John W. Rogers Jr.

John Washington Rogers Jr. (born March 31, 1958) is an investor, philanthropist and founder of Ariel Capital Management (now Ariel Investments, LLC),[1] founded in 1983.[2] He is chairman and CEO of the company,[3] which is the United States' largest minority-run mutual fund firm.[4] He has been a regular contributor to Forbes magazine for most of the last decade.[5] Active in the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, Rogers was a leader of the 2009 inauguration committee.[6][7]

John Rogers
20120721 John W. Rogers, Jr.JPG
Personal details
John Washington Rogers Jr.

(1958-03-31) March 31, 1958 (age 63)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Desirée Rogers (divorced)
Sharon Fairley (divorced)
RelativesJewel Lafontant (Mother)
EducationPrinceton University (BA)

Rogers was appointed as the Board President of the Chicago Park District for six years in the 1990s.[8][9] He has also been appointed as board member to several companies, as a leader of several organizations affiliated with his collegiate alma mater, and as a leader in youth education in his native Chicago. In 2007, Rogers was honored with the Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for the breadth and depth of his service to many organizations. While a student at Princeton, he was captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.[4]

Early lifeEdit


He is the only son of Jewel Lafontant and John W. Rogers Sr. His mother was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School in 1946.[10] She became a prominent Republican lawyer, and she nominated Richard Nixon, who won the Republican Party Presidential Nomination, at the 1960 Republican National Convention. His father was a Tuskegee airman pilot with over 100 combat missions of service during World War II and an eventual Cook County judge for twenty years. His parents divorced in 1961 and his mother died in 1997. Rogers was three years old when his parents divorced.[11]

One of Rogers' great-grandfathers owned the Stratford Hotel in Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as The Black Wall Street. The hotel was destroyed in the Tulsa race riot. Rogers helped finance Before They Die!, a documentary detailing some survivor accounts, and made a brief appearance in the film.[12] Another of his ancestors is the Yoruba royal-turned-American slave Scipio Vaughan, whose family has had many prominent members over the years.[13]


Rogers was raised in the Hyde Park community area of Chicago's South Side, and graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1976. At the age of 12 his father started giving him dividend-paying stocks. He went to college at Princeton University, where he spent time at his local stock brokerage and where he was influenced by Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street.[9]

He was a college basketball teammate of Craig Robinson, and was captain of the 1979–80 Ivy League co-champion Princeton Tigers men's basketball team.[4] He had a habit of perusing business journals and calling his broker from stadium payphones.[11] Rogers credits Pete Carril, his basketball coach, as his greatest college influence because Carril stressed precision and teamwork.[11]

Rogers studied economics at Princeton. After graduating in 1980, he worked for William Blair & Company in Chicago. A few years later, and with the financial backing of family and friends, he opened his own firm, starting with the Municipal Employees' Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago as his first account.[9]


Ariel Capital ManagementEdit

Rogers is the founder of Ariel Capital Management.[14][15] The firm was established in July 1983 with $10,000 in financial support from friends and family.[16][17] The Ariel fund became public on November 6, 1986.[18] In November 2000, he had 41 employees.[11] In February 2002, the company had 51 employees and more than 120 institutional clients (including United Airlines, ChevronTexaco, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System), which grew to include institutional clients such as Wal-Mart and PepsiCo by April 2005.[19] The company has over 100 employees as of 2008.[16] In 2008, the company changed its name to Ariel Investments, LLC.[20]

Rogers also has served on the boards of directors of other publicly traded Chicago-based corporations, including Exelon,[21] and Bally Total Fitness Corporation, where he was named lead director.[22]

Rogers has been a regular contributor to Forbes for many years and online archives of his commentaries go back as far as 2001.[5] He provides regular personal finance commentaries in a column that has recently been appearing under the title "The Patient Investor".[23][24][25]

Public serviceEdit

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez (center) speaks at a press conference at Chicago's Center for Economic Progress. Rogers is on the far right.

On February 23, 2008, Rogers became the first African-American winner of a Woodrow Wilson Award from Princeton University for his service to the Princeton alumni community, the Chicago community, the African American community and the financial community.[26][27] In 1994, Time featured him as one of its 50 leaders under 40. Rogers is co-chairman of Jesse Jackson's annual Wall Street Project minority conference, chairman of the Chicago Urban League, a member of four corporate boards and was a leading campaigner for Princeton basketball legend and United States Senator Bill Bradley's 2000 United States presidential campaign.[9] Three of the boards he serves on are for Fortune 500 companies: Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation, McDonald's[28] and in 2018 Nike.[29] He is a trustee of the University of Chicago. He has served numerous civic, educational and arts organizations as a director or trustee, including the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. At Princeton, he was a trustee of the University from 1990 to 1994 and more recently has served as a member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA) and the Princeton Varsity Club board of directors, as well as the Alumni Schools Committee.[27] In the early-1990s, Rogers served as a fundraising leader in Project Vote efforts led by former United States President Barack Obama. He has been an advocate for greater diversity in upper-level corporate positions.[30]

Rogers and his company were part of a network of community partners that supported the Ariel Community Academy, which emphasizes financial literacy in its curriculum.[27] He has designed curricula and brings students to board meetings. As a result of his money and time investment 80% of the eighth-grade graduates from the academy are accepted at elite area high schools.[31] Rogers adopted a class of 40 sixth graders at a cost of $200,000 per year through the "I Have A Dream Foundation". He expected to pay for college for about 30 of the students.

He was part of the inner circle of the Barack Obama presidential campaign. He is a long-time Obama associate who serves as the co-chair of Obama's Illinois finance committee and who has been a major fundraiser for Democratic Party candidates.[32] He served along with Bill Daley, Pat Ryan, Penny Pritzker and Julianna Smoot on Barack Obama 2009 presidential inauguration committee.[7] In June 2009, Rogers became chairman of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools' board. John left the board in 2016.[33][34]


Since late December 2011, the basketball court in the main competition gym at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools has been named after Rogers. Rogers graduated from and played basketball at Lab. His name was printed on the floor during Winter Break of the 2011–12 school year, and the court's new title will officially be adopted on February 8, 2012, in a ceremony corresponding with Lab's home game against conference rival Northridge Prep.[35]

Personal lifeEdit

He has a daughter, Victoria, with his former wife Desirée Rogers.

On December 28, 2002, Rogers married Sharon Fairley.[36] At the time of their 2002 wedding announcement in The New York Times, Fairley was the Executive Director of Consumer Marketing and Trademark Development at Pharmacia.[36][37][38][39] Rogers and Fairley later divorced.

Rogers beat Michael Jordan in a game of 1-on1 in Las Vegas in August 2003 at Michael Jordan’s Senior Flight School. The camp, attended by affluent businessmen in the early 2000s, had a registration fee of $15,000. The Wall Street Journal posted video in 2008 of a glasses-wearing Rogers driving and scoring on Jordan, winning 3-2 in a game of make-it, take-it after Jordan’s last season with the Washington Wizards. The result caused spectator and actor Damon Wayans to tell Jordan in front of the campers, “How do you feel about getting humiliated by a man five years older?".[40]


  1. ^ "Ariel Investments, LLC". Ariel Investments.
  2. ^ Tilson, Whitney; John Heins (December 20, 2005). "Outsourcing For Outsized Profits: Whitney Tilson and John Heins, Value Investor Insight". Forbes. Inc. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  3. ^ Lim, Paul J. (July 26, 2007). "The Real-Estate Market Still Stinks, but Some Housing Stocks May Be Tempting". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Archived from the original on April 23, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Quiñones, Eric (November 8, 2007). "Former Men's Basketball Captain John Rogers '80 Wins Woodrow Wilson Award". Princeton University. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "By John W. Rogers Jr". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  6. ^ Crockett, Roger O. (November 6, 2008). "Obama's Business Backers Look Ahead: A powerful group of African American executives helped get Obama elected President. Now they hope he can provide solutions to the economic crisis". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  7. ^ a b "Presidential Inaugural Committee Sets $50,000 Donation Limit". The Washington Post. November 25, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  8. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (May 13, 2007). "Best Business Books: John W. Rogers Jr.'s Picks". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  9. ^ a b c d Young, Lauren (March 2002). "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood". SmartMoney. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  10. ^ "Oberlin College Archives Opens Jewel Lafontant Mankarious Papers". Oberlin College. July 17, 2001. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c d Chen, Albert (November 6, 2000). "Investor With An Eye On The Ball: The basketball tutorial John Rogers took at Princeton pays dividends every day". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  12. ^ Wade, Marcia A. (November 21, 2008). "Surviving Destruction of 'Black Wall Street': Black business executives lend time, money to finance New York screening". Black Enterprise. Archived from the original on January 24, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  13. ^ Ruth Edmonds Hill (1991). The Black women oral history project: from the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe College. 9. University of Michigan (Meckler). p. 33. ISBN 978-0-887-3661-47.
  14. ^ Stodghill, Ron (February 26, 1996). "Ariel's Fall From Grace: John Rogers is trying to revive his sagging investment firm". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  15. ^ Strahler, Steven R. (November 29, 2006). "Ariel Capital loses more state business". Chicago Business. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  16. ^ a b "Ariel Capital Management LLC". American City Business Journals, Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2008.[dead link]
  17. ^ Topolnicki, Denise M. (May 31, 1987). "Chicagoan is on the money target firms with potential". Chicago Sun-Times. Newsbank. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  18. ^ Hinden, Stan (November 24, 1986). "Information Analysis Inc. Starts Small In Stock Offering". The Washington Post. Newsbank. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  19. ^ "John Rogers". The Smiley Group, Inc. April 15, 2005. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  20. ^ "DotCom Marketing Launches New Website for Ariel Investments". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved January 12, 2009.
  21. ^ "John W. Rogers Jr., Independent Director". Exelon Corporation. Archived from the original on April 14, 2011. Retrieved April 19, 2011.
  22. ^ "Bally Announces Appointment of Lead Director and Establishment of Special Committee to Lead Strategic Process". Bally Total Fitness Corporation. January 11, 2006. Retrieved April 17, 2011.
  23. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (December 22, 2008). "It's Time for Equities". Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  24. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (October 27, 2008). "It's Time for Equities". Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  25. ^ Rogers, John W. Jr. (September 1, 2008). "Buy Where the Fear Is". Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  26. ^ Princeton Athletic Communications (November 8, 2007). "Former Men's Basketball Captain John Rogers '80 Wins Woodrow Wilson Award". Princeton University. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  27. ^ a b c Princeton Athletic Communications (November 9, 2007). "Wilson Award winner". IvyLeague Archived from the original on March 16, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
  28. ^ "Investment Team". Ariel Investments, LLC. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  29. ^ "John W. Rogers, Jr. Joins NIKE, Inc. Board of Directors". Business Wire. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  30. ^ Brewster, Deborah; Chrystia Freeland (June 11, 2008). "US boardrooms criticised for racial bar". The Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  31. ^ Zweig, Jason (July 6, 2007). "Buy. Hold. Profit. Give Back.: Ariel Capital's John Rogers built an outstanding record investing in a few "great ideas" for the long run. Then he had his own idea: to launch a school to teach inner-city kids about money". Money. Cable News Network. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  32. ^ Brewster, Deborah; Chrystia Freeland (June 13, 2008). "View from the Top". The Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  33. ^ "UChicago News". Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  34. ^ "John Rogers to exit U of C Lab Schools board". Crain's Chicago Business. December 3, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  35. ^ Foster, Stella (February 7, 2012). "Remembering Don". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved February 9, 2012. The University of Chicago Laboratory School is dedicating the John W. Rogers Jr. Basketball Court at the school on Wednesday, with a reception to follow after the varsity boys game.
  36. ^ a b "Weddings/Celebrations; Sharon Fairley, John Rogers Jr". The New York Times. December 29, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  37. ^ "Lecturer Sharon Fairley, '06, Will Become the Head of Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority – University of Chicago Law School". Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  38. ^ Slevin, Peter (November 5, 2008). "Portraits of purpose: Now together for Obama s'85, black alumni in Chicago have leading roles in the life of their city". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  39. ^ "U.S. Charges 28 Defendants In Alleged Crack Cocaine Conspiracy Involving Gangster Disciples Faction On City's South Side" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. May 21, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 5, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2009.
  40. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit