Monday, November 7, 2016

Remembering Don Rodgers

Don Rodgers
The Austin College community is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Don Rodgers, Austin College associate professor of political science. He suffered a heart attack Sunday afternoon and passed away shortly afterward in the presence of friends and family.

A memorial service has been set for Tuesday, November 15, at 4:30 p.m. in Wynne Chapel. Memorial gifts may be made to Austin College.

"We are stunned by this news and send our deepest sympathies to Kuani and Kyl and their extended family, as well as all those who will be saddened by this tragic loss to the College community," said Austin College President Marjorie Hass.

Share your memories and condolences.

31 comments:

  1. Don was so generous with his time and talents in supporting the Pottsboro Library. His impact on our organization was enormous. His work made a difference all over Texoma and will be greatly missed. This is such a loss. He was a mentor to many. I'll miss my friend.

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  2. Don Rodgers was one of the most approachable, most sincere people I've ever met. Despite having taken only one class with him (in freshman year, at that) he helped me land an internship two years later, and was always available to sit down and talk.
    We miss you, Don. Thank you for being the man that you were.

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  3. Don was a highlight for me at Austin College. He was always generous of his time, and was dedicated to the academic success of his students. I probably would not have graduated without him as a mentor. He was a man of integrity—something abundant in the faculty of AC yet lacking in the administration—and he will not be easily replaced.

    Here's to you, Don. Thanks for everything.

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  4. I wouldn't be where I am today without Don Rodgers and Jack Pierce. God receive and bless them both .

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  5. I had the privilege of teaching at Austin College for two years, during which time Don was a reliable source of thoughtful conversation and laughter. He was an encouraging person and I valued his support during a period of career uncertainty. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole Austin College community, as well as with Don's family.

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  6. I'll never forget my first counter with Don in his Intro to Comparative Politics course. Not only was he helpful in teaching the material but he also proved to be a great mentor. This was also the case when I additionally took his International Relations Theory course and Jan-term course, The Real Hunger Games. Don, I'm glad I had the opportunity to speak with you during commencement in May 2016. Never had I imagined it would be my last encounter with you. Thank you for your efforts in helping me succeed post-graduation. Without your help, I don’t think I could have ever landed my position with the Department of Commerce. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to Austin College, your commitment and dedication to us, the students, and your commitment and dedication to your family and friends.

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  7. Don was one of my most empowering professors, if it weren't for him I would have never discovered my passion for Politics. He cared about each and everyone of his students growth, and did everything he could to ensure we were well equipped for success! Don taught me to be a critical thinker, and helped me find my confidence. To Kuani and Kyl, your husband and father was an inspiration to so many people, and his legacy will forever live on through you and his students. My heart goes out to you all during these hard times, and may you find some peace in this tragedy! You will always be appreciated, loved and remembered Don, rest in peace!

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  8. Laura Marquez RamseyNovember 7, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Thank you for your time and committment to everyone at AC, Don. You gave 100% to your students but you also cared about the people you worked with, incuding the staff. Collaborating with you to help a student reach a goal was worthwhile and made our jobs so meaningful. You were one of a kind and will be missed by so many but the lives you touched are beyond measure. I'll miss you every day.

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  9. Don was my professor, mentor, and dear friend. He was instrumental in my experience at Austin College and opening my eyes to the world through helping me select courses, telling me to travel, introducing me to Taiwan Beer, understanding that I was from Groesbeck, and being a awesome professor. I cannot fully articulate my gratitude for his mentorship and friendship. He will be greatly missed. Cheers to you Don Rodgers

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  10. Don, You will not be forgotten and know that you will be missed. I am sad, shocked and can not find words. You influenced me in so many ways, I only took one of your courses but you helped me choosing my minor. You were so smart, I can not never forget our conversations about global politics and ever since it has changed me to view the world differently. Thank you for your time and efforts. My condolences to AC community and his family. Such a sad day...Rasan Hasan.

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  11. Just received the news of Don's passing. Before Don joined you all at Austin, he was a grad student with me at UGA. No one barked better than Don. I just emailed him a week ago that I took my kids to their first Waffle House, invoking memories of many late nights we went there (once or twice sober). Singing Losing My Religion as it played from the jukebox at 200am. Don was destined to be the caring faculty member you all know. I am just crushed for you all and especially Kuani and Kyl.

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  12. Don was such a positive force at Austin College. I had only one class with him when I was a student, but I have gotten to know him more since graduation. His dedication to his students, AC, and the Texoma Region are irreplaceable. He is greatly missed by so many.

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  13. What a tragic loss for his family and the Austin College community. I took a class with Don almost every semester during my four years at AC, he was a valued mentor and changed my life in ways I can't even number or explain. Don is the reason I got a GO Fellowship my freshman year, he steered me away from mistakes I might have made, and he continued to inspire with his stories and intellect from day one until graduation. I'm sending good vibes to his wife and son and I wish them peace during this terrible time.

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  14. Don was a great human being.. Not only a great loss for his family and his students, but to the Taiwanese community in the DFW area and for Taiwan as well. He was passionate about liberty and freedom for Taiwan. God speed Don.

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  15. Don was not just a great professor and mentor, but he was also a great friend. His students, including myself, would stop by his office just to talk about miscellaneous things - things that Don knew were important to us and always made time for. He always encouraged his students to pursue a higher education and be the best version of themselves. So many memories at Austin College were great simply because of you, Don. Your absence is so profound, but your legacy and impact will live on forever. Thank you for everything.

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  16. Don Rodgers was a dear friend, a formidable scholar, a close colleague, a fierce family man, and one of the greatest teachers I have met. He loved solving problems. He loved seeing the big picture. He loved watching his students succeed at large things and small.

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  17. Don Rodgers was and is an inspiration for faculty and students alike.

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  18. How can we even begin to describe what Don meant to thousands of students, his colleagues and friends, and this College as whole? Even the short time I knew him filled me with a huge respect and fondness for someone so generous yet challenging. Don, we will miss you so very much but always be thankful that our lives touched.

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  19. Don Rodgers was a great friend, a trusted mentor, and an outstanding professor. His dedication to his students, the Austin College community, and the people of Taiwan was matched only by his intellect and integrity. Though I only had the honor of taking one class with him, Don had a profound and lasting impact on my life and education. He will be greatly missed and always remembered.

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  21. Don made a tremendous and life changing impact on me during my college years. He made it possible for me to graduate, he listened, he mentored, and gave me the confidence to face the world we live in. I wanted to go to his classes and put effort into our assignments. Him, his beautiful wife and son were all a part of my life. I will never forget the day when we all went to pick out my first car and teaching their beloved son some swimming lessons. Don encouraged me to chase my dreams. When I had no one and felt helpless, somehow Don could make anyone feel like anything is possible no matter what. He changed many lives and my heart aches for his beautiful family. Don, your successes and impacts on so many lives will never be forgotten, they will only encourage others to pass on your legacy and try to be the amazing eduacator you were. Rest in peace, Don.
    -Lauren, Class of 2013, Gamma Gamma Gamma

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  22. One of Austin College's brilliant IR teachers will be greatly missed. He put a smile on his students' faces, made us laugh, challenged us academically, and made learning fun.

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  23. Beth Navarrete, class of '04November 7, 2016 at 8:19 PM

    Dr. Rodgers was my mentor at AC. He was a wonderful professor and such a nice person. He was so supportive of all his students--I'm not sure how he made time to always see so many, but somehow he did. Whenever you ran into him and asked him how he was doing, he would give you a genuine smile and reply 'just peachy!' I am so sad that I will never get to see him again or tell him how grateful I am for his mentorship. My deepest condolences to his family.

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  24. Don’s teaching and mentoring style were so personalized, that now it is both gratifying and staggering to remember and see how many people he touched. How he made so much time for all of us and our unique problems, I have no idea.
    Don was someone I could always trust for honest perspective and support, especially when it meant confronting my own shortcomings and fears. He was courageous in defying some of the negative cultures in academia, demanding in his expectations for academic and personal integrity, and always a tremendous advocate for his students, their well-being, and their quest for purpose. Beyond politics and international relations, Don’s teaching emphasized living honestly and building a life around what you truly loved. Kuani and Kyl, for Don that was you: you were the true joy and pride of his life.

    I'd like to leave you with some of Don's last advice to me:

    “We pursue degrees and advanced degrees because of our own interests and goals. And hopefully we find through that process that thing that makes us happy...education is not simply about credentialism, but it is the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge that strengthens our spirits and souls and provides us with meaning and purpose. Education should not be driven only by credentialism for career, but also by our intellectual and moral curiosity, and I suspect you can quench some of that curiosity if you divert your thoughts away from whether you should be doing it, and instead focus them toward actually doing it.”

    Thank you, Don, for all the lessons. You will be missed.


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  25. I had only one class with Don during my time at AC. It was a summer session, and the small size of the class fostered a unique intimacy between Don and the students. I remember the conversational tone of his lectures, his deep, easy knowledge of the topics covered, and the mentions of his family. His love for his family was so apparent.

    I pray for peace and comfort as you grieve his loss.

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  26. Great teachers live on in the minds and hearts of their students. Don taught some of the most urgent issues of our time: globalization, environmentalism, human rights, and peacemaking. There was so much more that he could have given us, but we must be grateful for the time we shared with him.

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  27. My son's first contact at Austin College was Dr. Rogers. Though he had not had the opportunity to be in his class this semester, he was looking forward to learning from him next semester. What a great person he must have been to have made such a profound impact on my son in only one visit. I pray for his family in this tragic loss.

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  28. My life was enriched by our friendship. You were a fun and inspirational colleague. And fun on the golf course­čśÄ You will be missed.

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  29. Suzanne Francis `15November 10, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    When I was at Austin College, I would always stop into Don Rodgers office at any time and he would always be willing to talk. He had a huge impact on me, and I always counted on him. When I had an idea about bringing Boniface Mwangi to the College, I mentioned it to him and he supported me wholeheartedly. He helped me find the money to make it happen, he encouraged everything that I did. I spent so much time with him, whether in class or out. He always wanted to catch up, whether it was the hour long conversation about where my life was going, or how Phineas and Ferb was the best show ever.
    I still quote his JanTerm when talking about the Hunger Games, and can bring political totalitarianism into the book. When getting into the Political Science Honorary Society, he threw a casual pizza party during finals because he said that "students just want a break and food, not some ceremony."
    He is the reason I got a huge opportunity for me working as an Intern at the City of Denison senior year, which was literally the best thing I could do. He did everything because he cared. He set up the SEPA Internship and let me hang out in his office throughout the summer. He helped me with grants, speeches, recommendation letters, advice, and a listening ear.
    I am such a better person for knowing him, and I am so devastated by his loss. This world has lost a lot by his passing, and I know he made such a difference with everyone he touched. My story is just one of the many like this, Don did so much for so many people. I am sad that I didn't get to talk to him as much recently and I will miss him when I go to visit in the future. My heart goes out to his family, who had him taken away too soon and suddenly.

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  30. Don and I went to Ohio Wesleyan University together and constituted the radical fringe of campus politics with a few other people. He was also as close a friend as I had. We both became professors and viewed the world similarly. I'm rarely speechless but I can't find words to describe the love I have for him and how much this hurts. I knew his whole family and I especially grieve for his dear sister, and also my dear friend, Marcy. The world lost a good one.

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  31. I am just now hearing about this and am completely torn. Don challenged me my senior year to think about freedom for Taiwan and instilled a thirst for understanding Asian culture. When Taiwan finally breaks the status quo, I will know somewhere Don is smiling. My heartfelt condolences go to his family, as he was taken from us far too soon.

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