$12.1 million gift creates endowed fund for Dedman Law scholarships

The Umphrey Lee Tempietto in SMU's Dedman School of Law QuadThis story originally appeared in Robert Miller’s column in The Dallas Morning News Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012.

The Dedman School of Law has announced that W. Yandell “Tog” Rogers Jr. of Houston is giving $12.1 million to provide scholarships.

The gift to establish the W. Yandell “Tog” Rogers Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund is the second-largest in the history of the SMU law school. The largest gift was $20 million from the Dedman family that resulted in naming of the school.

Rogers earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas before enrolling in the SMU School of Law on a scholarship arranged by a law professor. “I’m paying back a debt,” Rogers said. “Without a scholarship, I wouldn’t have made it through the SMU School of Law. This gift is to help other people in need do what I was able to do.”

Rogers is a retired lawyer and businessman. After graduating from the SMU School of Law in 1961, he clerked for Texas Supreme Court Justices Clyde Smith and Joe Greenhill. He then worked as an associate in the Dallas law firm of Wynne, McKenzie, Jaffe and Tinsley from 1961 to 1967. He was in the firm’s litigation practice and represented celebrities such as baseball legend Mickey Mantle.

Rogers moved to Houston in 1967 and served as general counsel for Ridgway Blueprinting, a small, publicly traded company, before becoming president of the company. He took Ridgway private and purchased the company, selling it to American Reprographic Co. in 2000.

Rogers said his law education helped him every step of the way as a business leader. “I can honestly say that my years at SMU Law School helped prepare me for all of the issues I would later face in business.”

SMU president R. Gerald Turner said: “Increasing scholarships to attract and retain top students is one of the major goals of SMU’s Second Century Campaign. We are grateful to Tog Rogers for his vision and generosity in support of this goal.”

Rogers is a member of the executive board of Dedman School of Law and the Houston Steering Committee of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign.

Three of his five children are SMU graduates. Wiley Yandell Rogers III earned a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1986. Laura Rogers Braun earned an MBA in 1987, and Matthew Alford Rogers graduated in 2003 with bachelor’s degrees in public policy and economics.

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