Esther Rose Erwin loved. She loved teaching, she loved her friends and family, and she loved the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
Rose was recently inducted into the UNCC Alumni Hall of Fame posthumously. She received four degrees from the university, an associate’s in history in 1961, her bachelor’s in history in 1968, her master’s in elementary education in 1972, and an advanced certification in ’83.
While at UNCC, Rose served on the Student Council and Freshman Advisory Council, was a member of Sigma Tau Sigma, a national honor society, and was named the school’s most outstanding student in 1959 and ’60.
Martha Price is a longtime friend of Rose’s, who moved in with her and her family in ’59, because Rose’s parents didn’t want her going up to UNCC alone, and both women had two years of school left at that time.
“I came to live with them and became the adopted sister basically,” said Price.
Rose’s dedication to Charlotte College, at it was know then, was unequaled. She used her own car to help move the college to its new home, and even helped to clean out an old barn that was on campus.
She struck up a friendship with the founder of the university, Bonnie Cone, who encouraged her to become a teacher after graduation, a profession she would excel at.
“No doubt Miss Bonnie Cone was Rose’s mentor,” Price said. “From the very beginning she found Rose and told her that she should be a teacher and helped her to go in that direction and obtain that degree.”
Rose taught at Matthew Elementary for a quarter of a century, and continued that connection to UNCC, and many of her students are UNCC alumni.
“She was thoroughly adored by her students at Matthews Elementary School and she tutored youngsters in the Mint Hill area—I taught at Clear Creek Elementary and she taught at Matthews, and she tutored so many people and they will be ecstatic to know she was awarded this muchly deserved honor,” Price said.
Rose was dedicated to the university and its athletics, and was one of the most fervent 49er fans to ever watch a game, even when it was less than convenient to do so.
“I took her to all the basketball games and the functions out there in her wheelchair and she was just ecstatic to be among 49ers and the people she loved,” said Price.
Rose was a fixture at 49er basketball games and other sporting events, and her induction into the Alumni Hall of Fame is much deserved.
“That was one of the greatest days of my life to be able to see her inducted into the hall of fame into the university that she loved and cherished and that had given her her second chance at education, and she never forgot that,” Price said.
Rose was an integral part of UNCC, its beginning, and its people.
“My biggest regret was that we didn’t get her in there when she was here to enjoy it because she would have been ecstatic, she loved the 49ers and I took her after she got sick,” Price said. “I looked after her day and night seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I took her everywhere I went. She loved people and they loved her.”