A Night With John Rogers

Saturday 10/2/2010

The Art Institute of Chicago's Arthur Rubloff Auditorium

Chicago, Illinois

This hour long, one-on-one interview program provides a rare and insightful look into the life and career of civic and business entrepreneur John W. Rogers Jr. Taped on October 2, 2010 in front of a live audience at the Art Institute of Chicago, Rogers was interviewed by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan and President and COO, McDonald’s Corporation Don Thompson.


A lifelong Hyde Parker on Chicago’s Southside, John W. Rogers, Jr., tells lively stories of his unique childhood, playing basketball for Princeton, launching the first African American investment management firm with publicly-traded mutual funds and establishing Ariel Community Academy, a Chicago public school with an innovative financial literacy program, with U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. John shares his insights on business, corporate boards and his involvement with the historic presidential campaign of President Barack Obama with President and COO, McDonald’s Corporation Don Thompson.


The HistoryMakers staff has created a finding aid for this event. View/Download below: 

Finding Aid To A Night With John Rogers, Jr.pdf


John W. Rogers, Jr.
 John W. Rogers, Jr. is founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves institutional clients through separately managed accounts as well as individual investors and 401(k) plans through its no-load mutual funds. After working for 2½ years as a stockbroker at William Blair & Company, LLC, John founded Ariel Investments in 1983 to focus on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. Patience served as the cornerstone of a disciplined approach that still drives the firm today.


John’s passion for investing started when he was 12 years old when his father bought him stocks every birthday and every Christmas instead of toys. His interest grew while majoring in Economics at Princeton University. In addition to following stocks as a college student, John also played basketball under Hall of Fame coach Pete Carril. He was captain of Princeton’s Varsity Basketball Team his senior year. There, Carril’s courtside lessons on teamwork profoundly shaped his views of entrepreneurship and investing. 


John’s investment expertise has brought him to the forefront of media attention, including being selected as Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All-Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY. Additionally, he is regularly featured and quoted in a wide variety of broadcast and print publications and is a contributing columnist to Forbes. 


Beyond Ariel, John currently serves as a board member of Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald’s Corporation. Additionally, he is a director of the Chicago Urban League, a trustee of the University of Chicago, chairman of the board of trustees for the University of Chicago Laboratory School and a member of the board of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he chairs the investment committee. John is also chairman of the Economic Club of Chicago, a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a past board president of the Chicago Park District. In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumni whose career embodies a commitment to national service Following the election of President Barack Obama, he served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009. In 2010, John was named an Outstanding Director by the Outstanding Directors Exchange for his leadership on governance, management and diversity in the boardroom. 


Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan was named U.S. secretary of education by President Barack Obama and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Jan. 20, 2009. Prior to his appointment, Duncan served as the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from June 2001 through December 2008, becoming the longest-serving big-city education superintendent in the country. As CEO, he united education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind in an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening over 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools and increasing early childhood and college access. Before joining the Chicago Public Schools, Duncan ran the Ariel Education Initiative (1992–1998), which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. He has served on the boards of the Ariel Education Initiative, Chicago Cares, the Children's Center, the Golden Apple Foundation, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Jobs for America's Graduates, Junior Achievement, the Dean's Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Management, the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation, Renaissance Schools Fund, Scholarship Chicago and the South Side YMCA. He has also served on the Board of Overseers for Harvard College, the Visiting Committees for Harvard University's Graduate School of Education and the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. From 1987 to 1991, Duncan played professional basketball in Australia, where he worked with children who were wards of the state. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. He is married to Karen Duncan and has two children, Clare, 7, and Ryan, 5. 


Don Thompson
As President and Chief Operating Officer, Don Thompson directs global strategy and operations for the 32,000 McDonald’s restaurants in 117 countries to create value for McDonald’s and its shareholders.


Previously, Mr. Thompson was President of McDonald’s USA. In this role, he was responsible for the strategic direction and overall business results of the nearly 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. Mr. Thompson began his career at McDonald’s as an electrical engineer in 1990, and has since held a variety of leadership positions including U.S. Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Division President.


As a business leader, Thompson serves on the board of directors for the Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He also serves on the board of trustees for Purdue University and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council. 


Mr. Thompson has been recognized by many organizations for his leadership in business, the community and as a role model. In 2007, Black Enterprise named Thompson Corporate Executive of the Year. In 2008, he received the Corporate Executive award from the Trumpet foundation. In 2009, he received the presidential inspiration award from Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity incorporated. 


Mr. Thompson received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and has since accepted the Purdue University Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineering Award along with being named a Purdue University Old Master Fellow in 2006. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate degree from Excelsior College in Albany, New York. 


A proud family man, Mr. Thompson and his wife Liz have two children and reside in the Chicago area.


Honorary Co-Chairs

The Honorable Richard & Mrs. Maggie Daley 

Vernon & Ann Jordan

Event Co-Chairs 

Toni Cook Bush & Dwight Bush

Greg Case

Mellody Hobson

Shirley & Patrick Ryan

Chris & Alison Simmons

Rick Waddell


Benefit Committee 

Ellen Alberding & Kelly Welsh

Trisha Rooney Alden

Howard Alper

Tony Anderson

Grace Barry

Gwendolyn & Charles Butler

Mercer Cook

Kelly King Dibble & Andrew Dibble

Amy S. Hilliard

Carol Sutton Lewis & William M. Lewis, Jr.

H. Melvin Ming

Laurence Morse

Sandra & James Reynolds

Dana & André Rice

Linda Johnson Rice

Janice Cook Roberts & Richard Roberts

Steven Rogers

Melody Spann-Cooper

Harrison I. Steans

Jeanette Sublett & Langdon Neal

Lisa & Charles Tribbett

Jim Tyree