Advent Gift Boosts Wellness Programs

March 9, 2017
Enriching Sewanee Experience, wellness, health, parents
David and Deborah Rogers
As Advent Semester began, a substantial gift was made for the Wellness Center from Deborah and David Rogers, P '12, P '18. Advent is a season of new life and beginnings so their gift was timely. The Rogers family runs a charitable foundation in Texas, and through camping and retreat ministries, encourage spiritual, emotional and relational wellness for the 27,000 adults and children who experience their property in the Texas Hill Country annually.
In that context, supporting wellness programs at Sewanee seems natural. "Our work in Texas fits hand in glove with the Wellness Center's programming, " David said. "We have particular interest in people in their 20's. In this time  of life, young people are transitioning to independence. There can be turmoil in this period, spiritually and emotionally, therefore it's important to provide proper care."
In making their gift, the Rogers family hopes the Wellness Center will have the resources needed to respond quickly to prevent lasting ramifications later in life. In particular, David and Deborah hope their gift can shorten wait times for appointments. "We understand the Wellness Center does a good job serving Sewanee students, yet providing additional counselors is necessary as student population grows,"  Deborah said. "We want to direct our gift to additional care and begin to eradicate the stigma concerning mental health. We hope Sewanee can provide students rapid response when they seek therapy or need medication. David and I feel strongly about providing resources that can help students thrive."
While developing a new wellness and recreation commons on University Avenue is a focus of the Stronger, Truer Sewanee campaign, the Rogers family's emphasis is on the programming that takes place within the walls. As parents of graduates and a current student (Katherine Rogers McAlister C '12, Rob McAlister C '12, Jackson Rogers C '18), they have insight into the joys and challenges of being a Sewanee student.  
The couple structured their gift so that part is immediately available and the rest will support an endowment that will sustain those programs in the years to come. "We hope that other parents and alumni, including our own children, will see the importance of student wellness and that the University will raise additional funds. We saw an opportunity in the campaign to support an institution that we care for deeply.  Sewanee has become family to us, and  we are  thrilled to support mental health accessibility which speaks to our core values as a family", says David. "We want to see students flourish!"