A legacy perseveres: Changes to the Kyle D. Rogers Scholarship open doors for Sigma Chi

Story by Emily Williams, Features Editor

Photo courtesy of Rhonda Rogers

A Sigma Chi, a Laker Band percussionist, the voice of the Lady Racers, a brother, a son, a friend – these are just a few of the ways you could describe Kyle Rogers, a Murray native who lost his life in 2015 after an explosion at the Silver Trails Distillery in Marshall County.

Changes have been made to the Kyle D. Rogers Memorial Scholarship which was set up after Kyle’s passing to honor him and to help Murray State students like him.

The main changes to the scholarships deal with who is awarded the honor within the brotherhood of Sigma Chi, as well as a new bottle of LBL Moonshine hitting Murray store shelves this week, that will benefit the scholarship itself.

Rhonda Rogers, Kyle’s mother, said there are two different scholarships set up in memory of Kyle, under one fund.

The first scholarship is awarded to a Calloway County  Laker Band senior that will be attending Murray State the following year. No changes were made to this scholarship. The second scholarship, however, has undergone changes beneficial to Sigma Chi brothers.

Formerly, since the scholarship was first set up in Calloway County, the scholarship had to be awarded to only a Calloway County graduate within the Sigma Chi fraternity.

“It’s been set up for two years and in the past two years, we haven’t had anybody from Calloway High that is Sigma Chi,” Rogers said.

Now, the scholarship is not limited to just a Calloway County alumnus within the fraternity but to any active, good-standing member of Sigma Chi, no matter where they attended high school.

Rogers said they were able to come up with enough money to set up an endowed fund.

She said to start with, they still have a certain amount that they have to reach, but once it becomes self-sufficient they can begin giving out scholarships off of the interest.

Rogers said as far as the new LBL Moonshine to benefit the scholarship goes, there are only 250 bottles and all of them are numbered. She said the bottles are two year-aged.

“This has gone way beyond what we ever thought it would be,” Rogers said. “We’ve had people who have donated and held fundraisers. It’s just been awesome. Kyle would have been thrilled.”

Quenton Robertson, sophomore from Murray and the first recipient of the Kyle D. Rogers Memorial Scholarship said it was awarded to him at the Calloway County High School Band Banquet in the Curris Center Ballroom in 2016.

“I heard about the scholarship from my band directors as they were telling the whole band,” Robertson said. “I was extremely involved with music and the band, so I got the necessary paperwork for the scholarship.”

Robertson said while he never had the chance to meet Kyle personally, he knew of him through mutual friends.

“Even though I didn’t personally know him, from what I heard he was an admirable person with a great heart,” Robertson said. “This scholarship helped me afford college, which is helping me to pursue my career of becoming an engineer and allowing me to follow my passion for music even further with Racer Band.”

Robertson said he is very grateful for the scholarship, more so than others because of how close Kyle’s life was to people he knows and holds dear and because he believes he and Kyle shared many interests.

Logan Bogard, freshman from Murray and the second recipient of the Kyle D. Rogers Memorial Scholarship said the scholarship has helped him to purchase his textbooks.

“I am most definitely grateful to Kyle for this scholarship,” Bogard said. “While it is incredibly unfortunate that he is no longer with us, his name is now carried on through this scholarship, and I could not be more grateful for it.”

“Kyle was the biggest fan of Murray State you could ever have,” Rogers said.

Rogers said it is very important for Sigma Chi brothers who wish to apply for Kyle’s scholarship to specify that they are a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity on the dropdown menu while applying online.

For students who do not wish to buy a moonshine bottle but want to donate money to the cause, contact Abby Hensley, Director of Development, in the Foundation Office at ahensley2@murraystate.edu or (270) 809-3131. for additional information.