Faith inspires graduate
Inspired by the unwavering optimism of one of Baker University’s newest alumnus, commencement speaker Tony Brown reflected in mid-December on Greg Rogers’ remarkable journey as an undergraduate on the Baldwin City campus.
“One of the people who has taught me to see the world differently over the past few years is sitting among you today, a person who ironically has never actually ‘seen’ me,” said Brown, former chair of the psychology department at Baker and current State Representative for the 10th District of the Kansas house.
With his right hand placed on a shoulder of a classmate, Rogers was guided to the commencement platform at the Collins Center. Blind since birth, Rogers walked without assistance across the raised stage before being presented his diploma by Baker President Pat Long as more than 2,000 in attendance applauded.
“I am a strong believer in God and that he will walk with me as I go through the good times and struggles,” said Rogers, who received the loudest ovation at commencement. “I feel like I have been pretty fortunate with what I have been given.”
Faith, family and friendship served Rogers well as he pursued a business degree. Born with microphthalmia, a condition in which the eyes never fully develop, Rogers embraced his time at Baker. A member of Zeta Chi fraternity, Rogers was a greeter at the University’s weekly chapel services, president of Cardinal Key and excelled playing the piano.
“I think God does a lot in terms of giving me resources,” Rogers said. “I have been very blessed with a really good family. A lot of visually impaired people don’t get jobs or do well in society because they don’t have an effective upbringing.” Small classes, academic and music scholarships, and a campus easy to navigate attracted Rogers to Baker. After he enrolled at the University in the fall of 2004, he was determined to receive his diploma.
“I knew I would eventually graduate,” said Rogers, who might attend law school. “I come from a family with a long line of graduates. It should be a bigger deal. It was kind of expected.”
Near the end of his keynote address, Brown was reminded how Rogers taught him the importance of other senses in addition to sight. “And I smile every time Greg bids goodbye to someone with the phrase, ‘It was good to see you,’ Brown said.
To see more about Greg Rogers’ story, go to www2.ljworld.com/stories/2008/nov/28/no-vision-required/