Dr. Ralph Rogers grew up in a neighborhood of African American professionals, educators, doctors, surgeons, engineers and sports legends, such as Larry Doby and Aubry Lewis. Education and sports were at the epicentre of Dr. Rogers’ development, as he had the distinct pleasure of playing Lacrosse for Montclair High School in New Jersey under the legendary coach Gil Gibbs and, later on, at the University of Delaware. These major events and individuals helped shape and define the man Dr. Rogers is today.
Dedication, perseverance, and integrity have helped to position Dr. Rogers at the forefront of medicine and professional sports medicine – an expert in tele-medicine and digital health, Dr. Rogers practices family medicine, and specializes in health promotion & disease prevention. Today, Dr. Ralph is the medical director of the London Sports Injury Clinic on Harley Street, London; one of the world’s most prestigious areas for medical establishments. He also serves as medical advisor for the National Basketball Association.
Along his decorated journey, Dr. Rogers obtained his Ph.D. in exercise physiology at the University of Maryland and on Monday, December 14, 2015, he returned to give the keynote during the winter Doctoral Commencement Celebration. “As educators, one of the greatest things my parents ever gave me was my perspective on education,” says Dr. Rogers during his keynote. “I was taught, it is the most valuable tool we have at our disposal.”
Over the last 10 years the University of Maryland has consistently ranked in the top 10 of universities nationally in the production of African American doctoral graduates. From 2010-2015 the University of Maryland ranked 2nd among Association of American Universities (AUU) institutions and tied for 8th among all universities in number of African Americans completing doctorates.
As a young black man with huge ambitions growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s in America, it wasn’t easy for Dr. Rogers – even in the suburbs of New Jersey. “What I have found in my life is that the system can sometimes be against you,” Dr. Rogers tells the doctoral students. “During this time in American history, one could argue that the odds were stacked against me, but even at a young age I did not care about the odds. I was going to make it no matter what or who was in front of me. We all know life is not always fair, and everyone will have their own set of circumstances or cross to bear.”
PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), Funded by the National Science Foundation, is a university system-wide effort to increase the number of minority students receiving doctoral degrees and entering the professoriate in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Dr Rogers expresses to the graduates that “in order to be successful you are going to have to make some crucial decisions, and sometimes you will not get it right.” He goes on to say “my humble advise to you is don’t waste your time and energy finding blame on why you didn’t get that job, that long sought out promotion or any of a host of other things. We will always find some type of prejudice facing us. Whether it be racism, sexism or any other kind of ‘ism.’ Just find a way to make it.”
University of Maryland References: University of Maryland office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment. Survey of Earned Doctorates, National Science Foundation.