Pat Rogers, a former York University faculty member, died on Jan. 21 at the age of 78, after a hard-fought battle with cancer.
Known to many as “Dr. Pat Rogers,” a title she would often roll her eyes at, she had a remarkable academic career that spanned several institutions and many roles.
Born just after the war, in Woking, England, to a Scottish mother and a Welsh father, Rogers spent her early years in Belfast, Northern Ireland, followed by Cardiff, Wales, before embarking on a mathematics degree at the University of Oxford – and being one of few women in her class of ’65.
While pursuing her PhD at the London School of Economics, she taught at North London Polytechnic, Goldsmiths’ College and the University of London’s Bedford College, and then relocated to Canada to become a faculty member in mathematics and education at York University in Toronto.
After being tenured as a full-time professor at York, Rogers became the founding director of the Centre of the Support of Teaching, and her legacy in that role remains in the form of a plaque in Vari Hall’s Seminar Room 3003. In keeping with what her former colleagues describe as her boisterous teaching style that demanded chairs and tables be moveable to encourage discussion, the plaque honouring her is the only thing in the room that is bolted down.
Rogers left York in 2000 to pursue two terms as dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor, where she helped develop community-focused programs and where she was consistently energized by a group of academics who remained her good friends. She ended her career as associate vice-president of teaching and learning at Wilfrid Laurier University.
During her career, Rogers was the recipient of numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an award she helped establish as president of the Society for Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. She was also the first Canadian and the first woman to be a appointed as the annual Pólya Lecturer for the Mathematical Association of America.
Diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2021, Rogers continuously impressed her family, friends, and many health practitioners with the tenacious and spirited way she battled it – the same tenacity and spirit that made its mark at York University and beyond.