The William M. Rodgers Fund
Education was always important to William Rodgers. So important, in fact, that he took an unusual path to join the ranks of academia. "My husband retired from the Army at the age of 55 and thought, 'What to do?" said his widow, Mrs. Rodgers. At an age when most people consider winding down their careers, Mr. Rodgers began a new one. He enrolled at the University of Arizona for a master's in geography (he earned a bachelor's in business administration from the University of Washington prior to joining the Army). Soon after he received his post-graduate degree, Mr. Rodgers accepted a teaching position in UC Denver's Geography Department, a post he held until 1973 when he retired as Professor Emeritus in geography. He emerged from retirement on occasion, however, to lecture in the department. In honor of her late husband and his passion for geography, Mrs. Rodgers established the William M. Rodgers Fund at UC Denver. Created with an initial cash gift, the fund will support scholarships for undergraduates studying geography, a subject for which Mrs. Rodgers shares her husband's enthusiasm.
"He thought geography had long been neglected," she said. "It's such an important subject and must amount to more than just learning the capitals. It involves studying the social, economic, historical and political aspects of a region." Thanks to his service in the Army, Mr. Rodgers learned geography firsthand. By the time he retired as a brigadier general, he had served in World War II and the Korean War, was a highly decorated officer, and had traveled extensively throughout the world, including nearly all of the Northern Hemisphere. All this travel enriched Mr. Rodgers' second career in education.
"He incorporated his life experiences from the military into his teachings at UC Denver," said Mrs. Rodgers of her husband, who frequently brought clothing and other items from various parts of the world into his classes to help illustrate points. His students were so captivated by their professor that many of them continued their discussions and debates about geography in their free time. "He had a loyal following of students who met regularly after class in one of the coffeehouses. They called themselves Rodgers' Rangers," said Mrs. Rodgers.
Given William Rodgers' distinguished careers in the military and classroom, Mrs. Rodgers created the scholarship in his name as a loving tribute to her husband of 67 years. "Education is one of the most important things to support," she said, "and my husband truly enjoyed teaching."
Scholarship Eligibility Requirements
- Junior or Senior Geography Major.
- 3.0 GPA overall.
- Previous winners not eligible.
- Applicants need to prepare one to two page application letter that discusses the candidate's qualifications and future aspirations.
- Applicants must provide the name and phone number of at least two references. One of these people must be a member of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences from whom applicant has had at least one geography class. In addition, official transcripts of all college and/or university work are required.
- Turn in application packet to the Department of Geography & Environmental Sciences in NC 3621 by 4 p.m. on MARCH 8, 2013.
- Depending upon quality of applicants, up to two scholarships of as much as $1,000 will be given each fall for the spring semester.
- Awardees will be notified by phone and mail, and their names will be posted to this Web site.