NACD Remembers Roger W. Raber

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Dr. Roger W. Raber

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) mourns the loss of our past president Dr. Roger W. Raber, who died peacefully at home on the evening of October 10, 2017, after a long and valiant struggle against an illness. No mere summary can express the value he brought NACD, the nation, and the world. The details of his extraordinary life of service can be found in his obituary notice below, and members can read more about his dedication to NACD here.

Peter Gleason

President & CEO, NACD


Dr. Roger W. Raber

November 28, 1942 – October 10, 2017

Dr. Roger W. Raber, whose advocacy work helped to usher in the modern era of corporate governance, died peacefully at his home in Washington, DC, on October 10th. He was 74. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Raber was born in Jamaica, New York. After attending Saint Anthony College in New Hampshire, he received a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Theology and Religious Education from Manhattan College. He later received an MA and doctorate in Administration in Higher Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.

From an early interest in theology, his career evolved from educational administration to professional education, this latter area focused at first in banking and later in corporate governance.

Dr. Raber served as director of admissions at the City University of New York in the early 1970s, and as Deputy Provost at the College at Old Westbury, State University of New York, later that decade. In 1980, he became director of education for the National Association of Mutual Savings Banks in New York City, and for the next two decades he would apply his educational expertise in the banking field, moving on to become an executive vice president of the National Council of Community Bankers; president and CEO of the Center for Financial Studies in Connecticut; and managing director, member services, at America’s Community Bankers. While living in Connecticut he chaired the Weston School District, elected by the residents to restore the integrity of the school system following several crises. During the 1980s he served as a director of Starpointe Savings Bank, staying on the board while it integrated into Dime Savings of New York.

In 1999, he began his service as president and CEO of the National Association of Corporate Directors, serving for the next seven years in this capacity, where he built an organization that was strong both financially and culturally.

In his role as CEO, he responded at a personal level to NACD members affected by the tragedy of September 11, 2001, strengthened by his faith. His ability to steer through crisis would be tested at the national level soon thereafter following the December 2001 bankruptcy of Enron, when he testified on the nature of good governance to Congress. His remarks were influential in determining the governance standards later set by the major stock exchanges.

During his tenure at NACD, paid membership grew from 1,800 to 10,000. He developed educational partnerships with a variety of organizations, including Dartmouth College, University of Southern California, Rice University, Duke University, and University of Georgia and created relationships with Association of Corporate Counsels, Financial Executives International, National Investor Relations Institute, America’s Community Banks, Executive Leadership Council, World Bank/IFC) and several governance institutes in Asia, Central Europe, and Latin America. He also established strategic alliances with several leading professional Institutional Shareholder Services, the Nasdaq Stock Market, New York Stock Exchange, major D&O insurers, and leading professional service providers.

Dr. Raber had a special love for the nonprofit sector. He formed a Not-for-Profit Council at NACD, and conducted the first surveys of nonprofit governance. And although he presented boardroom education programs to many of the nation’s largest public companies, his most treasured assignment was his work with the board of the American Red Cross.

He practiced what he preached about governance, ensuring that NACD would have an independent and diverse board and strong bench strength. Many of the employees he mentored are still with NACD, including its current leader. Thus the Raber legacy lives on.

During his years at NACD and after retirement, he served in many advisory roles. He was a member of the board of overseers of Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Program at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and an advisory board member at the University of Delaware, Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance. He also served on the board of Washington Campus, a nonprofit facilitating a better understanding of government. His three professional engagements in the NACD years included service as an advisory board member to CFM Partners in Washington, DC (banking education), James F. Reda & Associates in New York and Atlanta, a compensation practice (now part of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.), and the Project Management Institute.

In 2007, after stepping down from NACD leadership to serve as a senior advisor to the organization, he continued some of his advisory roles. In 2010, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and faced the disease with all the energy and good cheer he had given his life’s earlier missions. He agreed to participate in two clinical studies at the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center. During these seven years as he came to terms with the disease, he continued his volunteer work with the West End Library, as well as So Others Might Eat, and Miriam’s Kitchen, two social service programs for the homeless population in Washington, DC. Always a family man, his final years were full of joy as his beloved children themselves became parents. His last gift of many to humanity was the donation of his brain to Georgetown University Medical Center for further research with Alzheimer’s disease.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dr. Marie Raber, Associate Dean of the School of Social Work at Catholic University; their son Commander Roger W. Raber, Jr., U.S.N., his wife Heather, and their two sons, Jack and Elliot; as well as their daughter, Robyn Borgelt, her husband Nate, and their children Anna and William.

A funeral Mass will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown on October 21, 2017, at 10:30 A.M.. There will be a one-day wake at De Vol Funeral Home the day before from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., and from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Georgetown University, Attn: Memory Disorders Program, Bldg. D, Suite 177, 4000 Reservoir Rd., NW, Washington DC, 20057.


  • Tom Regan says:

    Roger and Marie were such a help to me in time of need. He did my first resume; I could barely recognize myself in that impressive document. He got me a job with his old boss at LaGuardia College in Queens. I am and will always be grateful. More than friends we are brothers. Oremus pro invicem.

  • Fr. Joe Flynn, OFM Cap. says:

    Roger Raber enhanced the life of everyone who crossed his path because he was a man of compassion and love. I will miss him dearly because I considered him the brother I never had. But fortunately we walked life together for a long time.

  • I never got to meet Roger, but his passion, commitment, and integrity continue to touch the halls of NACD and everything we do. We stand on his shoulders.

  • Peter Kaseta, OFM Cap. says:

    Sincere and prayerful condolences to Marie and family.Roger was one of a kind.May he rest in peace.

  • Andy Moran says:

    My sympathy to Roger’s family, and to the NACD. An amazing person
    has passed but his legacy will continue.
    Till we meet again…

  • Tom Wilt says:

    Marie, our prayers and thoughts go out to you, your children and family.
    During our time in Glenclyffe, Hudson and Theology, Roger was a caring,
    fun loving friend to all. We celebrate a life well lived that impacted so many people.Tom

  • You leave us with many good memories from our days at Glenclyffe and afterwards, Roger. Peace and blessings upon you as you move from End of Life here on Earth to new life in the World Beyond. Pax Tecum, Frater

  • Am so sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. Was at Glenclyffe and St. Anthony’s. I hear his name and remember those bright eyes and smile. My only regret is that I did not know that he was in Washington where I have been since coming to Georgetown in 1993.
    From God we come; to Him we return.
    John Esposito

  • EdwardReilly says:

    Sorry to hear about Roger. He was two years ahead of me at Glenclyffe. A genuinely good person.
    Condolences to his wife and family.

  • Philip Armstrong says:

    My heartfelt condolences to Roger’s family and the NACD. He was an indomitable force for good and always undertaken with deep sincerity and conviction. He will be missed.

  • Rev. J.O. "Pete" Wright says:

    Sad to hear this. I went to college and grad school with Roger. Always a gentle, humble soul who possessed a great intellect and used it to benefit so many during his life. He left his legacy, which I’m sure will continue through his wonderful family.

  • Ralph Chiocco says:

    A personal friend and confrere.

  • Jerry Hayes says:

    I have had no contact with Roger since Glenclyffe and St. Anthony’s, but, as I read his obituary, I am so impressed by what an outstanding and productive career he had. Of equal importance, I gather, was his devotion to his family, to whom I offer my sincere condolences.

  • Mary Beth Vitale says:

    Roger was our first speaker when the Colorado Chapter was formed. I remember his poise, thoughtfulness and passion for all things governance. He will be missed.

  • Carlos C. Campbell says:

    My sincere condolences to Roger’s widow, family and friends. Roger led NACD with integrity, passion and commitment. He set the standard for NACD members to follow.

    Carlos C. Campbell

  • Jack Moore says:

    I will always be grateful for the opportunity and support Roger provided for me to develop programmng specifically designed for family-owned business. He was at once a no-nonsense and compassionate mentor. Through NACD and by his guidance, I was able to enjoy several productive years of study and service to the family business community. His passing saddens me greatly..

  • Roger Kenny says:

    Roger was responsible for giving the NACD the future it has had. He was untiring in his
    efforts to make it succeed. Roger was the right person at the right time. Nobody could not
    like this Gentle Giant. For example, he was tireless in helping to make the local Chapters
    succeed. We loved him in New York. We couldn’t get enough of his time and we will never
    forget him.

  • Bob Howell says:

    Roger Raber was truly a shining light for corporate governance. We first met when he brought an NACD Director Training Program to Tuck at Dartmouth in 2003, where I was teaching. He encouraged me to get involved with NACD, which I have done ever since. The vision he had, the energy he demonstrated, and the personal touch he deployed set the foundation for NACD’s extraordinary growth and huge impact on corporate governance since his tenure as president.He will be missed and surely remembered.

  • Bob Rollo says:

    Roger’s wise and guiding hand in introducing ‘change for the good of the organization’ was the basis for the solid foundation of today’s thriving NACD. He even allowed some of our Southern California Chapter’s innovative ideas to creep into the ‘main stream’ of the organization. Roger was special and made those he touched become better people. God bless his family and the wonderful memories he has left them.

  • I was so fortunate to know this beloved gentleman during the years when his loving daughter and my son met and eventually married. They now have two darling children who are being raised as Roger would have wanted. Although I and my husband are aware of his many accomplishments to see them all is not only so impressive but additionally is testimony to his intelligence and his abilities to bring diverse groups of professionals and concerned individuals together. His dedication will be sorely missed

  • Allen Bettis says:

    As NACD President, Roger displayed a remarkable ability to remember names and faces. When our membership was only 1,000, he determined to be able to recognize and greet every member by name at meetings and conferences. It was an expression of his love for our association. What a valiant struggle he must have had with this illness. I will always be grateful for his support for our NACD Minnesota Chapter.

  • My condolences to the family and NACD, his legacy lives on!