John W. Rogers Jr. gives $10.5 million to fund student scholarships, career paths

Jeremy Manier
Assistant Vice President of CommunicationsUniversity Communications

A $10.5 million gift from University Trustee John W. Rogers Jr., LAB’76, will support a scholarship fund for Laboratory Schools students and establish a professional development program for under-resourced College students to pursue careers in finance. This raises Rogers’ total giving to the University of Chicago and its affiliated Laboratory Schools to $15 million.

Of the new gift, $4 million is a bequest to the John W. Rogers and Victoria Marie Rogers Scholarship Fund, a part of the University’s endowment that is used to provide scholarship support at the Laboratory Schools, which Rogers has been involved with for more than 40 years.

“The Laboratory Schools and the University of Chicago teach students how to think while respecting different points of view and different experiences,” said Rogers. “It’s part of what makes them such great places.”

Rogers, the chairman and CEO of Ariel Investments, served on Laboratory Schools’ board from 1987 until 1994, the same year he was honored with the Laboratory Schools Distinguished Alumni Award. He returned to the Laboratory Schools board in 1998. President Robert J. Zimmer appointed Rogers to the role of the Laboratory Schools chair in 2009, and in Rogers’ roles as chair and Lab+ Campaign co-chair, he has helped the Laboratory Schools raise $80 million.

“John Rogers has contributed his time, energy and unbridled enthusiasm to our community,” said Beth A. Harris, interim director of the Laboratory Schools, who has known Rogers since they served on the board together. “Once again, his generosity is helping to make our schools stronger. His bequest will help to provide an experience that he so valued to outstanding students—ones who might not otherwise be able to benefit from a Lab education.” 

Another $4.5 million of the gift will establish and endow the Ariel Investments Internship Program in Finance, an extensive series of new programming that will encourage students from low-income families and racial and ethnic minorities to pursue career paths in the finance industry. Specifically, the gift will expand opportunities for minority students to obtain paid internships at endowment, foundation and non-profit investment offices. Rogers believes this aspect of the program sets it apart, as it will allow more minority students to pursue careers in an industry that traditionally has lacked diversity.

“Many groups have historically been underrepresented in the finance industry,” Rogers said, “and none more than blacks. For example, a recent study showed blacks as holding only 1 percent of top investment roles,” he noted.

“This program will not only enable students to learn about career paths within different endowment and foundation and non-profit investment offices, but will expose them to opportunities within the different types of firms managing a vast range of traditional and alternative asset classes on their behalf,” Rogers said. “The University of Chicago has a large population of bright, talented and diverse students who can make a difference in the field, and I am very proud to support this initiative,” he added.  

Rogers’ gift will support career advising, professional development workshops, networking opportunities and funded internships for College students.

“The University of Chicago has a deep commitment to diversity and equality of opportunity,” said Meredith Daw, executive director of Career Advancement. “Because of John Rogers’ gift, more students than ever will be able to go after their dreams and find meaningful careers, regardless of their background.”

The gift also includes a portion of unrestricted support. In recognition of Rogers’ support and the groundbreaking public service of his late parents, the University named Rogers Family House in the Campus North Residential Commons.