Founder of UAA economic research institute dies at 93

On Oct. 6 flags were lowered in respect to 93-year-old George Rogers, who passed away. Rogers’ health had been declining for the past year, but in the last weeks it became increasingly worse. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Rodgers was born on April 15, 1917, in San Francisco, Cali. He married in 1942 to his wife Jean Clark Rogers in Berkley, Cali. The couple adopted six children: Sidney Fadaoff, Shelly Thissen, Geoffrey Rogers, Gavin Rogers, Sabrina Rogers, and Garth Rogers.

In 1945, Rogers was sent by the Office of Price Administration to roll the prices of fish back.

His stay in Juneau was intended to be short, but was extended when territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening assigned him to devise a revenue system for the Alaska territory.

Rogers left in 1950 to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard, after helping create income, sales, and business license tax in the state.

He returned to Juneau after obtaining his doctorate and worked as a consultant for the Alaska Constitutional Convention in 1955. This convention was critical for Alaska to become a State.

“He always worked hard on a local level,” said Victor Fischer, the original director of ISER.

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In 1961, Rogers worked hard to get the Alaska Legislature to pass a bill to create a research institute at the University of Alaska, and he succeeded.

“Him and a couple colleagues talked about establishing the institute, and he was able to bring it to legislature,” Fischer said.

The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), is now Alaska’s oldest public policy organization.

“George was very concerned about getting proper data and information,” Fischer said.

ISER will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

From 1969-1973, Rogers worked on Juneau’s City Assembly.

Rogers published seven books on Alaska’s Development. A more popular book written by Rogers was “The Future of Alaska: The Economic Consequences of Statehood.” This book was one of Rogers’ books that were used as a textbook at UAA. He also published and helped produce roughly 90 articles that covered many Alaska topics.

Rogers earned an Honorary Doctorate for the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1986.

“George will be remembered as the ideal colleague, he always provided guidance and support,” Fischer said. “He will be remembered in communities as a high quality academic man, but really more of a Renaissance man.”

On May 1, 2011 a memorial service will be held in Juneau from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The service will be held at Juneau’s Centennial Hall.