Volunteer Spotlight
Volunteering Offers Marcie Rogers, ’69, M.S.Ed. ’79, “New Dimension to Retirement”

By Eva Richards

marcie-rogers-croppedMarcie Rogers poses for a photo with NIU's beloved mascot, Mission.

After a 34-year career as a high school English teacher, Marcie Rogers, ’69, M.S.Ed. ’79, is enjoying unforeseen opportunities and adventures through her volunteer work and travel with the NIU Alumni Association (NIUAA). She recently sat down to tell us more about her exciting and fulfilling experiences.

NIUAA: Tell us about your experience leading up to and choosing NIU.
Rogers: I really had wanted to go to a private school like Valparaiso or Concordia River Forest, but I did not have the tuition money. As an alternative, one of my high school friends, who was two years ahead of me and a student at NIU, invited me to visit her on campus and attend several classes. After doing so, I knew NIU is where I wanted to be. As a result of my high school class rank, I received a Teacher Education Scholarship from the State of Illinois, which paid my tuition at NIU for all four years. I also received four hours of credit at NIU for an advanced calculus class I took my senior year at East Aurora High School.

NIUAA: In a few sentences, please share the impact NIU has had on your life. Rogers: As a student NIU prepared me for my 34-year career as a high school English teacher, and as an alumna it has provided me with opportunities to volunteer at the University in the role of recording secretary for the Greek Alumni Council (GAC) for the past 12 years. Also, NIU has a wonderful travel program with 8-10 trips planned each year offering a wide variety of trips for all tastes.

NIUAA: How did NIU prepare you for your current profession?     
Rogers: The required and elective courses, as well as my student teaching experience, helped prepare me to be an effective teacher of English at the high school level. After graduation I received teaching offers from four different high schools in the western suburbs of Chicago. Making a choice, I stayed at Oswego High School in Oswego, Illinois for 34 years helping thousands of students prepare for their futures both personally and professionally.

NIUAA: What are you most proud of in your professional career?     
Rogers: That's a tough question that can be answered in many ways, but in general, I am most proud of partnering with my students to help them academically, as well as to help them personally. Even today, when former students approach me, I love to hear them tell me that they enjoyed my class, that I was their favorite teacher, that I helped them become better writers, that I inspired them to become educators, and that I shaped them to be the person they are today. Powerful words.

NIUAA: What would you want to tell current and prospective students about NIU?     
Rogers: NIU has an abundance of opportunities academically, athletically, socially and philanthropically within a diverse student community close to a major metropolitan city. Still, Chicago is far enough away from the University to keep students on campus during the week and weekends. NIU cares about its students and wants them to succeed every academic year so that in four years they will earn a degree that is marketable in today’s competitive society. 

NIUAA: What do you enjoy most about volunteering? 
Rogers: In December 2004 my husband and I attended the Silicon Valley Bowl in San Jose where NIU played Troy State. At the pregame reception attended by about 1,000 Huskie fans, I ran into a Sigma Pi who asked me to attend a meeting of Greek alumni to discuss how to get them involved with the NIU Alumni Association. I have been involved ever since, and what I enjoy the most about volunteering is the satisfaction that comes with encouraging and helping former sorority and fraternity members re-engage with the University, getting them to attend events on and off campus, joining the NIUAA, and eventually becoming mentors to students and donors to the University. 

NIUAA: What does volunteering add to your life?
Rogers: Being a volunteer at NIU for the past 15 years has given a dimension to my retirement that I never saw coming. I have been able to re-engage with former classmates and Alpha Omicron Pi sisters, meet NIU faculty and leaders, attend important events, both on and off campus, travel with other alumni, and be a mentor to students within certain fields of study. I would encourage any alums who are so inclined to seriously consider volunteering for one of the many opportunities available at NIU.

If you are looking for other ways to be an NIU volunteer, please check out NIU Nexus, or contact Liz McKee at lmckee1@niu.edu or 815-753-7400.