Ted Roche, PhD, ‘soul of the college of pharmacy’

Ted Roche, PhD

Ted Roche, PhD, reveled in serving as a mentor to generations of students at the UNMC College of Pharmacy during a 48-year career at the university. But it wasn’t just the students who looked up to him.

"Ted quickly became my most trusted and valuable mentor," said Jonathan Vennerstrom, PhD, professor at the college. "I was not alone. Many faculty leaned on him for advice and encouragement."

Dr. Vennerstrom continued: "Ted was in many ways the soul of our college."

Faculty member Yazen Alnouti, PhD, agreed: "Ted was the soul of the college of pharmacy, and I know that this is not only my view but also the view of everybody who had anything to do with the college, including faculty, staff, professional and graduate students, maintenance workers, environmental services, etc."


Visitation Monday, March 28, 5-7 p.m. at Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler Westside Chapel, 7805 West Center Road. Celebration of life Tuesday, March 29, at 10:30 a.m. at Heafey-Hoffmann-Dworak-Cutler, with a brief interment ceremony and luncheon to follow.

Dr. Roche, who in retirement took seriously his role as professor emeritus and dedicated more than 50 years of his life to his beloved College of Pharmacy, died Sunday. He was 83.

"We have lost a friend and colleague," said Dean Keith Olsen, PharmD.

Dr. Olsen added: "Ted has impacted students, faculty, staff and the UNMC community in countless ways."

Dr. Roche earned a bushel of awards for his work – he was even named an honorary alumnus by the UNMC Alumni Association.

But the biggest accolade was: "He truly made a positive impact on everyone he touched," said Tom O’Connor, retired longtime UNMC public relations professional.

Said Dr. Alnouti, "Anywhere I went nationwide, for conferences or events, people familiar with UNMC would always ask if I know Ted Roche."

His wife, Victoria Roche, PhD, said, "He made a million friends."

He had a special place in his heart for UNMC’s pharmacy students, many of whom later came to be counted among those million friends. In recent months, Drs. Ted and Victoria Roche were delighted to find former students serving on his care team.

Reconnecting with Dr. Roche in this manner was an honor, said Andrew Bendlin, PharmD.

"Those days were so rewarding because you could tell how much he loved taking those calls," Dr. Bendlin said.

Dr. Roche contracted polio at age 14, and "he routinely said that 14 was the ideal age to face polio because young people always felt invincible," Dr. Victoria Roche wrote in her husband's obituary. He kept that spirit throughout his life, she said.

Dr. Roche’s many roles at UNMC included award-winning teacher of medicinal chemistry, longtime associate dean for academic affairs and dedicated faculty advisor to the Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.


  1. shook, bobbi says:

    I really liked Dr. Roche. I had a few conversations with him over the years when helping him with parking issues from time to time. He was always a patient man even when someone had parked in his parking spot.

  2. John Walburn MD says:

    Clearly among the top teachers, mentors and role models in my education from grade school through medical school.
    John Walburn, BS Pharmacy UNL 1969, MD UNMC 1973

  3. Carmen N Sirizzotti says:

    Dr. Roche's courage, compassion, empathy, leadership, dedication, fortitude and generosity will always be remembered. Condolences to family and friends.

  4. Lisa Spellman says:

    Dr. Ted Roche was much beloved among the Native American community for his compassion, stalwart support and kindness. He will be greatly missed.

  5. Amy Pick says:

    I find it difficult to write this as Ted had a tremendous impact on my career in pharmacy. I often say Dr. Roche sold me, a wandering senior biochemistry major, on the profession. He was an outstanding educator, remarkable mentor, and a brilliant medicinal chemist. However, it was his genuine love for others that made him uniquely Ted. After a few minutes with Ted, you would quickly realize how worldly he was. We shared a love for music and our conversations often involved reminiscing about playing the clarinet and French horn. He couldn’t help but talk about his involvement in local theatre productions. His impact goes well beyond the walls of UNMC and the pharmacy profession. Thank you, Ted, for sharing your gifts and talents with us. We will miss you.

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