Alumnus Cardiologist Edwin Rogers, M.D., honors time at MUSC with an investment in the future

John Nash
November 01, 2021
Edwin Rogers and his wife Teresa

Cardiologist Edwin Rogers, M.D., did more than earn a medical degree during his time at MUSC. While in Charleston, he and his wife, Teresa, also collected friends and memories that have remained with them since he completed his residency there in 1976.

“MUSC is just such a wonderful place in our hearts,” said Rogers. “Those were really fantastic years that we spent there – some of the best of our life. “Not only did we find the friendships and the community experience of being there, but also, my dream was to be a physician. I have been fortunate enough to practice cardiology, and this was made possible by all the people who taught me.”

The couple lived in an apartment located on Courtenay Drive in downtown Charleston. “It’s where the Heart & Vascular Center is now, which is kind of appropriate,” he said.

She taught French at North Charleston High School. He immersed himself in his studies, while also enjoying a great research experience in the Department of Biochemistry. After graduation, he served MUSC as chief resident in internal medicine. Their focus was on the future, but they found time to enjoy the Lowcountry lifestyle.

Edwin Rogers and his wife

“We had just a great group of friends,” remembered Teresa. “There were free campus movies on the weekends, we would go to the beach, and we had a little sailboat. We just had a wonderful experience. We enjoyed life and loved the school so much.”

During his training, Rogers discovered his passion. “When I was there, the cardiology program was led by Peter Gazes, who instilled the love of cardiology in so many students, interns and residents,” he said. “I just got won over. Gazes had a way of making everything about it fascinating.” 

After his medicine residency, Rogers enjoyed pursuing a cardiology fellowship at the University of Indiana, though he realized this might lead them away from their home in South Carolina.  Later, he served on the faculty of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. In 1981, he joined a cardiology group in Pensacola, Florida, where he practiced until retiring in 2018. 

Throughout the years, the couple remained deeply connected to their roots at the Medical University. During a class reunion in Charleston, they decided to make a deeper commitment to the institution that had meant so much to them.

“We'd been thinking about it for some time,” he said. “One day we were walking along the Battery and counting our blessings, and we just decided to stop by (the MUSC Foundation’s office). I said, ‘We want to do something, and we aren’t sure what it is we want to do.’ Fortunately, there are good folks there who have ideas.”

The Rogers knew they wanted to support cardiology in some way. She thought about her father, who recently had died with heart disease. Ed thought about not only the many patients he’d cared for during the previous 40 years, but also all the institutions where he’d worked during his career – the best of which had strong research programs.

“Research is fundamental because it sets everything in motion,” said Rogers. “It leads to more national funding, more national recognition and more publications, which brings more people who want to be attached to that, both at the faculty and student level.”

The Rogers ultimately decided to make a gift establishing a new endowed chair for cardiovascular research, which will reside in the MUSC Health Heart & Vascular Center.

An endowed chair is an elite faculty appointment that comes with a stable source of funding to support the chair holder’s work. It is among the highest, most prestigious credential a faculty member can attain. As such, chairs are highly effective in attracting world-class investigators and building the top research programs.

“They’re talent magnets,” said Cardiology Chairman Thomas Di Salvo, M.D. “The best part is, they exist in perpetuity, so rather than give your program a one-time surge, they lay the foundation for sustained excellence. This is an incredibly forward-looking investment on the Rogers’ part.”  

The Edwin W. and Teresa H. Rogers Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research will be held by Daniel Judge, M.D., who currently directs MUSC’s Cardiovascular Genetics Program and its fellowship in cardiovascular disease.

The chair will support Judge’s research into inherited cardiovascular conditions, with an emphasis on genetic causes for cardiomyopathy, amyloidosis, aortic aneurysms, and mitral valve abnormalities.

“I am truly honored to be the first person to hold the Edwin W. and Teresa H. Rogers Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research,” said Judge. “Generous gifts like this provide additional time and resources to pursue exciting new projects and ideas.” 

Di Salvo said the Rogers’ chair will enable MUSC to begin filling a critical gap in the care of heart and vascular patients.

“As a specialty, a lot of our investigations have been focused on the crisis end of the disease state, which is important; it saves lives,” said Di Salvo. “This chair empowers us to look further upstream, to see how these problems might be addressed much earlier, or maybe even prevented altogether. This has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach patient care.”