Hogan Family Scholarship supports Kansas City Public Schools graduates enrolled as Business majors
“Redefining Potential” is the theme of the new Hogan Family Scholarship Fund at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
It’s a subject Nate Hogan knows well, because it’s essentially the story of his life.
Hogan serves as chair of the Kansas City (Missouri) Public Schools (KCPS) Board of Education. He and his wife, Felecia, endowed the fund to support KCPS graduates of color who enroll in the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management. Hogan holds an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from the Bloch School.
His route to a master’s degree was hardly a typical one; that road began with his decision to drop out of his Florida Keys high school in 10th grade (the only year he lived outside of Kansas City). Today, he is Vice President, Healthcare Solutions for NIC Corp. in Olathe.
The scholarship is designed to support and inspire young people who face similar hurdles to those he overcame.
“My high school grades were terrible,” he admits. “Nobody would have offered Nate Hogan a scholarship.”
The Hogan Scholarship has no GPA or standardized test score barriers.
“Why look at every kid through the lens of standardized tests?” he said, noting that such tests also heavily influence high school GPA. “It’s not a really good predictor of a person’s potential.”
The scholarship program is designed to ensure every student who wants to go to college, has an equitable opportunity to do so. The $2,000 annual scholarships are intended to supplement the Pell grants and other financial aid these students typically receive – and serve as a motivating force.
“We want to tell these kids, ‘you have a real opportunity here,’ and help them understand that they can ignore all the noise going on in their lives, all the noise going on in society, and think about how they can dig deep and tap into their full potential,” Hogan said.
Nate and Felecia started the scholarship fund with an $8,000 contribution, and have committed to make that same donation on a yearly basis. Additional fundraising has added another $2,000 to the fund, and the Hogans plan to step up their personal involvement in fundraising for the scholarship in future years.
The focus on business education is also based on the Hogans’ personal journey.
“Our entire careers have been business-focused,” Hogan said. They met at Commerce Bank – Nate’s first job outside the service industry – where today Felecia serves as senior vice president and director of diversity, equity and inclusion. Nate has served in a variety of business roles before taking his current position at NIC, crossing just about every major business discipline (accounting, finance, sales, relationship management, operations and leadership).
“We believe a business degree can be a great foundation no matter what you end up doing in your career,” he said.
Ultimately, Hogan’s motivation for setting up the scholarship fund is the same as what drove him to become a leader for the city school district.
“Because I was a very mobile student who came to school carrying a bunch of stuff that no child should have to take on, I can identify with our students.”