Professor of History Emeritus Dr. Emory C. Bogle began his career at the University of Richmond in 1967 and retired in 2000, although he continued to teach part-time in retirement. He passed away Dec. 26 at the age of 73.
Described as “a fiercely independent cuss, but lover of this university,” at his retirement in 2000, Emory Bogle left a legacy at the University of Richmond through his dedication to Middle Eastern studies — and to his students.
Initially trained in early modern European history, Bogle introduced the first courses in Middle East history and Islam at the University of Richmond in the late ’70s. A decade later, he published two widely used texts, “The Modern Middle East,” a history text, and “Islam: Origin in Belief,” an introduction to Islam.
At Bogle’s retirement, associate history professor and history department chair Hugh West portrayed Bogle as a staunch advocate of intellectual pursuits and a devoted adviser to countless students — particularly those who had a hard time adjusting to the University of Richmond culture, such as athletes and minorities.
“College for him, as a mountain boy, was a cause for wonder and gratitude,” West wrote. “He has made it his mission ever since to convince others that a passion to know makes for the fullest life.
“His central purpose in all his courses — whether the Core Course, a Modern Middle East survey, or a Master of Humanities seminar — has been to nudge, cajole, and, yes, scold students out of intellectual indifference and timidity. Time and again he has engaged in the life of the mind students and the rest of us have written off.”
That dedication to his students and his studies was something Bogle’s son Andrew, '02, saw as well. Andrew, a football player who essentially grew up on campus, said hearing from his dad’s former students and colleagues made Bogle’s impact clear.
“He put all his energy into everything he did,” Andrew said, “whether it was teaching a class or meeting with an advisee. That’s why people remembered him.”
Andrew said his father’s interest in the Middle East came from friends Bogle made while living in Washington, D.C. during graduate school. As he became more intrigued with the culture, Bogle saw the need for Americans to understand it better — and trained himself to teach the subject, Andrew said.
Bogle traveled extensively to the Middle East, including a 1988 trip to Qatar where he rode across the desert at 102 mph and learned about the advances of the local society, according to a story in the Richmond News Leader in 1989.
Luke Johnson, ’02, remembered Bogle as always giving off an air of adventure — such as trips to the Middle East — along with his sense of humor. Johnson took Bogle’s first-year core course and now teaches philosophy at the University of Georgia. He credits Bogle with helping him realize his heart was in “the realm of ideas.”
“We discussed some incredibly deep and complex ideas in his class,” Johnson said, “but he knew as well as anyone that the medicine had to be delivered with a spoonful of sugar. I found that his wit enlivened my imagination all the more, so that I could get my brain around what he was saying. To this day, because of Emory Bogle, I believe in the pedagogical power of humor.”
In addition to his academic contributions, Bogle founded the annual Bogle Open Golf Tournament for alumni, part of Richmond’s homecoming for 35 years.
Bogle inspired his students in the classroom, but Andrew said his father also had a lasting effect on them beyond the walls of Ryland Hall.
“I’ve had a number of people say things like, ‘Your dad made me really love history,’” Andrew said, “but [they say] ‘he also made me confident in myself so I became a lawyer or I opened up my own business or I became a dean of a college.’ He was able to instill confidence into people -- that was one thing he really enjoyed as a teacher.”