Born in Spencer, Iowa, and raised on a farm, Ronald Roskens began his career in education as a high school teacher in Milburn, Iowa. A year later, in 1955, he became the Assistant Counselor to Men at the University of Iowa.
In 1959, Roskens began his career at Kent State University as Associate Professor, Dean, Assistant to the President; in 1966, he graduated to Professor, Senior Vice President; and in 1971, to Professor and Executive Vice President. Roskens' next jump happened a year later, when, in 1972, he became the Chancellor and Professor of Educational Administration for the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In 1977, he became President of the University of Nebraska.
Roskens' career changed when he was appointed by United States President George Bush, Sr., to serve as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1990. He was the chief executive officer of a $7.5 billion program of economic and humanitarian assistance to more than 100 countries in the developing world. In December 1992, Roskens became the president of Action International, Inc., a newly created organization to maximize the impact and insure the continuation of the InterAction Council, a group of thirty-five former heads of state government. The InterAction Council met annually to consider, in conjunction with leading international policy advisors, proposals and recommendations intended to effect positive change on the global scene. Members included former President Gerald Ford and Mikhail Gorbachev. In January 1996, Roskens became president of Global Connections, Inc., an international business consulting firm.
Roskens is listed in the "Who's Who in America," "Leaders of the English Speaking World," and "Community Leaders of America." Roskens has also received twelve Honorary Degrees from institutions of higher education around the world. Roskens and his wife, Lois, have three daughters and one son.
Roskens was initiated into Spencer Chapter DeMolay in Spencer, Iowa, in 1949. He received the Legion of Honor distinction in 1980. He also became a 33rd Degree Mason of the Scottish Rite in 1991. Roskens was inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on June 25, 1993.
"DeMolay was an anvil on which character issues of great consequence to young men were hammered out. The impact upon me at the time of active membership was immense. I can only hope that my subsequent actions have been faithful lessons that I was privileged to learn in the DeMolay environment."