About Rothermel

The Rothermel Foundation was originally funded by a bequest from Amel Rothermel of New Bern. The endowment is administered as a fund of First Presbyterian Church of New Bern.  The Foundation is governed by an ecumenical Board of Trustees, appointed by the Session of First Presbyterian Church in consultation with the ministers of congregations represented on the Board.  Contributions to the endowment are accepted from the public.

The Rothermel Foundation brings to New Bern, typically twice each year in Spring and Fall, speakers of eminent reputation or accomplishment, or both, to speak on issues of interest or concern to people of faith, including science, ethics, religion, the arts, and cultural issues. Videos of Rothermel lectures are available on the website and on YouTube.

M I S S I O N of the  R O T H E R M E L  F O U N D A T I O N

Amid changing societal mores and advances in scientific knowledge, the mission of the Rothermel Foundation is to stimulate thinking and discussion about the diverse aspects of the part played by a Supreme Being: in the formation of the universe, in the development of life on earth, and in demonstration of the infinite love He has for humanity and for its continuing existence. To further this mission, the Foundation engages persons who are leading experts in fields such as physical or biological sciences, medicine, humanities, theology and religion to present lectures that are open and free to the public.


When Amel Rothermel married the former Josephine Nash, their engagement was announced in Cholly Knickerbocker’s society column The Smart Set, in the New York Journal-American, December 1959:

Mrs. Herbert G. Nash, elegant prexy of the Women’s National Republican Club, soon will announce her engagement to Amel Rothermel, her long-playing beau….

The couple was married in Marble Collegiate Church (founded 1628) by Senior Pastor Norman Vincent Peale.

Amel Rothermel was born in Emettsburg, Iowa in 1902. He graduated from both the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University, and worked for years in the Midwest and in New York in engineering. In 1956, he joined the faculty of Queens College, New York, where he taught and served in administration for 16 years. He and Josephine moved to New Bern upon his retirement and lived here until 1985, when they moved to Florida. Josephine died in 1986 and Amel passed away in February 1987.

In his living trust dated May 2, 1986, Mr. Rothermel provided, in part, as follows:

My living trust provides one-half of my estate to finance the establishment of the Rothermel Foundation, or some such similarly named organization, in New Bern, North Carolina. Further, the organization shall exist under the auspices of the First Presbyterian Church of New Bern, with the management of the organization delegated to a Board of Trustees to be selected yearly, or as required by the Board of Elders of the First Presbyterian Church of New Bern….

The purposes of this organization shall include, but not be limited to, the study and dissemination of information relating to the part that a supreme being had in the formation of the universe, the development of life on earth, including man, his purposes for man, his ultimate creation as outlined by his emissary, Jesus Christ, including confirmation of the infinite love that the Creator has for man and the plans the Creator must have for mankind in a continuing existence.

In the early 1990’s the Session of First Presbyterian determined (the date and circumstances are the subject of continuing research) that the Board of Trustees established by Mr. Rothermel should be ecumenical, and inter-faith. The Board currently includes representatives of First Presbyterian Church and of Centenary Methodist Church, Christ Episcopal Church, First Baptist Church, Garber Methodist Church, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, St. Paul Catholic Church, Temple B’Nai Sholem and al-Masjid Islamic Center & Mosque in Greenville, NC .

Amel’s brother, William Rothermel, added a bequest in 1995.

Mr. Rothermel’s living trust also provided:

I desire that this organization accept funds from other sources, including those from individuals,  as long  as they  are  given to  promote the  purposes for which it was organized.