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Meet the Donors: George and Doris Vogel

March 7, 2018

The Vogel School of Engineering is named for alumnus Brigadier General George B. Vogel ’58, who – along with his wife, Doris – provided a substantial gift for the new school. This fascinating couple’s lives have been characterized by lifelong service to God and country. Here is your chance to learn more about the donors who did so much to make the Vogel School of Engineering a reality.

George B. and Doris Vogel have been married for over 60 years. Gen. Vogel originally hailed from Philadelphia, Penn., and attended the Philadelphia Bible Institute (now known as Cairn University) before transferring to Bryan College for his last year. Doris was a star basketball player in the high school they both attended growing up, and they officially began dating while both attending Philadelphia Bible Institute, where Doris is in the Cairn Highlanders Hall of Honors for her achievements on the basketball team. They married in 1957, and Doris was by her husband’s side when he transferred to Bryan for his final undergraduate year. (They drove down to Dayton, Tenn., on their honeymoon, camping along the way!)

Thinking back on his time as a Bryan Lion, Gen. Vogel remarks, “I was impressed with the interest that the faculty and administration had for me as an individual.”

He graduated from Bryan in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, and moved west to earn his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Talbot School of Theology in California – the state where he and Doris have lived ever since. He says he has gained “a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, as well as a deeper respect for people” through earning his degrees, as well as working with people from all varieties of geo-economic classes and backgrounds.

During seminary he took a class in military chaplaincy, which sparked his interest in the field into which God would soon lead him. Gen. Vogel remembers God’s divine planning when reflecting on his career history: “I started in the National Guard when I was a pastor, went on active duty for five years, and stayed in the National Guard Reserves with almost 36 total years of service. I was a pastor of a congregational church in Los Angeles, then I was an army chaplain, then I went to work for the V.A. [the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] in 1987. I’ve been working as a chaplain for the V.A. ever since.”

Gen. Vogel explains that during this time Doris “graduated from Philadelphia General Hospital as an RN, followed by Philadelphia Bible Institute, and eventually received a bachelor’s degree when the school became accredited. She worked in a hospital setting while I went to seminary. During my time in the pastorate she worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District, teaching licensed vocational nurses at night. After I left the active military, Doris worked 15 years as a nurse in alcoholic rehabilitation. When she retired from nursing, she was the owner/manager of a party goods store in Mission Viejo, Calif.” She also volunteered for several years at the V.A. hospital – a great support to her husband throughout their lives with her compassionate heart and business sense.

Gen. Vogel’s current position as Chief of Chaplain Service at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center “is about bringing a spiritual dimension to the lives of the patients in the V.A. Hospital and to their families,” he explains. This includes short- and long-term patients of all kinds, including those in hospice care and in the large spinal cord injury ward (the largest of its kind in the 155 hospitals in the V.A.). Vogel was named the 2015 recipient of the Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Excellence in Chaplaincy, The Lifetime Achievement Award. In May of 2015 he was honored with the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Bryan College in recognition of his lifetime of ministry and service to his God and his country. “I feel really fortunate that at my age and time of life I am still healthy enough to do the work and my mind is relatively active, and I’m just blessed. That’s why I’m able to do these things,” he says.

“Bryan College provided a strong foundation for my career and service to my country,” Gen. Vogel reflects. “It was a life-changing experience that prepared me for my future. Doris and I are grateful for the work that continues on Bryan College’s campus. It’s an honor to be able to provide the funding for the School of Engineering and it’s very humbling to have it bear our name.”

Did You Know?

George and Doris have an adult daughter, Deborah, and a teenaged granddaughter, Ella.

George was one of the first 500 individuals to become a licensed marriage and family therapist for the state of California, a licensure that he still maintains to this day through regular study and testing.

Doris was one member of the McClelland Sisters singing trio in the Philadelphia area in the early 1950s.

The Vogels met William Jennings Bryan, Jr., on the bowling greens in Laguna Beach, Calif.

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