RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Former Chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education Jim Rogers has lost his long fight with cancer. Rogers was 75-years-old and passed away in Las Vegas Saturday night.
He leaves behind his wife, Beverly, three children and eight grandchildren.
Rogers donated heavily to education, having given away over $275 million to colleges and universities. Time magazine went as far as naming Rogers among the top 12 philanthropists in the nation.
Many who knew him called him a champion of education in Nevada.
"With the passing of Jim Rogers, Nevada has lost one of its most outspoken and fearless advocates. Jim was nationally recognized as a successful philanthropist and business leader. In the state of Nevada, he was so much more. Jim dedicated his time and resources to advancing our education system and as chancellor of higher education, was fierce in his commitment to make sure our students had the resources they needed to succeed," writes Governor Sandoval in a statement.
Those who sat on the board with Rogers say his spit-fire reputation was a reflection of his deep passion for education.
"There is no person in the state of Nevada that was a greater advocate for education than Jim Rogers,” says former colleague, Doug Hill. “He advocated for K-12 and for higher education, and he put his money where his mouth was."
Rogers wore many hats: Chancellor, businessman, philanthropist, car enthusiast, but for Doug Hill and Howard Rosenberg, Rogers was a respected, larger-than-life colleague.
"And a construct largely of his own making,” says former colleague, Rosenberg. “He would will something to be and many times it would come about just by virtue of his will."
Even when learning of roger's passing, Rosenberg drew his reaction from Roger’s spirited demeanor.
"[I thought] it couldn't possibly be true. Other people die. Jim doesn't, because he would have bargained with God."
As colleagues, Rosenberg says they disagreed and fought a lot, but passion is what fueled
Rogers as he fought to better Nevada’s education system.
"With Jim, there was no part way on anything,” says Hill. “He was 100% one way or the other and that's the way people ought to be living. Because Jim believed if you wanted to do something good, you don't wait until the next life, you do it in this life. And he was passionate doing good for others."
Rogers was also the longtime former owner of KRNV News 4 and sold the station recently, along with KENV in Elko.