By Tim Ellsworth
Union University News Office
JACKSON — Lisa Rogers was walking in the woods, one of her favorite pastimes, when she got a phone call from outgoing Union University trustee chairman Norm Hill. Hill asked Rogers if she’d consider serving as the next chairman for the Union board of trustees.
Rogers immediately knew the answer: No. But she told Hill she’d pray about it.
“I figured I’d pray about it and then tell him no,” she says.
But as she considered the opportunity, God began to reveal to Rogers that she should accept. In November, she will rotate off the board and conclude her three years as chairman.
“I would say primarily it’s been a challenging experience,” said Rogers, a member of The Church at Sugar Creek in Humboldt.
Rogers, an obstetrician/gynecologist with the Jackson Clinic, has served as a Union trustee off and on since 1999. Being chairman and more deeply involved with the inner workings of the university has brought challenges she didn’t have to deal with previously. The academic world has its own vocabulary and structure that is completely different from medicine.
Despite the steep learning curve, Rogers has enjoyed the experience, especially working closely with Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver and the Union leadership team. Rogers’ son Austin graduated from Union in May, and seeing Oliver’s love for students is deeply meaningful for Rogers.
“I was on the search committee, and that was the number one thing that was immediately evident, the way his whole spirit just lit up when he’s with students,” Rogers says.
Her title of “Union mom” is one that Rogers cherishes.
“To see how (Austin) has matured and grown spiritually, and the friends that he’s made, and to see how Dr. Oliver and the faculty he has had have nurtured him and encouraged him just as I was nurtured and encouraged when I was here, has just been tremendous,” Rogers says.
A 1983 Union graduate who majored in biology and minored in chemistry, Rogers pointed to professors such as Elsie Smith and Charles Baldwin who had a positive impact on her life. She attended medical school in Memphis at the University of Tennessee after finishing at Union.
Rogers met her husband Kenny while she was doing her residency in Mississippi and returned to Jackson, Tennessee, where she had lived as a child before her parents moved to the Memphis area, shortly thereafter. She has a stepdaughter Kristi and a daughter Rebecca, in addition to Austin.
She may be nearing the end of her time as board chairman, but Rogers’ commitment to and love for Union will go with her as she leaves.
“I love the focus on the students, and the primary goal of truly excellent Christian education,” Rogers says. “Students who have multiple challenges in today’s culture are strengthened in their faith here, come to know Christ while they’re here, learn of Christ and biblical truth and are able to form solid relationships.
“Union holds true to its core values and mission, and in today’s world, I wish all students could come to Union.”
Not only do students at Union receive an education that prepares them for their chosen field, Rogers says, but they also learn how to incorporate their faith in their profession.
“Whether you go to the international mission field, or you’re meeting with clients, or patients, or whatever you’re doing, you can carry Christ with you in whatever you do.”