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Through a chance encounter, Walter '77 and Nancy Rogers
create life-changing scholarship for lacrosse student-athlete
By Susan Field
For Walter "Walt" Rogers III, '77, relationships are at
the center of his life. He is still friends with people he met on his first
day at ESU in the summer of 1973.
Walt sees some of his Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity brothers monthly. He talks
to one of them on the phone every morning. He's also an active member of
the ESU '70s Socialites, and still returns to Homecoming almost every year.
Walt and Nancy, his wife of 39 years, have already made plans to attend
this year the weekend of Oct. 8-10, 2021.
"My fraternity experience and the friendships I developed at ESU were at
the center of everything I did in college, and after college, too," Walt
said. "I was in many of my friends' weddings and vice versa. Nancy and I
are godparents of the daughters of a good friend, who was the president of
Theta Chi when I was the president of Phi Sigma Kappa."
These ties are what has continued to keep Walt connected to ESU over the
years, along with a desire to help those in need. He believes that his
experiences at ESU have helped put him in a good position to give back.
After graduating, Walt worked in the mortgage banking and the private
mortgage Insurance industries. He retired in 2018 after 34 years with
Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), the nation's leading
mortgage insurance company. At his retirement, he was sales manager and had
the largest territory in the region.
"People at my station in life are at the point where we have the
opportunity financially to help other people," Walt said. "Donating to ESU
is a really good use of money because the kind of students that go to ESU
have to work to put themselves through school. When I step back and think
about how positive my experience in college was, I want to help other
people have that kind of experience."
As longtime donors to the ESU Foundation, the Rogers, who reside in Media,
Pa., and spend summers at the Jersey Shore, have always enjoyed giving back
to the university, but wanted to know whator who specificallytheir gift
of support was going to.
It took one conversation at the Annual President's Gala in the fall 2019 to
give them the answer. Nancy randomly started talking with Xeni
Barakos-Yoder, head coach of ESU's Women's Lacrosse team. Barakos-Yoder '11
led the Warriors to their first Atlantic Region title in 2018, and to three
appearances at the NCAA Tournament. She was named PSAC Coach of the Year in
her first two seasons.
During their conversation, Barakos-Yoder told the Rogers about the bright
and talented young women on her team, many of whom are first generation
college students with financial needs. This struck a chord with the Rogers,
as their daughter Kelly was a former Division III college student-athlete,
who attended a school that did not award scholarships because of NCAA
"I know what my daughter went through as a student-athlete," Nancy said.
"These young women have such demanding schedules in order to excel
academically and in sports, and it would be nice if they didn't have to
work to put themselves through school on top of that."
By the end of that night, The Rogers knew they wanted to help the Women's
Lacrosse team. Enter the
Walter '77 and Nancy Rogers Women's Lacrosse Annual Scholarship
, designed to support a women's lacrosse player who has a 3.0 GPA, and has
The creation of the scholarship in the 2020-2021 academic school year has
not only helped the Rogers feel connected to their recipient and the team,
a relationship with Barakos-Yoder has blossomed.
"After we met Xeni, she personally reached out to us and continues to keep
in touch. She texts us to see if we are coming to games," Walt said. "The
relationship has made the whole experience more personal."
Walt and Nancy enjoyed attending three games this season, including the
PSAC Championship game in West Chester. They watched other games through
live streaming. The Warriors finished the season with a 12-4 record and
made it to the semifinal of the NCAA Division II tournament.
In April, the Rogers met their first scholarship recipient, senior Hana
Cicerelle, a 2-time 1st team All-Region selection, who was named PSAC Women
Eastern Division Athlete of the Week twice this season. In May, Cicerelle,
an honor roll nursing major, became ESU lacrosse's all-time points leader
and in June she was named the third team All-American by the
Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). When she met
the Rogers, she presented them with a thank you letter.
"Her whole family was so grateful. She was a very nice young woman, and a
very talented athlete," Nancy said. "It was gratifying to meet her and to
see how successful she is.
The Rogers feel fortunate that they are in a position to support ESU's
"We are lucky that we're in a position to give to others," Nancy said.
"Donating to your university is something that people may not think about
doing, but should. It's an easy, rewarding way to give back."
An IRA rollover allows people age 70½ and older to reduce their taxable income by making a gift directly from their IRA.