by Lynda Myers, Foundation Board Member
Ukiah native, John Bogner, grew up on the family's dairy farm north of town, attended Saint Mary's school, and graduated from Ukiah High in 1969. Gary Nix, his partner for over 30 years, recalled that “in high school, John was initially a very solitary soul, who often ate lunch by himself. When he noticed that the High School Choral Club was putting on a musical, he decided to design a poster advertising the performance. He put up the poster, and the teacher in charge of the Choral Club, Leslie Johnson, saw it, and was so impressed with John's design that he encouraged him to join the Choral Club and produce all the posters and advertisements for the High School musical performances. This gave John a circle of new friends, and not only did he make the posters and advertisements for the musicals for the rest of his high school years, he also performed in some of the musicals, such as Music Man and My Fair Lady. This was how John began to become the outgoing, involved, gregarious person that we knew in his adulthood.”
Nix continued,“When I established the John Bogner Memorial Scholarship, I felt it was fitting that it be awarded to a student who was involved in the performing arts, since John's participation in the performing arts helped so much in his development as a person and as a community leader.”
“John also loved the theater, and we would often attend Mendocino College productions, and the Ukiah Players offerings, as well as the Ukiah Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, and plays in the Bay Area.
“John was an active member of the Board of Directors of the Mendocino College Foundation, serving on many committees, and helping to emcee Foundation events. He especially enjoyed participating in the presentation of the Foundation scholarships in May of each year.”
Nix explained that he was most proud of John Bogner for his sterling ethics and values, and for his contributions to the community. Besides the Mendocino College Foundation, Bogner was active in the South Ukiah Rotary Club, serving as president, and as the fun-loving auctioneer at major fund raising events. He enjoyed parading around town in a brightly colored Uncle Sam costume to mark Ukiah's annual Fourth of July and Memorial Day celebrations. He was past president of the Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce and the Active 20-30 Club, as well as a past director for the St. Mary's School Mardi Gras. He was also chosen as the Ukiah Chamber's 'Outstanding Citizen of the Year.'”
The most recent recipient of the $1,000.00 Mendocino College Foundation John Bogner Fine Arts Scholarship is Thomas Kenney, a theatre arts major from Redwood Valley, who was recommended by both Reid Edelman, professor of theatre arts and Les Pfutzenreuter, professor of music.
Nix said he has presented the John Bogner Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship at the Mendocino College Foundation awards night on two occasions, and that he found it deeply satisfying. Nix has appreciated the opportunity to meet the scholarship winners, whom he believed to be “great choices, very worthy of the award.”
For more information about the Mendocino College Foundation or to donate towards any of their programs, call 707-467-1018.