Passing of Ardivan Walker Rodgers


Ardivan Walker Rodgers was born in 1824, north of Oxford in Piqua, Ohio. His parents had eight children, of which Ardivan was the fifth. He enrolled at Miami in 1846, and two years later, Ardivan met up with Morrison and Wilson.

Brother Rodgers was a sophomore founder and best of friends with the other AWR, Andrew Watts Rogers. Though not related, the two friends shared the same physique, six feet tall and muscular in stature. They were often together on campus, side by side, and easily recognized by their fellow students. He was known as one of the best-informed men on every subject, a bit brusque, and though sometimes aggressive, always just. The chivalrous Ardivan Rodgers warmed any group with his friendly greeting and easy smile. He never knew a grudge and often smothered a quarrel.

Brother Rodgers graduated in 1851 and went back home to Piqua to teach. He was married to Mary Sawyer, daughter of John Sawyer. They had three children: John Sawyer, Walter Lowrie, and Ardivan Walker Jr. He moved to St. Mary’s, Ohio, and finally taught in Brighton, Iowa. Just eight years after he helped pioneer the great and beloved Phi Delta Theta brotherhood, Ardivan caught typhoid fever, which was quite common in those days. He was the first to join the Chapter Grand in 1856. He is buried in Brighton, Iowa, just south of where the Fraternity’s Iowa Alpha Chapter would be founded in 1871.

Sometimes, years after his early death, undergraduate Phis thought of the noble Ardivan Rodgers while the chorused voices sang:

And when at last,
This life is past,
We’ll join the Chapter Grand.
May luck and wealth,
Life, hope, and health,
Be with the Phikeias’ band.