Beyond Academic Walls

NSU's Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph V. Rogers, Ph.D.

Ralph V. Rogers, Ph.D., is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Nova Southeastern University. He and Maggie have been married since 2004. The journey of his career and life, he said, is like a lyric from a Grateful Dead song, What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been. Quote: “Life is never dull.”

He didn’t start out with an eye on an academic career. Rogers admits that he didn’t even have a “planned trajectory.” He began his career as an engineer working for the Navy at its test and evaluation center on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

While working long hours, Rogers decided he’d had enough. “One day, I quit my job, got in a van and headed to the Florida Keys,” he said. When he decided to get back to civilization, he returned to the institution where he received his undergraduate degree, Ohio University, to take courses that were “as far away from engineering as possible—English lit, philosophy,” he said. Rogers worked in the school’s engineering lab and wrote proposals for the Federal Aviation Administration.

A nearby community college was looking for an electronics instructor. That became Rogers’ introduction to the academic world.

Ralph Rogers said his decision to come to NSU in 2013 was the closest thing to a plan he has ever had. “I knew I had one move left. I was looking for a place that wasn’t afraid to take things on. What I wanted to be part of was a university that was willing to do things differently,’’ he said. “At this stage in my life, I was purposefully looking for a special kind of place, and I think I’ve found it here.”

His commitment to the universities where he has worked, however, goes beyond the academic walls. “What a university brings to a community is more than just education,’’ he said. “The university contributes to the total quality of life of the place in which it exists. What it means to us to give to NSU is, in essence, giving to the community.”

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