Dr. Rovenstine was born in Atwood, Indiana, in the year 1895. He was educated at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and after enlisting in the Army and serving in France during World War I, he decided to attend medical school at the Indiana University. In 1930, to took a faculty post at the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Dr. Ralph Waters.
He was since 1935 chair of the department of anesthesiology at Bellevue Hospital Center and became the second American professor of anesthesiology in 1937 at New York University School of Medicine. He was a founder of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and its president in 1943/44, received in 1957 that Society's Distinguished Service Award, and was the founder of the PostGraduate Assembly (PGA) in Anesthesiology.