With over 50 years of experience as faculty members of Washington State University, Jean and Leroy Rogers have seen their fair share of students struggle with finding money to pay for college.
”We’ve both worked with students and felt that the biggest stumbling block for them is finding scholarship funds,” said Jean. As a result of witnessing that struggle, Jean and Leroy established a scholarship fund in 1994 for students who are interested in agricultural economics and apparel merchandising, design and textiles. In December 2009, the Rogers donated an additional $20,000 to their scholarship fund.
Since its inception, the Jean and Leroy Rogers scholarship has been awarded bi-annually. A scholarship committee for the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resources Sciences reviews the applications and determines which students will receive funding.
“I have known Jean and Leroy since I was a graduate student in economics in the ‘80s,” said CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo. “They are gracious and giving people who are making a difference in the lives of students with their generosity.”
Jean and Leroy Rogers feel that WSU, particularly CAHNRS, offers a unique and enriching experience for students. “I think students will find that there is a closer relationship between faculty and students here than at larger universities,” said Leroy. It was this positive relationship with students and the friendliness of WSU that inspired the Rogerses to create a scholarship for students. “WSU, because of its location and being a largely residential campus, has a different atmosphere than other universities, and that is very beneficial to students,” said Jean.
Leroy and Jean both spent their entire careers as faculty members at WSU; Leroy was a professor of Agricultural Economics, and Jean was a professor in Apparel Merchandising. Leroy was heavily involved in the administration of what was then, the College of Agriculture and Home Economics. He held positions as department chair and director of academic programs.
“Our history with the university and college goes back a long ways,” he said. “I have to laugh because I helped recruit Dan Bernardo (current dean of CAHNRS) into our Ph.D. program, and I was part of the team that hired Ron Mittelhammer (now the Director of the School of Economic Sciences).” Two of the Rogerses children received their education at WSU; their youngest son has a B.A. in accounting and their daughter received an M.A. in economics.
Leroy and Jean joined the WSU community nearly 51 years ago. “It was a good professional opportunity for me at the time,” said Leroy.
“We moved there as a family, newly married, and when the opportunity came for me to continue my education, we ended up staying there,” said Jean.
Jean and Leroy became benefactors of the university in 2009. “We moved [to Oregon] when we retired, but we occasionally drop though WSU, particularly for the fall college events,” said Leroy.