Gardner-Webb University Trustee, Alumnus and Honorary Doctorate Recipient Passes Away

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Dr. Emmett Harvey Rogers Jr. Remembered for Leadership, Compassion for People, Love of God

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A Gardner-Webb University trustee, alumnus and honorary doctorate recipient is being remembered for his extensive leadership, care and compassion for people and his love of God. Dr. Emmett Harvey Rogers Jr., longtime pastor, education and business leader, and member of the GWU family, passed away July 11 at the age of 72.

“I speak for the entire Gardner-Webb University community in expressing our deep sadness in the passing of Dr. E. Harvey Rogers,” shares GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner. “Dr. Rogers was a genuinely devout Christian who had a profoundly positive impact on so many people in so many areas of life, too many to list.”

Rogers first felt a call to pastoral ministry in the 1970s while working as an automobile salesman and as a store manager for Sears and Roebuck. Answering that calling, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Gardner-Webb in 1978 and then completed his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He went on to serve as pastor of three churches during 30 years in ministry, including Forestville Baptist in Wake Forest, N.C., Fallston Baptist in Fallston, N.C., and First Baptist Church of Mooresville, N.C.

In 2012, Rogers was presented with the Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree at Gardner-Webb, in recognition of his service to the University and the community. In addition to his work as a trustee, Rogers served Gardner-Webb as a member of the Board of Ministers and as an adjunct professor. “Gardner-Webb bestowed upon him the honorary doctorate because he embodied in such a wonderful way the very purpose of our University—to advance the Kingdom of God,” Bonner explains.

Earlier this year, Rogers was recognized as Gardner-Webb’s honoree for the 2016 North Carolina Baptist Heritage Award in an event cosponsored by the N.C. Baptist Foundation and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, an organization in which Rogers held several leadership positions. He also served on a variety of directing boards for organizations including North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Baptist Retirement Homes of North Carolina, Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and the Mooresville Chamber of Commerce.

Following his retirement from pastoral ministry, Rogers returned to the automobile industry in an administrative position with the company owned by fellow GWU trustee and 2012 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipient Randy Marion. “We originally met the very week that I went in business when he was getting started at First Baptist Church. We became really good friends, and we had this common bond of the automobile business,” Marion reflects. “Harvey’s mother credited the Lord for him and me coming together. She said he needed me and I needed him.

“He always had a love for the automobile business, but he had a greater love for the Lord. He brought me to Gardner-Webb to serve, and for that I am very thankful. He was a great mentor, and I really am going to miss him.”

Bonner agrees. “Speaking personally, few individuals have had a more positive influence upon my own outlook on life—not only his example, but also wonderful conversations I had with him. Even in the midst of his struggle with cancer, these conversations and his very presence were uplifting. My life is better for having known him. I will miss him.”

A service to honor Rogers will be held on Thursday, July 14, at 2 p.m. at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Mooresville, N.C. The family will receive friends in the church sanctuary after the service.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).