John W. Rogers, Jr.
|John W. Rogers, Jr.|
March 31, 1958 |
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||Bachelor of Arts (1980)|
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Occupation||Founder, Chairman & CEO, Ariel Investments, LLC|
|Spouse(s)||Desirée Rogers (divorced)
Sharon Fairley (divorcing)
John Rogers, Sr.
John Washington Rogers, Jr. (born March 31, 1958) is an investor who founded Ariel Capital Management (now Ariel Investments, LLC)in 1983. He is chairman and CEO of the company, which is the United States' largest minority-run mutual fund firm. He has been a regular contributor to Forbes magazine for most of the last decade. Active in the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, Rogers was a leader of the 2009 Inauguration committee.
Rogers was appointed as the Board President of the Chicago Park District for six years in the 1990s. He has also was appointed as board member to several companies, as a leader of several organizations affiliated with his collegiate alma mater, and as a leader in youth education in his native Chicago. In 2007, Rogers was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for the breadth and depth of his service to many organizations. While a student at Princeton, he was captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.
Rogers was raised in the Hyde Park community area of Chicago's South Side, and graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1976. At the age of 12 his father started giving him dividend-paying stocks. He went to college at Princeton University, where he used his free time to glean market information at his local stock brokerage and where he was influenced by Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street.
He was a college basketball teammate of Craig Robinson, and he served as captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team. He had a habit of perusing business journals and calling his broker from stadium payphones. Rogers credits Pete Carril, his basketball coach, as his greatest college influence because Carril stressed precision and teamwork.
Rogers studied economics at Princeton. After graduating in 1980, he worked for William Blair & Company in Chicago. A few years later, and with the financial backing of family and friends, he opened his own firm, starting with the Municipal Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago as his first account.
He is the only son of Jewel Lafontant and John Rogers, Sr. His mother Jewel was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1946. She became a prominent Republican lawyer, and she nominated Richard Nixon, who won the Republican Party Presidential Nomination, at the 1960 Republican National Convention. His father was a Tuskegee airman pilot with over 100 combat missions of service during World War II and an eventual Cook County judge for twenty years. His parents divorced in 1961 and his mother died in 1997. Rogers was three years old when his parents divorced. He had a daughter, Victoria, with his former wife Desirée Rogers.
One of Rogers' great-grandfathers owned the Stratford Hotel in Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as The Black Wall Street. The hotel was destroyed in the Tulsa race riot. Rogers helped finance Before They Die!, a documentary detailing some survivor accounts, and made a brief appearance in the film.
On December 28, 2002, Rogers married Sharon Fairley who was also a divorcee. At the time of her 2002 wedding announcement in The New York Times, Fairley, who is also a Princeton alumna, was the executive director of consumer marketing and trademark development at Pharmacia. Fairley currently is an assistant United States Attorney in Chicago.
Rogers has a special overnight delivery subscription with BusinessWeek that is delivered via Federal Express so it is received a day earlier than the regular public. He still does not use computers or e-mail. Rogers is known for wearing gray pinstripe business suits to work. On the basketball court, he wears black-rimmed goggles.
Rogers also has a publicly disclosed set of habits. He has had a diet, which includes on average more than one meal a day from McDonald's at least since college. He only eats simple familiar foods and will return an order because a vegetable touched his meat. His family's long-time (over 40 years) housekeeper, Melba Pryer, claims that he buys things such as shaving cream and deodorant in sixes and that he changes his toothbrush every other week. He collects teddy bears (especially Winnie the Pooh).
Three-on-three basketball has been a continuing part of his life. As of 2000, he had a team with the second and fourth all-time leading scorers at Princeton, Kit Mueller (class of 1991) and Robinson (1983) and the school's second leading three point shooter Sean Jackson (1992). Between 1996 and 2000 his team had won 12 of 17 tournaments that they had entered. He scored the game-winning basket of Chicago's three-on-three basketball tournament on a team with Arne Duncan, Robinson, and Kit Mueller. Rogers and Robinson were among those invited to practice with Michael Jordan as he prepared for his comeback. He claims to be the first person to have beaten Jordan in a game of one-on-one at one of his fantasy basketball camps. Among the witnesses to the victory, which was reported in Sports Illustrated, were John Thompson, Jr., Mike Krzyzewski and fellow fantasy participant Damon Wayans.
Ariel Capital Management/Ariel Investments, LLC
Rogers was one of the hot stock pickers of the 1980s. Rogers uses a value investing strategy, which has been a problem at times when growth stocks have been the better-performing investment class. However, his firm and its mutual funds have often been among the industry performance leaders and have on average outperformed the market. He eschews investing in new companies or making investments in companies that have no track record. For example, rather than invest in AIDS-related stocks, he would prefer to invest in hospitals that treat AIDS victims. His typical holding period is four or five years rather than the 14-month period of the average mutual fund. Mellody Hobson serves as the president of the company.
The growth of his company has been steady. He founded the firm in July 1983 with $10,000, which he turned into $23,170 by the end of February 1984. He had financial backing from his mother and other friends and relatives. The Ariel fund became public on November 6, 1986. In November 2000, he had 41 employees. In February 2002, the company had 51 employees and more than 120 institutional clients (including United Airlines, ChevronTexaco, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System), which grew to include institutional clients such as Wal-Mart and PepsiCo by April 2005. The company has over 100 employees as of 2008. In 2008, the company changed its name to Ariel Investments, LLC.
Rogers has been a regular contributor to Forbes for many years and online archives of his commentaries go back as far as 2001. He provides regular personal finance commentaries in a column that has recently been appearing under the title "The Patient Investor".
On February 23, 2008, Rogers became the first African-American winner of a Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for his service to the Princeton alumni community, the Chicago community, the African American community and the financial community. In 1994, Time featured him as one of its 50 leaders under 40. Rogers is co-chairman of Jesse Jackson's annual Wall Street Project minority conference, chairman of the Chicago Urban League, a member of four corporate boards and was a leading campaigner for Princeton basketball legend and United States Senator Bill Bradley's 2000 United States presidential campaign. Three of the boards he serves on are for Fortune 500 companies: Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald's. He is a trustee of the University of Chicago. He has served numerous civic, educational and arts organizations as a director or trustee, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. At Princeton, he was a trustee of the University from 1990 to 1994 and more recently has served as a member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA) and the Princeton Varsity Club board of directors, as well as the Alumni Schools Committee. In the early 1990s, Rogers served as a fundraising leader in Project Vote voter registration efforts led by current United States President Barack Obama. He has been an advocate for greater diversity in upper-level corporate positions.
Rogers and his company were part of a network of community partners that supported the Ariel Community Academy, which emphasizes financial literacy in its curriculum. Rogers donates both time and money to the academy: he has designed curricula and brings students to board meetings. As a result of his money and time investment 80% of the eighth-grade graduates from the academy are accepted at elite area high schools. Rogers adopted a class of 40 sixth graders at a cost of $200,000 per year through the "I Have A Dream Foundation". He expected to pay for college for about 30 of the students.
He was part of the inner circle of the Barack Obama presidential campaign. He is a long-time Obama associate who serves as the co-chair of Obama's Illinois finance committee and who has been a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates. He served along with Bill Daley, Pat Ryan, Penny Pritzker and Julianna Smoot on Barack Obama 2009 presidential inauguration committee. In June 2009, Rogers became chairman of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools' board.
Since late December 2011, the basketball court in the main competition gym at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools has been named after Rogers. Rogers graduated from and played basketball himself at University High School. His name was printed on the floor during Winter Break of the 2011-12 school year, and the court's new title will officially be adopted on February 8, 2012, in a ceremony corresponding with U-High's home game against conference rival Northridge Prep.
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The University of Chicago Laboratory School is dedicating the John W. Rogers Jr. Basketball Court at the school on Wednesday, with a reception to follow after the varsity boys game.