Milton L. Rock 

The arc of Milton L. Rock’s life reads like the epic version of the archetypal Temple story: Local boy goes to Temple. Boy works hard. Boy succeeds and leaves his mark on the world. Boy then gives back to his school and his city, enriching them for all of us.

Rock was born and raised in North Philadelphia’s Logan neighborhood. Like many of his peers, he went to Temple. And, like many, he went there for one reason.

“Temple was the only college I could afford,” said Rock. “It was considered the place where immigrant children went to raise yourself up in society and get a better job.”

At Temple, he majored in psychology and met his first wife, Shirley Rock (née Cylinder). They married and graduated in 1943.

Within six years of earning his bachelor’s degree, Rock had served in the Air Force, earned a master’s degree (from Temple) and a Ph.D. (from the University of Rochester) in psychology, and joined the firm later known as the Hay Group, a Center City human resources consulting practice that Rock would help grow into one of the largest of its kind.

Rock became a prolific author and editor, producing some of the most influential publications in the field of management consulting, including The Mergers & Acquisitions Handbook (1st ed., 1987), a publication still widely used.

By the time Rock left the Hay Group in 1986, it had 100 offices in 27 countries.

Although Rock is still a business leader — he’s chairman of MLR Holdings, LLC, an investment holding company — most Philadelphians know the Rock name for the family’s philanthropy, particularly their contributions to the arts, from the Pennsylvania Ballet (home to the Rock School for Dance Education) to the Curtis Institute of Music (home to the Milton L. Rock Resource Center).

Yet few institutions have been transformed by the Rocks’ generosity more than Temple. In 1994, the Rock name became a permanent part of Main Campus when Rock Hall, the Boyer College of Music and Dance’s extraordinary learning and performance space, was dedicated in recognition of the family’s support.

Rock’s contributions to Temple as a donor and as a trustee are guided by his gratitude for the University’s role in giving him his professional start, and by his determination to improve North Philadelphia.

“Temple is still a place where people of low financial means can get an education,” Rock said. “And it can help regenerate North Philadelphia by encouraging development. We have to show that you can create a better living environment and a large job center. I’m sure it can happen.”

- By Hillel J. Hoffmann

© 2005 Temple Times