Education Week teacher shares stories of women who helped shape BYU

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Education Week teacher Mali McKenzie gives a lecture titled “Faith and Effort: Sandra Rogers and BYU Abroad.” Rogers had a lasting impact on BYU relations and programs abroad. (Joshua Rust)

Education Week teacher Mali McKenzie shared the story of Sandra “Sandy” Rogers, who used her expertise abroad to help found the International Vice President’s office and strengthen the campus motto, “The World is Our Campus.”

Throughout Education Week, McKenzie gave a series of classes titled “Shape Your World through Righteousness: Stories of Women Who Shaped BYU.” She centered her class on Rogers on the final day.

During Rogers’s tenure as BYU International Vice President, she worked to improve BYU’s international image through extensive outreach programs abroad. According to McKenzie, Rogers “provided vision, increased BYU student impact abroad and cultivated BYU relationships.”

According to McKenzie, Rogers was prepared to effectively occupy her position as BYU International Vice President from 2001-2021 by pivotal experiences earlier in life.

Rogers grew up in Arizona where she witnessed her father lose the use of his legs in a car accident and then work diligently to walk again. After witnessing his determined rehab, Rogers learned she had to work to attain miracles in her life.

After deciding to attend college at BYU, Rogers left home and eventually settled on a major in nursing, which gave her opportunities to serve others abroad in places such as the Philippines, Nigeria, Jordan and Romania.

While in the Philippines, Rogers served as the assistant to the health missionaries there and learned to coordinate and organize health fairs, transportation for missionaries and other logistics.

“This idea of using resources and spreading out beyond just the regular membership and to use the people in the community to benefit like that was going to come into play in future times, especially when she became Vice President,” McKenzie said.

After returning from her mission in the Philippines, Rogers did humanitarian work across the globe, became a nursing professor at BYU and eventually held a position as Dean of the BYU nursing program until university leadership asked her to serve as the International Vice President.

McKenzie emphasized that the contributions Rogers made as International Vice President fulfilled some of the prophetic promises Spencer W. Kimball made in 1975 during his famous “Second Century” address to BYU.

McKenzie reiterated the lesson Rogers had learned with her father.

“Dreams of prophetic utterances are not self executing. They are fulfilled only by righteous and devoted people making the prophecies come true,” McKenzie said.

For researchers like McKenzie, Rogers’s story exemplifies the BYU motto “The World is Our Campus” and leaves a lasting legacy of service abroad.

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