The community is invited to celebrate the late Rita Bornstein on Monday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. in Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College Campus. Friends, colleagues, and family will honor her life and achievements, which include 14 years as the College’s 13th president.
Bornstein was the first woman to hold the title of Rollins College President, strengthening its economic outlook, community relationships, and academic standards during her tenure, which lasted from 1990 to 2004. Her efforts to increase endowments led to the Campaign for Rollins fundraiser, bringing in $160.2 million that aided academic support and funded new construction and renovations to existing facilities. Under her leadership, Rollins’ ranking in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” rose from a regional number six ranking to a statewide rank of number one.
She was also a fierce supporter of Title IX – the federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination in schools – and worked to secure federal funding for a regional assistance center to aid schools in its implementation. After retirement, Bornstein continued to serve the community as a Board member of Winter Park Health Foundation, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and the Parkinson Association for Central Florida. In 2002, she donated $100,000 to support the digitization of analog materials in the Rollins College archives.
Bornstein had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002 and passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 9. She is survived by her children, Rachel Setear and Mark Bornstein; beloved granddaughters, Ariel and Hayley Setear; stepson and daughter-in-law, Per Bloland and Anne Roma, and their children, Signe and Ezio; and brother, Arnold Kropf, and his wife, Dee.
The January 29 service will be live-streamed on Rollins’ Office of the President website for those who cannot attend in person. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in her honor be made to Rollins College , the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida, or the Parkinson Association of Central Florida.