LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Jim Rogers, philanthropist, education advocate and owner of KSNV-TV, the NBC television affiliate for Southern Nevada, died Saturday evening at his Las Vegas home. He was 75.
A 1956 graduate of Las Vegas High School, Rogers earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a law degree, both from the University of Arizona. He also earned a master of law degree from the University of Southern California.
In addition to KSNV, Rogers owned several other television stations in the West.
In his career as an attorney and businessman, Rogers was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Arizona, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Albertson College of Idaho, Carroll College of Montana, and Kentucky Wesleyan College; and a master of laws in international law from the University of Arizona.
His commitment to improving higher education in Nevada led Rogers to accept appointment as interim chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education in May 2004. He led the system of state universities and colleges for five years at a salary of a dollar a year.
His passionate support of education also was evident as Rogers and his wife, Beverly, made substantial financial contributions to various colleges and universities. Their gift of $165 million to the University of Arizona, College of Law is the largest gift to the University of Arizona and the largest gift to any American law school. In November 1998, the Arizona Board of Regents renamed the law school The James E. Rogers College of Law. Rogers was listed as one of the top 12 philanthropists in the nation by Time magazine, having given or pledged more than $275 million to several campuses.
In a recent televised interview with KSNV’s executive vice president of news, Robert Stoldal, Rogers explained that his close friend and business partner, Las Vegas attorney Louis “Uncle Lou” Wiener, deeply influenced his decision to donate his money. “I learned it from Lou. Lou used to say you give it away with a warm hand … meaning that it doesn’t do any good and there is no real pleasure when everything you’ve got you leave by will, ‘cause you’re dead and in the ground.”
Rogers never shied away from voicing his opinions or delivering editorials on his station. When News 3 aired stories investigating the relatively low taxes paid by international mining companies for the billions of dollars of gold and other precision metals taken out of Nevada, the Nevada Mining Association cancelled several thousands of dollars in advertising. Rogers responded on the airwaves: “Bullying may get the association the results it wants from the Legislature,” Rogers stated, “but bullying will never stop us from reporting the truth. We don’t succumb to blackmail.”
When he was introduced to Twitter and Facebook, Rogers immediately became a fan of social media, frequently posting his political thoughts, criticisms of politicians, and comments on social issues.
Through Rogers’ interest in Western and cowboy movie history he discovered the California town of Lone Pine, which has been used as a venue for movies since the era of Hollywood silent filmmaking. Rogers created and financed “The Beverly and Jim Rogers Lone Pine Film History Museum” that celebrates and preserves the diverse movie history of Lone Pine, Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra where hundreds of films have been shot. Many of the museum displays and memorabilia were found and contributed by Rogers.
Rogers also collected more than 300 automobiles, many of which are antiques. All the cars are fully restored and most are functional. His collection celebrates American-made automobiles with a few foreign cars favored by U.S. collectors.
Rogers is survived by wife Beverly and three children. You will find more details about his life in the coming days on mynews3.com and KSNV-TV Channel 3.