Alumni, Campus wide, English Education

Woman Wednesday Series: Dr. June Scobee Rodgers ’71

By Jan Joslin | March 24, 2021
Dr. June Scobee Rodgers ’71. Photo provided

Dr. June Scobee Rodgers holds the distinction of being the first woman and the first alumnus guest speaker at a CSU Commencement ceremony, in 1987. During her career as an educator, she was a national speaker on educating gifted children.

Her late husband, Francis R. Scobee, was commander of the space shuttle The Challenger, which met with tragedy in January 1986. Scobee Rodgers went on to found the Challenger Center for Space Science Education with the other family members of the Challenger tragedy. She is the author of Silver Linings: My Life Before and After Challenger 7 and a recipient of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. Learn more at

Together, she and her husband, retired Lt. Gen. Don Rodgers, have three married children and nine grandchildren. 

The following is an excerpt of an interview from CSU Magazine, 50th Anniversary edition 2014. Compiled by Rachelle Rae Cobb ’14

Impact of a CSU education

By Dr. June Scobee Rodgers ’71

Little did I know at the time, but every class I took supported some activity in my future – career or personal life. The education course work confirmed my interest to be a teacher and research professor. My major studies in Biology and Chemistry classes filled my yearning to know those subjects. English and literature (supported by history) gave me a confidence in communication skills and opened a world of new exciting literature that I treasure to this day. Math skills gave me the courage to apply for advanced study that led to a PhD. Foreign language studies seemed such a waste, but not only did they help me to understand other cultures but also to appreciate my own country and language.

Like most lives, we are often challenged with turmoil and hardships on stormy seas, but I learned at CSU that it’s how you react to problems that carry you across to a shore of calm with the rewards of overcoming difficulty that result in learning how to solve problems and seek new opportunities.

And many of those lessons I learned in Dr. Charles Smith’s literature classes. The heart-wrenching literature whether in the form of fiction, poetry or essays gave me strength to fall back on and actually to help lead a nation to overcome tremendous grief after the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle “Teacher in Space” accident for which my husband Dick Scobee was commander. Blessed with my God-given talents and the benefit of a marvelous well-rounded Christian education and experiences, it is my prayer that I can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

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