As renowned violinist Ittai Shapira’s last note resounded through the theater, there was thunderous applause from the packed house. Shapira had just finished the concerto opening Molloy College’s 2011 Gala on Nov. 12 in the brand new, state-of-the-art Madison Theatre.
The night of entertainment, hosted by comedian Martin Short, marked a turning point for the college and a grand achievement for the man responsible for raising its status nationally and locally.
It takes a great deal of insight, confidence and patience to see an idea from its genesis through to its completion over the course of a decade. During his 11-year tenure as Molloy’s president, Dr. Drew Bogner has exhibited these attributes — and many more — in abundance, and as a result, the Herald has chosen him as its Person of the Year.
Bogner, 54, made the move from Wichita, Kan., to Rockville Centre just after the turn of the century, bringing a can-do Midwest attitude. He had been the executive vice president for academic affairs at Newman University in Kansas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and taught biology.
Paul Durnan, former chairman of the Board of Trustees at Molloy, was a member of the search committee that selected Bogner in 2000. “He is an innovator, and has been recognized as a positive agent of change at his former institution,” Durnan said at the time. “He impressed the search committee with his record of experience in maintaining high standards, increased enrollment, increased fundraising, and exceptional institutional advancement in the face of the pressing financial realities many colleges face today.”
According to Bogner’s wife, Karen, a search for presidential positions had taken him all over the country, from California to Ohio to Maryland, but the couple and their two children had only been to New York once. “We had such a positive experience visiting Long Island and New York City,” Karen said, “and this, as well as the wonderful people we met through the interview process at Molloy, definitely made us excited about the prospect of Drew working at Molloy.”