Drew Bogner, former Newman University provost, is retiring from his 20-year role as president of Molloy College in Rockville Center, New York, June 30, 2020.
Bogner held many titles at Newman University, including provost from 1991 to 2000.
He came to Newman in 1987 as an assistant professor of biology. He soon took on the role of director of secondary education before heading up the education department beginning in 1989. He then added dean of community education to his responsibilities before becoming vice president for Academic and Student Affairs in 1991 and then eventually provost in that same year.
Bogner moved to New York and began his presidency at Molloy College in July 2000.
He said his time at Newman played a huge role in his life and career, with great memories of his work with the students and the lessons he learned from them along with the rest of the Newman community.
“Newman was so important to me,” explained Bogner. “I learned to be a leader at Newman, from my experiences on student government and as student government president. I learned from the sisters (Adorers of the Blood of Christ) the importance of building relationships to make things happen. I learned from them, as well, the overwhelming power of transformation when it is driven by a genuine belief in the good that we can all bring to each other.”
During his time at Newman, Bogner worked on a variety of tasks and improvements. He oversaw the growth of graduate programs and the addition of multiple nontraditional delivery programs, including an interactive TV system that served three of the four dioceses in Kansas and the two in Oklahoma. He also increased the reach of the university by bringing programs to several locations such as Boeing and Cessna, the Diocesan offices in Oklahoma City, the former home of St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas, and at a half dozen community colleges across the state.
Bogner took his knowledge and skills gained during his Newman years to his role as Molloy president, leading the college through many similar and significant transformations.
“Few jobs are as rewarding as leading a college or university. We are tasked with envisioning and helping to build and reframe society. I always tell our students and employees that Molloy was founded as a transformational entity. Our role is to transform society into a more just and compassionate place. We do this primarily through the work our students do as alumni in their various careers, but we also do this directly through the actions of our students and employees, and the service we provide to the community.”
His last year as president will definitely be unforgettable — specifically, his last semester.
With the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic shutting down K-12 schools and college campuses throughout the nation, much of Molloy’s education is being done virtually from students’ homes.
“I’m certainly not ending my job as president in the way I had envisioned. On March 10, I made the decision to move all classes to alternate delivery and significantly reduce our on-campus workforce. By March 16, we made the decision to completely close all physical campus locations and buildings.
“It certainly has been challenging but we have worked every aspect of the problem operating with two overarching goals in mind: first, ensure the safety of our students and workforce and second to help our students meet their educational goals, graduate on time and finish the semester. We canceled or postponed all events, including commencement, which we have tentatively rescheduled for the last weekend in June.”
Bogner is proud of his college’s community and all the work its staff and faculty have done to keep Molloy strong and moving forward. He has recorded and delivered many messages of hope and encouragement and started a daily Zoom meeting called “coffee talk” to continue the communication with colleagues.
Following an 18-month sabbatical, Bogner plans on returning to Molloy part time as a professor of education teaching in the college’s Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities program.
He looks forward to spending more time with his wife and two children and their spouses. Bogner also aspires to write and teach and serve as a coach to new university presidents.
“It has certainly been quite a ride, full of challenges and opportunities. There is no job quite like being a college president. The other day, one of our faculty said in a meeting, ‘Drew, you know you took us through 9/11, and then the Great Recession and then Hurricane Sandy. It’s good to know that we still have you taking us through this current crisis.'”