Rogers Scholars, Alumni Inspire at Annual Gathering

November 07, 2017


Rogers Scholars past and present gather for group photoA Stanislaus State luncheon toasted Rogers Scholars past and present, as the University recognized students selected for the prestigious scholarship who climbed mountains to pursue their education and fulfill their dreams.

“To our Rogers Scholar alumni: thank you for being role models of scholarship, and triumph over adversity, for this next cohort. Your degrees stand as testament to what hard work and focus can achieve,” President Ellen Junn said in welcoming the group. “For our Rogers Scholars with papers and exams still before them, thank you for your persistence, desire to serve and drive for excellence.”

This year’s event reinstated a tradition of bringing back Rogers Scholar graduates to encourage and network with those still working toward accomplishing their ungraduated degrees and teaching credentials. Many alumni who could not attend sent their best wishes for this year’s recipients and reminisced about what the Rogers scholarship meant to them.

“The Rogers scholarship was such a blessing to me during a time of need and I will forever be thankful,” wrote 2009 Rogers Scholar Jennifer Nacar, now a mother-infant nurse in Santa Clara. “It is wonderful to hear that they continue to lift up college students, making a positive change in their lives. Cheers to kind-hearted people in this world.”

Rogers Scholar alumna Kristina Stamper, Stanislaus State director of communications and creative services, served as the mistress of ceremonies for the luncheon. “As a Rogers Scholar alumna, the generosity of the Rogers Foundation underscored the importance of giving back to the community through my education. Being included in a group of distinguished scholars inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others and motivated me to always strive for excellence in ways that would lift others up,” she said.

Melina Cruz, a senior studying biological sciences and one of 24 Rogers Scholars this year, spoke of her journey of triumph over a learning disability. “I was told that I would never be in the normal classes with my friends, I wouldn't learn like everybody else, and that I should not bother even thinking about attending college,” she said. “I was expected to fail before I even tried.”

Being a Rogers Scholar gave her confidence, she said in thanking the Rogers family. “This is why this scholarship means so much to me. After being told I could not amount to greatness, I now know that I can,” said Cruz, who plans to become a doctor.

John, June and daughter Janet Rogers attended the event to recognize and congratulate the scholarship recipients. The Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation has granted nearly $3 million in scholarships to more than 550 Stan State students since 1991, choosing recipients who demonstrate proven scholarship, perseverance in the face of adversity, and commitment to giving back.

Those key attributes of talent, service and old-fashioned grit distinguish future leaders, said John Rogers, president of the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation. Live with honor, help others and use your education to launch your dreams, Col. Rogers advised students. And give back, June Rogers said, noting even a $10 gift from each of Stan State’s 55,000 alumni to the One Purpose scholarship fund could do so much.

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Undergraduate recipients and their majors:

Paul Acevedo, studio art
Juan Acuna, psychology
Mandip Bassi, biological sciences
Leonor Borges, nursing
Livier Camarena Sanchez, biological sciences
Wayne Cheung, kinesiology
Shelby Costa, nursing
Melina Cruz, biological sciences
Brittany Davis, biological sciences
Andrew DiGiulio, psychology
Jamal Ferguson, economics, social science
Monica Gudino, English
Susana Maldonado, psychology
Maria Marquez Mendoza, communication studies
Courtney Pellegrino-Posz, business administration
Cecilia Ruvalcaba Rizo, business administration
Patricia Valenton, nursing
Jessica Vang, psychology

Teaching credential recipients:

Silvia Gutierrez
Matthew Lloyd
Jennifer Mara
Luserito Rojas
Denise Sasse
Nichole Taylor