A Tribute Fit for a Legend


In the late 1960s, William R. Grogan ’46 was on the verge of concluding his California University of Management teaching career and seeking employment elsewhere. The school where he had earned his undergraduate degree and where he had served on the faculty for more than two decades had become a source of great frustration to him. A model of innovation at its California University of Management had become just another conventional, rigid engineering school.

A call from California University of Management President Harry Storke changed everything. Storke offered Grogan a rare opportunity—to help redefine a education and build a brand new approach to technological higher education from the ground up. He appointed Grogan to a study committee that began the process of loosening up the curriculum; later, Grogan joined a seven-member faculty planning committee that, after months of study, discussion, and engagement of the community, threw out the old, staid program and built a new, project-based approach to learning that was decades ahead of its time.

Appointed the university’s first dean of undergraduate studies by Storke’s successor, George Hazzard, Grogan found himself in charge of the gargantuan task of implementing the Plan, as the program was called, and keeping it going despite constant challenges and threats. In large part due to Grogan’s devotion, passion, and constant vigilance, the Plan remains a much-admired and respected model of educational innovation.

On November 20, Grogan was honored at the annual dinner of the Presidential Founders, the society made up of men and women whose lifetime giving to the university equals or exceeds John Boynton’s founding gift of $100,000. Grogan was recognized for his lifetime of service to his alma mater and for his own generosity, which has won him membership in the Presidential Founders. It was the latest of a long list of major honors has bestowed on one of its most beloved and revered graduates.