The Rogers Award

Vin and Chris Rogers.
The late Professor Emeritus Vincent Rogers and his wife, Chris, both longtime educators, met at Cornell University. He long called Chris, who passed away in 1999, “the greatest teacher the world ever saw.” (Photo courtesy of Vincent Rogers)

Professor Emeritus Vincent Rogers announced in 2017 a planned bequest to the Neag School, designating a legacy gift of $125,000 to expand the Rogers Educational Innovation Fund in support of innovative projects carried out by teachers in Connecticut.

Through his gift, teachers at the elementary and middle-school levels across the state will be able to apply annually for a $5,000 gift for use in the classroom.

Rogers and his wife, Chris, also a longtime educator, had previously established a fund at the Neag School through which elementary school teachers in Mansfield, Conn., could apply annually for a $1,000 grant to enrich their classrooms. Over the years, eight grants were made to local schools.

Rogers’ additional gift will be open to elementary and middle-school teachers across the state of Connecticut to support research and programs for the collaborative work of classroom teachers and the Neag School of Education, and award recipients will have the freedom to use the award in any way they see fit. Rogers, who spent four decades teaching and writing about education techniques, led the Neag School’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction and served on its faculty, retiring in 1990.

Even in his retirement, Rogers was active with numerous projects, from becoming a competent equestrian, having begun riding at the age of 63, to teaching courses on jazz and horse racing at the Mansfield Community Center near the UConn Storrs campus to continuing to perform with a number of local jazz groups. Rogers passed away at age 93 in December 2020.

Through this fund, the Rogers’ legacy in supporting innovation in teaching will live on into the future.

Award Details

Award: Up to $5,000

Eligibility: The Rogers Award is open for competitive applications from all Connecticut elementary or middle school teachers.

Purpose: The Rogers Award is intended to foster creative and innovative approaches to teaching. However, applicants must describe how their proposal might make a positive contribution to their students education.

Required Materials: 1) Application form; 2) A proposal addressing how the applicant will use the $5,000 award to improve teaching and learning at his/her own school, and how he/she will ensure that the Neag School of Education benefits from his/her research and/or experience.

Deadline: Nov. 30, 2023

Presentation: The Rogers Award is typically presented at the Neag School of Education Alumni Awards, held each March.

Past Award Recipients

Jason Gilmore, art teacher, was the 2020 Rogers Award recipient.
Jason Gilmore (right) stands in a hallway at McDonough with two of his middle school students in front of their art mural. (Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

2022 — Matthew Bowers, ACES at Chase, Waterbury, Conn.

2020 — Jason Gilmore, McDonough Middle School, Hartford, Conn.

2019 — Jessica Stargardter ’16 (ED), ’17 MA, Norwalk (Conn.) Public Schools

2018 — Dwight Sharpe, Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Middletown, Conn.

Read About Past Recipients’ Projects

Award Determination

Jessica Stargardter was the 2019 Rogers Award recipient.
Jessica Stargardter ’16 (ED), ’17 MA (right) gathers with students from her West Rocks Middle School class for “The Future is Us” art exhibit. (Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

The Rogers Award will be chosen annually by a committee of three Neag School of Education teacher education faculty selected by the dean. One recipient will be chosen annually.

The specific uses for the income allocated to this Fund shall be determined by the Committee, to meet the priority needs of the programs, and under rules and regulations established by the Committee and the University provided such rules and regulations are consistent with the terms and conditions of this Agreement, the Foundation's governing instruments and policies, and applicable law.

The Committee shall consist of three or more faculty members of the School and the dean of the School, or his or her designated representative, who shall serve as chair of the Committee. The School, in consultation with the Foundation, will determine the amount and number of awards based upon the available balance.