Posted on: April 22, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Kaitlyn Davies, JRN 111 Student

If you ask professor Jeffrey McCully about communications professor Bill Hogan’s mannerisms, you will immediately hear the mouse story.

McCully, who teaches sociology and anthropology, recalls the moment clearly:

“I remember there was one time we had a mouse in our office. Our desks are right next to each other, and the mouse comes by…I don’t know how to demonstrate this. I don’t know how he did this. He’s sitting at his desk, typing or whatever, when this mouse comes by, and somehow, he entirely went off the ground. He somehow levitated off his chair.

“He’s just so animated.” So animated that McCully calls him “kind of a cartoon character. His hair dances around.”

Hogan’s animated enthusiasm is what defines him as a person and as a teacher, as his colleagues and students will tell you, but it took him a while to realize where his passions were leading him.

Jeffrey McCully, left, has stories to tell about his officemate, Bill Hogan.

“Bill Hogan gets very excited about things,” McCully says. “He’s incredibly passionate about really anything he does. He takes stuff seriously, but in a very fun way.”

But how did such a person end up at a community college? Or at Moraine specifically? Especially this person, who studied abroad in England, lived in France, and went to college in New York? He even worked as a child actor, appearing as a background character in “Home Alone” during the airport scene.

Hogan adores English. However, throughout his college career, he never knew what to do with all that passion.

“When I was in graduate school, earning a degree in English, I never thought I would be a teacher,” he says. “It was truly one of the careers that I had pretty much ruled out.”

Despite his feelings on the matter, he still found himself in the third English specialization, which he calls, “the longshot group” – the one predominantly comprised of those looking to become a college professor. “I was in the group that was basically studying the subject and not preparing to teach it. It was working towards a PhD and becoming an English professor. I was in that group, and I never had any interest in being a college professor.

“I was literally the only one thinking, ‘Why am I studying this?’ Because I love it. Because I love this stuff. It’s fascinating as hell to me. I love the whole process of intellectual community and debate…The opportunity to spend time reading and thinking about texts and ideas…and I truly just naively thought that it would just work out.”

Stumbling across path others knew was for him

Graduating from Brooklyn College with his master’s degree and thousands of dollars of debt, Hogan went out into the world to search for his purpose. He applied for a position at a small publishing house, only to be disappointed at the salary and lack of benefits. Broke and unfulfilled, he moved back to his home state of Illinois.

He then turned to the very thing he had almost ruled out: teaching.

With a French girlfriend whose work visa had expired and crippling debt on his shoulders, Hogan needed to make money…and fast. So he tried his hand at teaching as a part-time, adjunct professor at South Suburban College–a smart move on his part, because instantly, everything made sense.

With intense passion in his voice, he says, “I fully realized this was the best job I ever had. Easily that was the career. That’s what I wanted to do.”

But his family and friends knew it all along. “Everyone around me was like, ‘You went to grad school for this. This is the only thing that ever made sense for you!’ My family members said ‘I saw you as a professor when you were in high school!’ Really? I never saw it!”

He applied and accepted another part-time teaching position at Moraine Valley, falling in love with the college.

“As soon as I started teaching at Moraine I was like, I love this place,” he said. “I can’t think of anyone that I work with or in administration above me that I don’t have a good relationship with and respect, and have gotten the same respect and support in kind. That’s huge. That’s a massive thing.”

However, being an adjunct doesn’t exactly pay the bills, even when working at two different colleges. He needed a full-time job to lighten the load on his shoulders, so Hogan applied for his current position at Moraine, one that would make teaching a permanent and reliable source of income. This moment gave his life the spark it desperately needed.

Celebrating big news in Starbucks bathroom

He remembers the exact day and the intimate details of the moment Moraine hired him full-time:

“I remember getting the phone call, I was at the Starbucks on 95th street in Oak Lawn next to the train station. I was in there just grading. I get the call and I run into the bathroom. I don’t know why, I should have run outside. But I was in the bathroom, talking to the dean, Wally Fronczek, and I’ll always remember he’s like, ‘Bill, we’d like to offer you the job.’ And I’m in the bathroom of the Starbucks just screaming. Full blown screaming. It was an out of body experience. I didn’t even care.

“To this day, this memory… It is not an exaggeration. It totally changed my life. Immediately all my problems were solved.”

He finally had the means to support himself comfortably. With this good news, he traveled to France to propose to his girlfriend, Maud, and everything finally fell into place.

Bill Hogan, right, enjoys life with his wife, Maud, and daughter Margaux.

“I believe in the mission of community colleges,” Hogan says. “I love that it’s accessible, open enrollment, the exact student population that we have is who I love to teach.”

And the student population loves him back. Nicole Dela Rosa, a former honors student of Hogan’s, describes him as “a very relaxed teacher who didn’t like to stick to strict schedules…One time we even had a tea party and he brought his own cups.

“One philosophy I liked about him that I tried to adopt is just his ability to like things,” Dela Rosa says. “I wish more people were open minded like that.”

Hogan’s time as a teacher has taught him a lot about himself, solidifying the feeling that he made the perfect career choice.

Although his passion has never wavered, over the years, some things have changed.

“What’s funny is as a faculty member, you get older,” he says. “It’s [like] the movie ‘Dazed and Confused.’ Matthew McConaughey [is] this guy who graduated high school who still hangs out with high school kids. But it’s a super memorable line where he says, ‘I keep getting older, but they stay the same age.’

“When I started as an adjunct, I was 27. And now I’m 38, soon to be 39. Back then I was much more familiar with pop culture. I used to hear ‘Oh man I thought you were one of the students, not a teacher!’

“I never hear that anymore.”

But he takes the changes in stride, enjoying every moment of the path he has found himself on.

“It’s a good thing. I’m getting older. It can’t stay stale,” he says. “There’s a million different ways that I’ve changed over the years that have changed how I look at the material and how I teach. I love that.”

Now, Professor Bill Hogan is doing just fine. With a headstrong wife since 2003, a 6-year-old daughter, Margaux, following in his comedic footsteps, and a perfect-fit career choice, he embodies the idea that everything will turn out alright, as long as you stay true to yourself.

Photos courtesy of Bill Hogan