Brother Rogers, MS 85 Selected as 2017 Staats Award Winner

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In May 2017, the Truman Foundation presented the 2017 Staats Award to William “Brother” Rogers in a ceremony at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri.


Brother is the associate director of the John C. Stennis Center for Public Service in Starkville, Mississippi. Before joining the Stennis Center in 1990, Brother served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey. Brother graduated magna cum laude in 1987 from the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar from Mississippi. He holds a master's degree in public affairs (MPA) from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He grew up in Brandon, Mississippi and was a high school exchange student in Kyoto, Japan.


Brother is active in community affairs. He is president of the Mississippi Historical Society and serves as a board member of both the Mississippi Heritage Trust and the Mississippi Humanities Council. He is president of the Board of Directors of Friends of the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum. He is a past president of the Starkville chapter of Parents for Public Schools. He is a past president and past lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis Club of Starkville and past vice president of the Starkville Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate. He is a past president of the Board of Directors for the United Way of North Central Mississippi and was the 2002 chair of their annual fund raising campaign. Under his leadership, the United Way set a fundraising record. He served eight years as the facilitator for the Race Relations Team of the Starkville Area Chamber of Commerce and is responsible for the Cool Papa Bell historical marker in Starkville. He chaired the Unity Park Committee, which created a park in Starkville to honor Mississippians who have improved race relations in the state.  He is a guest columnist for the Starkville Daily News. Brother was a scout leader from 1999 to 2011 and served two three-year terms as chairman of the Troop Committee for Boy Scout Troop 14. He won the 2011 Bert Reed Award for Outstanding Adult Leadership in Troop 14.  He has coached youth soccer and youth baseball teams.  He attends Starkville First United Methodist Church, where he has taught Sunday School and served twice on the Staff Parish Relations Committee.


Brother has won two Awards of Merit from the Mississippi Historical Society, one for his work on Unity Park in Starkville and another for photographing historical markers across the state.


Brother was an adjunct professor from 2008 to 2014 in the Honors College at the University of Alabama, where he taught a course on women and political leadership.  He was a mentor in the Starkville public schools for six years.


In the spring of 2000, he spent four weeks in China with a delegation from Mississippi on a Rotary Group Study Exchange trip.  In 2015, Brother toured Turkey with The Institute of Interfaith Dialog.  An avid traveler, he has visited five continents, all 50 U.S. state capitals and more than 30 national parks.  Brother is an avid Alabama football fan and has read at least one biography of every U.S. president.  He and his son Andrew, a junior at Mississippi State University, enjoy music, sports and traveling.


Brother Rogers is a 1985 Truman Scholar from Mississippi. The Truman Foundation established the Staats Award in 1993 to honor Elmer Staats, the former Chairman of the Truman Foundation. Mr. Staats was Deputy Director of the Bureau of the Budget during the Truman Administration and went on to serve six more Presidents before retiring in 1981 as Comptroller General. The award recognizes Truman alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and have made significant contributions to the Truman Scholar community.