By Rodney K. Hays
Before taking a summer break, staff, students and the PTO of Rogers Middle School presented a tribute to its namesake Lorene Lane Rogers.
Rogers was born in Prosper on April 3, 1914. After graduating from Prosper High School, she attended school at North Texas State Teachers College (now UNT) in Denton and majored in English. After graduation, she started working as a teacher.
She later married Burl Rogers, who worked as a chemist and worked for a company in New Jersey. He died in 1941 in a laboratory accident. Even though at the time, that field was dominated by men, Rogers decided to follow in her late husband’s footsteps and earned a masters and doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. She went on to teach at Sam Houston State College (now Sam Houston State University). She later returned to the University of Texas at Austin, first as a researcher.
In 1962, Rogers application to teach in the chemistry department at the university was rejected even though she already taught some of the classes. She ultimately accepted a professor of nutrition position in the home economics department. Rogers also served as a assistant director of a biochemical institute, associate dean of graduate studies and vice president at the university.
In September 1974, she was named the interim president of the University. She became president in 1975 and served as the first woman to be president of at major university. Rogers survived a protest from some staff members who were upset she was named the president and a lawsuit filed by a professor. She once said of her climb up the educational ladder, "if my husband had lived, I probably would have been a housewife.
She served as president until 1979. Rogers also served as a director of Texaco until 1989. She died at the age of 94 on Jan. 11, 2009.
The family of Rogers attended the unveiling of a portrait and framed article from when Dr. Rogers was named as the President of the University of Texas in 1974. The Rogers PTO gladly took on the job of creating a display for the artifacts. Various family members attended the unveiling and were glad to know that those who enter Rogers Middle School will have the opportunity to learn about the late Dr. Lorene Lane Rogers.
Reynolds opened in 2008.
"We are fortunate at Rogers Middle School that Mr. Barry Vaughn, relative of Dr. Lorene Rogers, was generous enough to provide our school with an artifact from Dr. Rogers’ legacy," said Holly Ferguson, RMS principal.
"Our students and all who enter our building will have the opportunity to learn about the great person Dr. Rogers was and to the heritage that consists in Prosper. As I told the students, Just think a little girl from Prosper became someone so amazing. Your destiny is determined by you and the hopes and dreams you have just like Dr. Lorene Lane Rogers."