Occupation: Wife of the president of Maryville College, mother, writer and teacher.
Family: Married to Dr. Tom Bogart, and they have one daughter, Elizabeth, 14.
When Mary and Tom dated, it was more of an interview process. Her dad liked him immediately, and her mom knew he was “the one.”
That’s how Mary Bogart, wife of Maryville College president Dr. Tom Bogart, describes the couple’s courtship.
“We didn’t really date as much as we interviewed each other,” she says with a laugh. “We were both older. I think it was more up-front and honest from the beginning, and it was fun.”
A native of Andover, Ohio, she grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. She graduated high school in 1983, went to McCalister College, dropped out, but returned to school years later and earned an English degree with a secondary schools certification from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in 1991.
Mary and Tom started dating in January of 1991 and were engaged in October of 1991.
“He was at Case Western Reserve University where he was a professor of economics and we met through mutual friends. He called me to go to a comedy club,” she says. “I told him I would if he would come to the East Side and pick me up. Nobody wanted to drive from the West side to the East side of Cleveland, but he did, and I was so impressed.”
Not long after that, Mary introduced Tom to her parents…and he was a hit. “I sprung it on him. I brought him over to my mom and dad’s house. Dad loves country music, and the two of them played ‘Name that Tune.” Tom knew every single song, and my mom looked at me and said, ‘He’s the one. I’ll memorize his last name.’ She never remembered any of my date’s last names. We got married July 18, 1992.”
A teacher by trade, Mary worked in the Mentor Public Schools 30 miles east of Cleveland after graduating, and she put into practice a philosophy that helped her reach students and motivate them to learn. “You have to get them to want to learn. You can’t just feed them the material,” she says. “Once they want to learn, they can learn anything. That’s what makes a good teacher. My first principal said it is a commitment but not to a job, and I never forgot that.”
While Mary enjoys teaching, she also enjoys horseback riding and has a Mustang horse she took into the Tennessee River for the first time this past weekend. “I’ve been riding since I was a girl. I always loved horses. I might have been a cowgirl in a previous life.”
In addition to horseback riding, Mary enjoys watching baseball and football. When the Cleveland Indians made the playoffs in 1996, “I actually wrote and sent in 35 postcards to get the opportunity to buy playoff tickets. I got them and saw Albert Belle hit a grand slam home run, and it was the best,” she says.
“I grew up a Browns fan - the old Browns. Now I’m a Maryville College football fan,” she says. “In the South, (football) is an event, and everybody goes - from babies to 100-year-olds.”
Mary says that because Maryville College is a Division III school, she sees each of the team members as more than just athletes. “I see them on the football field, cheering in the basketball game, singing in choir and doing community service. Being a Division III school, you see the whole person,” she says. “The basketball games are fun, too, and Randy Lambert is hysterical to watch. They are very well-coached.”
Mary says her husband always wanted to be a college president of a small, liberal arts college. “He had been looking, and we just loved the college from the beginning,” she says of Maryville College. “This was a family decision. We asked Elizabeth what was the last year she would be willing to move, and she said she wanted to go to one high school, so we knew this was our window of opportunity to move.”
Here is Mary Bogart:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“Forrest Gump, ‘I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”’
What are you guilty of?
What is your favorite material possession?
“Dr. Carl Gombert has loaned us some of his artwork, as well as some artwork from Maryville College students to hang on the walls in our home.”
What are you reading currently?
“I’m rereading, ‘The Day the Earth Caved In,’ by Joan Quigley, who was one of my high school classmates. It is a wonderful book.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“1. Learn to play the guitar. 2. Visit as many National Parks as possible. 3. Ride my horse, an American Mustang named Rambo, in a parade.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Funny. I have a dry sense of humor.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I wish I could be more of a morning person…and lose the 40 pounds I put on in graduate school.”
What is your passion?
“Teaching and tutoring.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“I would like to be able to have lunch with my late grandmothers, because I still miss them very much.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“My mom took a train trip across the United States with her family in the summer of 1947. I would love to be able to join them on that adventure.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“My engagement ring.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I have a Facebook account, and my Basset Hound, Rosie, has a Twitter account. You can follow her @Rosie_Bassett. She has 2,200 followers. Dogs and their owners from around the world follow her.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“During the summer between 10th and 11th grade, I worked for Sea World of Ohio filling little plastic containers by hand with Hawaiian Punch.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“Without question, ‘The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour’ was my all-time favorite.”
What irritates you?
“I am not fond of being asked to, ‘select a number from the following menu of options,’ before I can speak to a human being.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“The Clayton Center for the Arts.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“Mary, instead of taking that typing class, you should probably learn how to use a computer.”
What is your greatest fear?
“I have a fear of falling.”
“I still can’t quite get the hang of…
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“I would like to suddenly drop in on a few good friends I haven’t seen in years, just to see how they’re doing.”