Endowed nursing scholarship helps Pacific students make a difference

Pacific Regent Janet Rogers

Pacific Regent Janet Rogers

On May 18, during National Nurses Month, University of the Pacific celebrated the first graduates from its Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing program. 

Among those most excited for the graduates was Pacific Regent Janet Rogers. 

“I hope they get that feeling of making a difference in somebody’s life, because it is the greatest gift to get that feeling,” Rogers said.

It’s a feeling Rogers, a retired nurse herself, knows well. And it’s one she now gets from supporting Pacific students as both a regent and a donor.

Rogers and her wife Bev LaBelle established the Rogers and LaBelle Endowed Scholarship for Nursing, the program’s first endowed scholarship, in 2021. They eagerly leveraged the Powell Match, which has doubled the impact of new endowments since 2013.

“Bev and I set up a scholarship because the new program and its students needed validation of how it—and they—will make a difference in the world,” Rogers explained.

The first Rogers and LaBelle Scholarship was awarded in 2023. In March, the couple presented the award to next year’s recipient during his cohort’s white coat ceremony.

“Janet and Bev's support is changing our students' lives while also bringing much-needed nurses into our community,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, founding dean of the School of Health Sciences. “They are impacting the profession, and what's more, every student who receives their scholarship knows they are not only supported financially, but also are deeply cared for by two exceptional people, eager to see them succeed. 

“We will forever be grateful for Janet and Bev’s partnership, and for the great love behind that partnership.”

From left to right: Bev LaBelle (Regent Roger's wife), Regent Janet Rogers and 2024-2025 scholarship recipient, Calvin Nauer.

(L-R) Bev LaBelle, 2024-25 scholarship recipient Calvin Nauer and Regent Janet Rogers

Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, vice president for development and alumni relations, concurs.

“Janet and Bev are a shining example of the impact of philanthropy,” Biedermann said. “They come alongside our students financially, but also take time to really get to know the students, to build relationships and follow their journeys. They love our students well.”

In 2021, Rogers joined Pacific’s Board of Regents, which oversees the university’s finances and mission. A longtime passionate advocate for access to education, she welcomed the opportunity to play a larger role in students’ success.

“I want to make sure that I am a voice and an advocate for the students. It’s the same thing in nursing—you’re an advocate for patients’ health and a voice for them when they can’t speak for themselves. I take that seriously, and I carry it into being a regent,” she said.

Rogers and LaBelle both serve on the board of the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation, named after Rogers’ grandmother. Through the foundation the family created the Rogers Scholars Endowment to support Pacific students pursuing education careers.

Pacific is one of nine U.S. colleges and universities with Rogers Scholars programs. Each fall, the family personally visits all nine. The Rogers also have made significant contributions to the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center and to Manor Hall.

Whether networking with the Rogers Scholars or encouraging new nurses, Rogers and LaBelle are making Pacific students feel seen and appreciated.

“We like to meet them, validate them and let them know we believe in them,” Rogers said.

“We’re so excited to be a part of their success. They do all the hard work, and we’re just blessed to be able to help them.”