The Award of Excellence has been given by Chapman University since 1982 to an individual or organization that exemplifies Schweitzer’s ethics of reverence for life and his dedication to a life of service.
June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger Space Shuttle Commander Richard “Dick” Scobee, has dedicated her time and energy to continuing the crew’s educational mission. Immediately following the tragedy, June channeled grief into action and led the Challenger shuttle families, along with others, to create Challenger Center - a living tribute to their loved ones.
January 28, 2016 marks 30 years since the Challenger shuttle accident, and June continues to dedicate her time and energy to the cause. Serving as the Founding Chairman of Challenger Center, the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization inspires and engages hundreds of thousands of students each year using space-themed simulated learning environments. With more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers, June has helped grow the organization into a global leader in STEM education.
An active and prominent leader in education throughout her professional life, June has taught in every grade-level classroom from kindergarten through college. She has been an education consultant on local, state and national levels, and served on the President’s National Advisory Council on Education. In 2015, June received the distinguished Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.
Dr. Rodgers is a Chapman graduate , receiving her MA in education in 1978.