With a paper roadmap folded on the dashboard of a rental car, Jerry Hogge logged hundreds of miles in a three-week span up and down the East Coast to spread the word about Methodist University’s emergent professional golf management program.
That was in 1988, more than 30 summers ago.
“I went from here to Portland, Maine,” he said. “I was on Long Island, in New Jersey, in Delaware, and Virginia. I visited just about every kid we had that summer doing internships. I knew that if I kept going, those professionals at those clubs would tell other people about Methodist. And they did.”
Since then, the program has graduated more than 1,100 students, each of whom has landed a job in the industry. Methodist University alumni now lead some of the most prestigious courses in the world, from Baltusrol Golf Club in New York, site of the 2016 PGA Championship, to Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, site of the 2016 U.S. Open. In 1999, the program earned accreditation from the PGA of America, meaning that each graduate who accepts a position in the golf industry is awarded PGA membership.
After 32 years as the program’s director, Hogge is stepping aside to take on a new role for the school. Methodist’s Board of Trustees named him Director Emeritus at its May meeting. For Hogge, the board voted to waive the stipulation that the emeritus designation be awarded only upon retirement.
“The Director Emeritus title is awarded in gratitude for Jerry’s many years of dedicated and excellent work,” said Methodist University President Stan Wearden. “Jerry and the team of faculty and staff he assembled have elevated the program to national prominence as one of the country’s most respected PGM programs. Graduates for decades have worked at many of the top golf clubs and courses in the United States.”
Bob Bruns, associate director of the program, will take over as director. Bruns has been with the program since 2005.
Hogge, 72, will continue to advise students and teach classes, but he will turn his focus to fundraising to support facility enhancements for the program. Hogge also plans to support recruiting, development, and alumni relations.
“During his tenure, Jerry has added immeasurable value to the PGM program and the University,” said Dena Breece, interim dean and associate dean of the Reeves School of Business, who wrote the nomination. “He has led our students through the academic aspects, as well as the practical experiences that make our PGM program so successful.
“Jerry has fostered relationships with countless golf clubs throughout the United States, as well as Mexico and Canada,” Breece said. “As a result, our students have guaranteed success in the industry as evidenced by the program’s 100 percent internship and job placement statistics.”