Meet the Donors: George and Doris Vogel

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.


Difference Makers: Zac ’01 and Toks (Olowola) ‘04 Brown

November 17, 2017 – Major: Mathematics: Secondary Education (Zac) and Mathematics: Computer Science (Toks)

Dr. Zac Brown ‘01 and his wife, Toks (Olowola) Brown ’04, are shining examples of Bryan Difference Makers. They met at college, both deeply involved in campus life and ministry, and married in 2004. Their career paths since graduation have been a testimony to the Lord’s provision and direction.

Zac’s career journey reveals his heart for serving students who do not have a strong support system, and his inspiring personality encourages all those he comes in contact with to achieve more than they may have ever deemed possible. After earning a B.S. in mathematics from Bryan, his career in education began with a position as a mathematics teacher and wrestling coach at Rhea County High School. Since then, he has served as principal at East Ridge High School, executive principal at Howard High School, and assistant superintendent of operations for Hamilton County Schools. He earned his Master of Arts in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University and a Master of Arts in mathematics education (5-12) from Western Governors University. In August 2017 Zac earned his Doctor of Education in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.

According to his bio from the Hamilton Country Department of Education, “During his three years at The Howard School, Brown increased the graduation rate, created an English as a Second Language program, increased the enrollment by over 200 students, and transitioned the school to a 1:1 (one student, one device) technology school.” He has also helped to build a mentoring and leadership program between The Howard School and the Lookout Mountain Conservancy, a partnership empowering students to gain leadership, academic, social, and conservation skills and aid them in post-high-school job placement. Zac is currently the director of secondary opportunity schools for Hamilton County Schools.

After her graduation from Bryan in 2004 with a B.S. in mathematics, Toks served as Bryan’s director of human resources while working toward her MBA from the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. The Lord then led her to a position with the Social Security Administration, where her career has remained ever since – first as a social insurance representative and now as a claims specialist. Here Toks has received yearly awards for her work, which includes settling matters related to retirement, disability, Medicare, and Medicaid. Her heart for others shines through in both her career path and the many ways that she has been involved in volunteer work over the years.

The Browns have been married for over 13 years now and have precious young twin daughters, Isabella and Julianna. They currently reside in Ooltewah, Tenn., and are members at Silverdale Baptist Church.


Alumni Feature: Olivia Kezer ‘17

April 3, 2017 – Major: Business Administration; Minor: Communications.

When Olivia Kezer first arrived at Bryan College as a freshman, she quickly knew she had found her home for the next four years. She also soon discovered opportunities on campus to foster her spiritual gifts and grow deeper to God.

“A wise teacher once told me that picking a college is less about picking where you’re going to get a degree because you can get a degree in a given subject pretty much anywhere; what you’re actually choosing is who you’re going to grow with and who is going to influence you for four years,” Kezer said. “I can think of no other place I would want to grow or be influenced than at Bryan with the people here.”

During her freshman year, Olivia became involved with Student Government Association (SGA) and fell in love with the group’s sense of community and opportunities to learn new skills. She eventually worked her way up to becoming SGA President her senior year and has continued to foster relationships with students and staff around campus.

“Being on SGA has taught me what servant leadership truly looks like, how to endeavor to handle conflict and confusion with grace, and how to be strong in my convictions,” Kezer said.

After graduation, Olivia hopes to work for a non-profit organization in a business administration role.

“Community may be a buzzword at Bryan, but that’s only because it’s true,” Kezer said. “I have found forever friends and mentors here who have walked alongside me and helped me grow in ways I’m absolutely positive wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”


Alumni Feature: Katherine Fraizer ’16

Kathryn Fraizer in Soccer Uniform with Soccer ballApril 13, 2017 – Major: Christian Ministry: Youth Ministry; Minor: Biblical Studies

When it came to my undergraduate studies, I chose Bryan College, because I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere when I visited for the first time during Scholarship Weekend. Plus, who wouldn’t love looking at the mountains all the time?

I have too many favorite things about Bryan to pick just one. Some of my top choices would be the friends, professors, opportunities to go on mission trips, play soccer, and pursue photography.

I currently work as the Discipleship Coordinator at Brown Missionary Baptist Church. After my interview for the job, they actually customized the job for me because of my degree and the experiences I had during my time at Bryan.

I’m currently part of the AGS program and working towards an MBA with a Ministry specialization with my anticipated graduation in 2018.


Alumni Feature: Donna Commers ’16

Donna Commers HeadshotApril 13, 2017 – Major: Business Administration

I chose Bryan College because I wanted a Christian education and Bryan has an excellent reputation. Numerous colleagues recommended Bryan because they had attended Bryan and had a good experience. I liked the way that Bryan tied a Christian worldview into all of the lessons as well.

My favorite part about Bryan College was the availability of the instructors. Any time that I had a question or needed assistance, the instructors responded promptly. They were always very helpful and seemed to really care. I also loved the fact that while attending the onsite classes, the instructors always opened class with prayer.

Bryan made it easier to accomplish obtaining my bachelor’s degree, because the faculty and staff were so supportive every step of the way. I feel that by attending Bryan College I was able to grow spiritually as well as academically.


Alumni Feature: Adam Abbott ’15, ’17

Adam Abbot HeadshotApril 13, 2017 – Undergrad: Business Administration; Graduate: Business Administration – Human Resources specialization

With a family of five and full-time job, finding a school that offered flexibility was key for Adam Abbott’s search to finish and continue his education.

Adam currently works at Whirlpool and has received two promotions since he graduated from Bryan.

“I appreciated that the school shared morals that were very close to my own, yet offered tuition at a much lower price than that of the other schools in the area that might offer the same,” Abbott said.

“The staff has been nothing, but friendly and responsive. While I completed my MBA online, I completed my BS in the classroom. The faculty was always very familiar with the curriculum, and encouraged participation in the classroom. Through the adult studies program, this took place in 4 hour blocks once a week, but the involvement in the classroom made the time pass very quickly, and the material interesting.


Alumni Feature: Jubilee Lofgren ’17

Jubilee Lofgren HeadshotApril 7, 2017 – Major: Christian Studies – Bible

The great community and low professor to student ratio helped me choose Bryan College. My favorite part is how I have been challenged in and outside the classroom to grow spiritually, relationally, and mentally.

I have been an intern with the Worldview Initiative for the last two years and on the Worldview Initiative team for three years. Being on the Worldview Initiative team has grown me in so many ways. I have learned what it means to love people, to be confident in who God has made me to be, and how think and discuss complex ideas. I would not be the same person I am today if it were not for the Worldview Initiative!

After I graduate, I want to be a Bible Translator and translate the Bible for groups of people that don’t have a Bible in their mother tongue.


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