Father Hogan to step down: New challenges await long-time Duquesne VP

Courtesy Photo. The Rev. Sean Hogan poses for a graduation photo at Duquesne in 1976.
Courtesy Photo. The Rev. Sean Hogan poses for a graduation photo at Duquesne in 1976.
Courtesy Photo. The Rev. Sean Hogan poses for a graduation photo at Duquesne in 1976.

By Julian Routh and Brandon Addeo | The Duquesne Duke

There are not many free spots on the Rev. Sean Hogan’s calendar.

That’s the way it has been for 26 years since he took over as vice president for student life, and that’s the way he wants it to continue.

“I’m not a person to twiddle my thumbs,” he said. “I don’t think I could do nothing.”

That’s why, when Hogan, 73, steps down from his post on June 30, he will take over as the first president of the newly formed Duquesne Scholarship Association.

The University announced the move Oct. 17 in a mass email to students and faculty, which sparked a wave of concern across the Bluff. Students took to Twitter with frantic messages like ‘Father Hogan, no!’ and ‘Wait so Father Hogan is retiring?’

“I’m going nowhere,” Hogan said confidently. “They’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

In his new role, Hogan will work with alumni to increase the availability of scholarship funds to students. He said he will continue to be an active member of the Duquesne community, meeting regularly with fraternity and sorority groups and other campus organizations.

The decision was made jointly by Hogan and members of Duquesne’s administration after a year of discussions, according to Hogan. The University has begun a nationwide search for Hogan’s successor, he said.

Duquesne President Charles Dougherty said Hogan’s contributions to the University are not coming to an end.

“Father Hogan’s lifelong commitment to students, their families and alumni will continue as his work takes on a new focus by ensuring that future generations have access to an affordable Duquesne education,” Dougherty said.

The Rev. Dan Walsh, a Spiritan at Duquesne, said that though it was tough, he has finally accepted Hogan’s decision to step down.

“At first I was surprised but then it set very comfortably,” Walsh said. “Father Hogan has given so many years of dedicated service with such demands. If he feels that now is the time for him to retire, I support it fully.”

Walsh said Hogan is young enough to be able to contribute to Duquesne in other ways. Walsh also said he understands the difficulties of Hogan’s position.

“It’s a thankless job,” Walsh said.

Born in Ireland, Hogan graduated from Duquesne in 1976. In 1980, he was appointed associate director of development at Duquesne, and in 1982 he became the first director of the Office of International Education.

Hogan was named vice president for student life in 1988, and in 1991, the executive vice president for student life.

When Hogan was named to the position in 1988, Duquesne was visibly different; Academic Walk was a parking lot, Vickroy Hall and Des Places didn’t exist and there wasn’t such a thing as a Palumbo Center or Rooney Field.

“The academic standards are tremendous now,” Hogan said. “The atmosphere is quite positive.”

Hogan said his proudest accomplishment in his 26 years on the job was his continued emphases on Duquesne’s mission statement.

“[The mission statement] is who we are,” Hogan said. “I think it should be very prevalent on the campus. It is now.”

Walsh emphasized Hogan’s commitment to asking Duquesne students to conduct themselves the same way in the classroom and community, as seen in the “Expectations of a Duquesne Student” posters in campus buildings.

“If you were at some other institution, [these characteristics] wouldn’t even be acknowledged,” Walsh said. “[Father Hogan] has [shown] that this is something of great value and he has shared this with the wider community.”