Lorene L. Rogers, who was the first woman to head a major research university when she became president of the University of Texas in 1975, died last night (Jan. 11) at the age of 94 at an assisted living facility here.
Rogers broke her leg in the fall and did not fully recover, according to her niece, Donna O’Dell.
As Rogers requested, there will be no funeral service. A memorial service at The University of Texas at Austin is planned for a later date.
“Lorene Rogers faced challenges with grace and intelligence,” said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. “She studied chemistry when it was a field dominated by men. She was the first and only woman to serve as president of the university, a position she accepted under difficult circumstances. She was not afraid to make tough decisions. Lorene Rogers made a great contribution to UT and we will miss her.”
Rogers was president of the university from 1975-79. She joined the University of Texas as a research scientist in 1949 after earning master’s and doctor’s degrees in biochemistry at the university. Rogers earlier earned a bachelor’s degree in English from North Texas State Teachers College, now the University of North Texas.
She became a professor in 1962. In 1964, she was named assistant dean of the Graduate School and was promoted to associate dean the following year. She was appointed to a newly created vice presidential position in 1971, and was named president ad interim in 1974. The following year she was named president.
She is survived by her sister, Beulah Conatser of Dallas, as well as nieces and nephews.