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Ted, Loretta and the Rogers family: Fostering top media and communications talent

Edward (Ted) Rogers Sr., father of Ted Rogers Jr.

Opened in 1992 on the momentum of a $12.5 million gift from the Rogers family, the Rogers Communication Centre (RCC) stands as a premier facility for teaching, learning, and research in electronic media and digital communications within The Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). 

The Rogers Communications Centre — home to Canada’s first graduate school of advanced communications — was named in remembrance of the late Edward Samuel “Ted” Rogers Sr. (1900-1939), the father of Rogers Communications founder, Ted Rogers Jr. 

The younger Ted (1933-2008) and his wife Loretta Rogers (1939-2022) are remembered as partners in life, business and philanthropy.  Together with their family and the larger Rogers corporate enterprise, they volunteered their time, engaged with students and faculty, and donated tens of millions of dollars to support excellence in education, entrepreneurship, media production and research. Ultimately, their commitment  to enhancing education has shaped TMU into a leading university in Canada.

The Rogers’ generous support of media and communications also supported graduate programming and funded the Velma Rogers Graham Research Chair, Edward S. Rogers Sr. Research Chair in Media Management & Entrepreneurship, and the Rogers Communications Distinguished Visiting Chair in Journalism. 

The Rogers Communication Centre houses several programs of The Creative School, including the School of Journalism, the School of Professional Communication, and the RTA School of Media, Canada’s premier broadcast and production program. The family’s support has truly transformed the university by empowering its students and faculty with the resources to fulfill their potential. 

“The work behind the scenes here is ongoing. It’s leading edge and is already shaping the communications industry itself. [TMU] graduates are at every level in every company in the communications industry. And I think that speaks to the university’s unique place in the industry,” said Loretta in her speech to the graduates when she and Ted received honorary doctorates from the university in 2004 in celebration of their contributions to advancing education.

“Many Rogers employees have graduated from this great institution,” said Ted Jr., before listing notable alumni, including the president of Rogers Sportsnet, the general manager of Rogers Omni Television, the Chief Financial Officer of Rogers Media, and on-air talent from 680 News. “We employ … graduates from [TMU] in positions ranging from news anchors in our radio stations, to art directors with flair, to graphic artists on the Shopping Channel.”

From left: Edward and Martha Rogers, with their parents Ted and Loretta, stand in the Rogers Communication Centre.

Lasting legacies

Loretta (centre) and Ted (right) pose with shovels for the ceremonial breaking ground of a new building. (Photograph Courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Archives)

Loretta (centre) and Ted (right) break ground. (Photograph Courtesy of Toronto Metropolitan University Archives)

Ted Rogers Sr. had a vision — radios that ran on electricity, instead of batteries. An inventor and entrepreneur, he achieved his vision by creating the alternating current (AC) tube. This technological advancement liberated listeners from the burden of cumbersome acid batteries, enabling the radio to function in any home with electricity. At the 1925 Canadian National Exhibition, Ted Sr. introduced the Rogers Batteryless, the first all-electric radio. 

Ted Jr. followed his father, a broadcasting pioneer, and broke new ground by purchasing radio stations and expanding his interests to cable television, cellular phone service, data communications and publishing. He would become head of a leading national communications company in his roles as a former Director and as President and CEO of Rogers Communications, Inc. Ted Jr. was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, and also inducted as a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Cable Hall of Fame.

Loretta Rogers was one of Rogers Communication’s first investors, and was also one of Ted’s closest business confidants. She was a long-time director of the company and well-known for her commitment to altruism, especially when it came to education and health care. For more than 30 years, she and her husband established numerous scholarships at Canadian universities. A community builder, Loretta was also a veteran of the university’s Board of Governors.

An enduring relationship with TMU

For more than 50 years, the Rogers family has invested in TMU students, faculty, research and facilities, strengthening TMU’s reputation and ability to elevate students. 

The family also donated $15 million to help TMU establish the Ted Rogers School of Management’s downtown presence at Dundas and Bay Street, in the heart of Toronto’s commercial district and at the edge of the nation’s financial district.

The Rogers family, Rogers Communications Inc. and associated companies (such as Sportsnet), are some of TMU’s top benefactors. This relationship is also evident through TMU’s Suzanne Rogers Fashion Institute, Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Sportsnet RTA Production Centre and more. Support from the Rogers family has also extended into the next generation, involving Lisa Rogers, who supports the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre at the Ted Rogers School. 

By enhancing education and elevating the university student experience, the Rogers family’s impact is making a positive difference at TMU, throughout Toronto, and across Canada. 

Ted Rogers Jr. smiles and stands among members of the Toronto Metropolitan Community in front of a photo of his father, Ted Sr.

Ted Rogers Jr. and members of the Toronto Metropolitan community in front of a photo of Ted Rogers Sr.