UW-Washington County passed away on February 15, 2024, at his residence in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

Dr. Rodney was an astute Dean, historian, and an individual with superb personality. His accomplishments as a Dean of UW-Washington Campus (1990-2003) are exemplary.

• He was a visionary. He looked beyond the curriculum and program that was in place when he came to West Bend. He initiated and completed the construction of Science and Engineering wing of the campus with private donation and county funding.

• He believed in applied education. He started the nursing program in collaboration with UWM School of Nursing.

• Dean Rodney was innovative and business- oriented. He paved the way to offer an undergraduate collaborative business degree with Lubar School of Business at UWM.

• Dean Rodney had also passion for international education. During his tenure at UW-WC, he crafted a program in association with an Institute in India through which the students would come to our Campus for two years, and then move on to UWM to complete their undergraduate degree.

• Dr. Rodney was an active member of West Bend Rotary Club, highlighting the contribution of UW-WC to the Washington County economy, and soliciting scholarships for our students.

• Dean Rodney was a community builder who understood the need for a wide community support for the growth and vitality of UW-Washington County Campus. I remember the Annual New Year’s Day Gathering at their residence in West Bend where he and his wife Judith used to invite the faculty/staff, Mayor of West Bend, West Bend School Counselors, and local business leaders.

Dr. Rodney’s desire to advance the cause of teaching and scholarship took him to the Penn State University, York, in 2003. He retired from York Campus in 2011.

He will be missed by the academic community. May his soul rest in peace. Let us keep his wife, Judith and other family members in our prayers.

Note: These few words in honor of Joel are just from my memory and having the opportunity working with him.

Click HERE for the obituary notice.



  1. Joel Rodney was the Dean at UW-Washington County when I was first elected to the state legislature. He was the best-be it at the social gatherings at his house with Judy or our during visits on the campus. He was always an innovative thinker. And such an advocate for the two year campuses. There is no doubt in my mind that if Joel were still in Wisconsin our campus would remain.

    I’ve met many administrators in my career and Joel was the best by a mile. Glenn Grothman

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