Rogers Family House
Rogers Family House is named for University trustee John W. Rogers, Jr., LAB’76, and his parents, John W. Rogers, Sr., JD’48, and Jewel Stradford Lafontant, JD’46.
John W. Rogers, Jr., is the founder, chairman, CEO, and chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, LLC, the largest minority-owned investment management company in the United States. Captain of the varsity basketball team at Princeton University, Rogers played for many years after his college career ended, with the likes of President Barack Obama—whose inauguration he helped to plan—and Michael Jordan—whom he beat one-on-one.
At the University, Rogers has been a tireless supporter of the Laboratory Schools. A recipient of Lab’s 1994 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Rogers chaired the Laboratory Schools’ board of directors from 2009 to 2015. A Lab basketball court is named for Rogers, and the lobby of the Gordon Parks Arts Hall is named for him and his daughter, Victoria, LAB’08.
Rogers has also supported the Law School and finance internships in the College and has been a proponent of the University’s efforts to increase partnerships with minority businesses.
In naming Rogers House for his family, John Rogers, Jr., honored the groundbreaking contributions of both his parents, whose legacy he also has honored with the naming of an admissions office at the Law School.
One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, John W. Rogers, Sr., flew 120 successful combat missions over Europe during World War II. In 2007 his service was recognized by Congress, when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor. Rogers, Sr., went from being one of the few African American law students in the country during the 1940s to private legal practice, where he formed a law firm, and ultimately a long career as a juvenile court judge.
Stradford Lafontant was the first African American woman to graduate from the Law School, which was where she and Rogers, Sr., met. A South Sider like Rogers, Sr., she was a partner with him in the law firm that they founded. She was the first woman and first African American to become US deputy solicitor general. Stradford Lafontant also held the title of ambassador-at-large and was the US coordinator for refugee affairs while in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. In the civil rights field, she was a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality, an officer of the Chicago chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union.