Former University President Lorene Rogers Dies at Age 94

Jan. 12, 2009

DALLAS — Lorene L. Rogers, who was the first woman to head a major research university when she became president of the University of Texas in 1975, died last night (Jan. 11) at the age of 94 at an assisted living facility here.

Lorene Rogers
Lorene L. Rogers

Rogers broke her leg in the fall and did not fully recover, according to her niece, Donna O'Dell.

As Rogers requested, there will be no funeral service. A memorial service at The University of Texas at Austin is planned for a later date.

"Lorene Rogers faced challenges with grace and intelligence," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "She studied chemistry when it was a field dominated by men. She was the first and only woman to serve as president of the university, a position she accepted under difficult circumstances. She was not afraid to make tough decisions. Lorene Rogers made a great contribution to UT and we will miss her."

Rogers was president of the university from 1975-79. She joined the University of Texas as a research scientist in 1949 after earning master's and doctor's degrees in biochemistry at the university. Rogers earlier earned a bachelor's degree in English from North Texas State Teachers College, now the University of North Texas.

She became a professor in 1962. In 1964, she was named assistant dean of the Graduate School and was promoted to associate dean the following year. She was appointed to a newly created vice presidential position in 1971, and was named president ad interim in 1974. The following year she was named president.

She is survived by her sister, Beulah Conatser of Dallas, as well as nieces and nephews.

10 Comments to "Former University President Lorene Rogers Dies at Age 94"

1.  Geoff Gibson said on Jan. 12, 2009

Her naming as president made many of us proud to be a part of the university.

2.  David Armstrong said on Jan. 12, 2009

A fine person and a gracious hostess, well-remembered by all who met her during her tenure as president.

3.  cesar de la garza said on Jan. 12, 2009

She was also a distinguished alum. Her appointment serves as a landmark to all women, and I'm proud of this university.

4.  Texas Belle said on Jan. 13, 2009

It's the glorious photo in the 1978-79 CACTUS yearbook that lives large in memory, and the quiet grace of undeniable courage that defines Texas women who eternally inspire us all.

5.  Nancy Bode Bussey said on Jan. 13, 2009

Lorene was one of my mother's good friends back in the 1930s and 1940s. She always let me use her name as a job reference, and when she became UT president that was most impressive! She was a brilliant, thoughtful and dedicated academician. And she was certainly ahead of her time.

6.  Wm. Dean Justice said on Jan. 13, 2009

Dr. Rogers' strong support of the operational policies and management philosophies of The University of Texas Special Events Center (later Frank C. Erwin Jr. Special Events Center) during our formative years allowed the center to realize its full potential in serving the university and the people of Texas.

7.  Recent Texas Exe said on Jan. 16, 2009

How come she was only president for four years?

8.  Paul Ocanas said on Jan. 16, 2009

I am proud to have graduated during the term she was president. She will surely be missed by the great University of Texas at Austin community.

9.  Mary Newman White said on Jan. 17, 2009

She helped a very green graduate school student as a favor to an old friend (my chemistry professor at a small college in Oklahoma) get started at UT in 1962 by finding me an apartment. Further, she served as a fine example of a professional woman in the fields of biochemistry and academic administration.

10.  Maryann Lear said on Jan. 21, 2009

I first met Lorene Rogers in 1976 when I became secretary of the GRE Board at ETS. We spent several vacations together and greatly enjoyed each other's company. She was a great example of how it was possible for a woman to succeed in the world of academia dominated by men back in the '70s.