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Memories & Candles

“To Mrs. Rodman and family, I'm so sorry to learn of the death of Dr. Rodman. He was one of my favorite professors at Mount during the 1972-1976...Read More »
1 of 12 | Posted by: Marcia Burr Hopkins - OH

“I never had Dr. Rodman for a class - I wasn't that lucky, as first a pre-med and then a Psych/Music major. I never did make it to the physics courses...Read More »
2 of 12 | Posted by: Mary Wilson - Akron, OH

“Dr. Rodman was always an imposing figure, larger than life in many respects. But his size was never intimidating for he always had a smile and time...Read More »
3 of 12 | Posted by: David Falk - New Albany, OH

“Dr. Rodman was such a wonderful professor and such a giving man. I majored in English, but made it a point to take classes in every discipline...Read More »
4 of 12 | Posted by: Sue (Urbanowicz) Rilley - OH

“The DoctorOnce upon a midnight dreary, while we pondered, weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious problem from the Mechanics test;While we...Read More »
5 of 12 | Posted by: Lieutenant Colonel Neil Garra, US Army, Retired - AZ

“Jim Rodman was bigger than life. He commanded your respect. Robin and I kept in touch with him for years after we graduated, and I don't think I...Read More »
6 of 12 | Posted by: David and Robin Gill - Canton, OH

“I was a student of Dr. Rodman in the tempestuous times from 1968-72. Dr. Rodman's good humor and high standards inspired me as a chemistry major to...Read More »
7 of 12 | Posted by: Priscilla Bell - Whittier, CA

“I first met Jim Rodman when I came to Mount Union in 1982 to join the Physics and Astronomy Department. Jim was my mentor and guide as I perfected my...Read More »
8 of 12 | Posted by: Peter Lucke - Alliance, OH

“My condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Rodman, he was a great teacher and inspired my career in Physics, he will be greatly missed. Dr....Read More »
9 of 12 | Posted by: Nick Solomey - Wichita, KS

“Jim was one of my mentors when I first started at Mount. I will not forget him. Our condolences to the extended Rodman family. ”
10 of 12 | Posted by: Leonard & Gretchen Epp - Alliance, OH

“Dr. Rodman was an amazing teacher, mentor, humanitarian and man. He was one of a few professors that completely defined Mount Union for the years I...Read More »
11 of 12 | Posted by: Dave Toot - Wellsville, NY

“What a wonderful teacher he was! I fondly remember participating in the explosives lectures, and coming within a few points of winning $10 from him...Read More »
12 of 12 | Posted by: Susan Woerner Barr


Dr. James P. Rodman, 88, lifetime resident of Alliance, Ohio passed away at 2:30am Friday morning January 2, 2015 at the Sterling House of Alliance with his son Jeff at his side ending his long struggle with Alzheimer's disease.
He was a man of many talents – engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, community volunteer, teacher, scientist, musician, designer, philanthropist – generous with a big heart but a family man first.
Born November 11, 1926 at 1305 Parkway Blvd. in Alliance to C.J. "Bill" and Hazel (Purcell) Rodman, he grew up with his brother Bob in Alliance at 1629 Overlook Drive. He had a retired polo pony "Eureka" stabled out back on which, when not riding, he would enjoy lying on his back while reading a book. He and Bob used short cuts across the roof to access their second floor bedrooms on many stealth excursions. As they expanded their interests in science, mysterious happenings such as a burst of flames across Overlook, foul odors from chemistry experiments, or the appearance of local wildlife on neighbor's steps were not uncommon.
As a teen, Dr. Rodman worked summer mornings at Alliance Machine Company (owned and run by his grandfather who was an engineer) then he headed to the train yards where he flagged in freight trains passing through the Alliance junction. For two summers, he and Bob traveled by train to a working ranch in Colorado where they were regular hands involved in all parts of running a ranch – shoeing, branding, herding, repairing fences and equipment, and learning cowboy songs.
He graduated from Western Reserve Academy in 1944 after which his entire graduating class enlisted for military service. He received an honorable discharge as the war's end. Dr. Rodman graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Physics from Mount Union in 1949 with a rare triple major in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry, and minors in Spanish and History.
He then went on to capture the greatest prize of his life, the heart of his college sweetheart, then Margaret Kinsey of Alliance (M.U.C. '51), whom he managed to convince to marry him in 1950 even after showing up to many dates in a vintage army truck.
They moved to St. Louis where he went on to receive his master's degree from Washington University in St. Louis in Experimental Nuclear Physics in 1951. They moved back to Alliance where he joined the Mount Union physics department in '51 as an assistant professor, and they started their family. There he worked until late 1959 when he was granted a leave of absence to pursue his PhD. at Yale. By that time the family had grown to include four children: Bill, Jeff, David and Gretchen. They bundled up the brood and headed off to Branford CT., for three years while Dr. Rodman earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in Astrophysics in 1963. While at Yale, he constructed a 20-inch reflector telescope with a memory circuit and equipment for studying radio emissions from the planet Jupiter, and he packed up his young family for a cross country trip to live in Tucson, AZ for several months while he conducted research at the nearby Kitt Peak National Observatory.
He returned to Mount Union to take over as head of the physics department from his mentor Dr. Forest "Frosty" Scheolenberger in 1962 where he taught his popular introduction to physics classes as well as advanced topics in optics, mechanics, and astrophysics. He loved to teach and he loved his students, taking great pride in their accomplishments. He taught for 30 more years, while taking only one sabbatical until his retirement in 1993. Even then, continued to serve the College as Staff Astronomer.
Dr. Rodman's generosity and creative genius extended well beyond the classroom of his cherished Alma Mater, Mount Union College as it was known during his days there. His broader contributions to the College included:
• Eight years of full-time service as Asst. Professor of Physics starting in '51 until taking a leave of absence to pursue his PhD. at Yale in '59. His time was fully donated and measured in the tens of thousands of hours.
• The Rodman Theater stage lighting system which he designed, wired, and installed with his lifelong friend Bill Bowman (MUC '56)
• The Clarke Observatory where at its original location he rebuilt and refurbished the original telescope and designed and installed the planetarium there.
• The Clarke Observatory when it was moved to adjoin East Hall where he designed the structure, oversaw its construction, moved the dome, personally wired the building and installed the telescope and planetarium.
• The Rodman Observatory formerly located atop Wilson Hall, now atop the Alliance High School, which he designed, underwrote and personally constructed with assistance from his good friend Judge R.R. "Denny" Clunk.
• Establishing FM radio station WRMU which he conceived, designed, built from war surplus, and operated the entire radio transmission system with his friend and colleague Sam Shimp, and of which he served as Director of Engineering for many years. He also designed and personally wired WRMU's original 200' transmission tower.
• Outfitting the M.U.C. Physics Lab where he designed and installed the central power source and distribution facility saving the College tens of thousands of dollars. He located and creatively outfitted it with war surplus devices rendering it an unusually complete and capable lab otherwise unaffordable to the College.
• Establishing the 1st M.U.C. Computer Center which he founded, engineered and ran for years within the M.U.C. Dept. of Physics.
• Creating the Rodman Lodge Observing Complex which he designed, built, and leased to the College at far below cost. M.U.C. students were the prime users of the facility where they could carry out their observations with high quality equipment free of scattered light from the city.
• Kicking off the Campus Walkways Lighting Initiative by personally installing the first lights to light several Campus walkways.
• The popular Eckler Garden which he conceived, designed, implemented and underwrote in honor of honored M.U.C. English professors "Mom" and "Pop" Eckler.
• The Chapman Hall Cloister which he conceived, designed, donated, and personally constructed.
• Public Lectures on Astronomy and Explosives staged to the delight

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