Victor M. Bogle


IU Kokomo Distinguished Service Award (1986)


Dr. Victor M. Bogle was a former Chancellor Emeritus of Indiana University Kokomo and professor of history at IU-Kokomo. He was born in New Albany, IN in 1924. In 1942, when he was 19, Bogle joined the United States Army Air Corps and was sent to fight in the South Pacific Theater during World War II. He stayed in the Air Corps until 1945 and afterward studied at Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis), graduating in 1947 with a B.A. in history. He then enrolled in Boston University, where he received his M.A. in American history in 1948 and his Ph.D. in American civilization in 1951.

In 1952, Bogle worked for the U.S. Air Force in intelligence as a research analyst for two years and then returned to academia as a professor. He taught American, European and English history at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., a Historically Black College, until 1957. He became the academic adviser at Kokomo's IU Extension Center in 1957 and the chief administrative officer in 1959.

Bogle was chief executive officer of the IU operations in Kokomo from 1959 to 1979. During that period, he led the conversion of the IU Extension Center program, which offered selected undergraduate courses, into a commuter campus granting associate and baccalaureate degrees to both IU and Purdue University students in a seven-county area. He oversaw the construction of the original campus buildings in the 1960s, and he helped bestow the first degrees in 1970.

In 2000, Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon awarded Bogle the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, Indiana's highest service citation, for his dedication to higher education.

Bogle successfully guided the transition of Indiana University's presence in Kokomo from a smattering of courses in a historic mansion on the west side of the city to its current site and regional mission. After leading the fundraising and overseeing the design and construction of the original campus buildings, Bogle worked with faculty and IU system officers to develop curricular offerings serving the higher education needs of students and employers in seven counties of north central Indiana.

He wrote the campus's first long-range academic and physical facilities master plans and championed numerous educational innovations, particularly the development of the baccalaureate degree in liberal studies and the implementation of Project Outreach, whereby IU Kokomo offered classes in Logansport, Tipton, Peru and other communities throughout the region. This effort mitigated enrollment declines by offering both undergraduate and graduate degree programs during the mid-1970s economic slowdown. In 1972, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education floated a proposal that would have eliminated four-year undergraduate degree programs at the local campus. Bogle orchestrated extensive community protest, and by the next year the proposal was dropped.

Throughout his administration, Bogle never lost touch with students. He taught at least one history class or seminar each year. He thoroughly enjoyed intellectual interchange, both in and out of the classroom. Faculty and students alike would frequently find themselves in impromptu discussions of events and issues with Chancellor Bogle over coffee.

Bogle taught history at the campus, wrote numerous articles about history and pursued his scholarly research on Indiana's early railroads until his retirement in 1992. He donated his research findings and manuscripts to the Indiana Historical Society. His final major work was a comprehensive study, The History of Indiana Railroads (forthcoming).

Called a great humanitarian by many, Bogle was driven in life by his sense of fairness. It was the guiding force that led him to fight for higher education opportunities for all people, regardless of their financial means, and to protect civil rights for all people, regardless of their race or mental condition. He worked tirelessly in this regard, informally with other like-minded civic leaders, and formally as a board president or board member of several organizations, including the Mental Health Association and the Kokomo Chamber of Commerce.