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bea r n a ti on

A legacy for life

The Bogan Family Endowed Scholarship By Jeff Roedel

A STRONG BREEZE glances off the sheen of a cherry red fire engine, and just as Robert Bogan Jr. ’43 leans back in his chair to take in the weather of a mild March evening, a sharp alarm rings out. “Bringgggg! Bringgggg!” echoes loudly through the station, and despite his 89 years, Bogan’s thin frame bolts to attention. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” he shouts with a sly smirk and the remnant muscle memory of a much younger man who was often drafted into volunteer service to help quell the feral flames. “My daddy was fire chief for 46 years,” Bogan recalls, “and we had an interesting life with daddy being in the fire business.” Indeed, the station he’s sitting in on Government Street still bears the family name, as does the Robert A. Bogan Baton Rouge Fire Museum inside the historic downtown building that now houses the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. The other men gathered at the station claim this name, too. They are Bogan’s sons and grandsons, and they are here to talk about the endowed scholarship their patriarch has established for the high school they all share in common. While he served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and conducted a long career in insurance, the fullness of Bogan’s life has, to a large degree, been defined by two venerable institutions: the Baton Rouge Fire Department and Catholic High School. “It’s something I wanted to do for a long time,” Bogan says of the new scholarship. “[Catholic High faculty] instill in you a lot of good values—not only religious, but in education. I think so much of the catholic education. It is second to none.” In the 2015-16 academic year alone, the school has awarded nearly $775,000 in need-based tuition assistance thanks to its endowment program. Administrators say Bogan’s gift, along

with the many endowed scholarships throughout the years, has strengthened the mission of Catholic High School. For Bogan, the love of CHS has extended beyond his own glory days at the school in the pre-war era to become an experience he has celebrated and shared with the generations that have followed. He views this new scholarship as an extension of this gifting to his family and a chance to grant those who might not otherwise be able to afford it the opportunity to share in that legacy, too. Each time a son or grandson has walked across the stage and received a diploma from Catholic High School, Bogan has been overcome with pride and appreciation. What does that feel like? “Like my job is finished,” he says, tearing up a bit, but with a smile. Before he gets too emotional, he lets a little more of that dry sense of humor fly. “And now I can cut them loose,” he adds with a laugh. With confidence, Bogan describes a CHS education as being a “cut above” the rest. For example, grandson Robert Bogan IV ’04 counts the unique and challenging classes at CHS as the fuel that ignited his passion for the engineering field. “They instilled in us critical thinking,” Robert says. Now designing roadways and infrastructure with a local civil engineering firm, he was able to take architectural classes and design projects while in high school. “The fellas I went to school with turned out to be great fellas and intellectual people,” Bogan says. “ That’s what I wanted for my sons and grandsons, for them to be intellectual. And I think they got more than that at Catholic High School.”

A Brothers of the Sacred Heart School Since 1894

Bear Facts - Summer 2016  
Bear Facts - Summer 2016