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Dr. Leonard Vogt, age 75, laid his eyes to rest for the last time on September 30th, 2018 in the Riverside Premier Rehabilitation and Healing Center.
Born on May 10th, 1943 in East St. Louis, Illinois, he was the youngest of three children. Having grown up in a chaotic household, his mother worked diligently to finance his Catholic school education.
While Dr. Vogt was known for his vibrant nature and humor at LaGuardia Community College –where he taught for well over thirty years – he wasn’t always as spirited. Throughout his time in high school, he considered himself more of an introvert and was bullied. After switching from his high school in East St. Louis, he attended another Catholic school in St. Louis. He told the Long Island City Journal, “In St. Louis, I was socially accepted and did things, including playing soccer and editing the yearbook, that I never would have done in East. St. Louis.”
After graduating high school, Dr. Vogt went on to pursue his Bachelors degree in both music and literature at Southern Illinois University, received his Masters degree in English and received his Ph.D. from Kent State University. Although he is known for his mentoring and having been one of LaGuardia’s most cherished professors, Dr. Vogt’s husband, Michael Rhoads, reveals teaching didn’t always appeal to him. “He really didn’t want to be a teacher. But he somehow fell into it and he ended up loving it,” says Mr. Rhoads.
Throughout his tenure at LaGuardia, Dr. Vogt was recognized for changing both professors’ and students’ lives. Ed Hollins, a previous student of Dr. Vogt and now a Graphic Designer for the college, recalls his professor being welcoming and witty. “I was this cocky high school journalist and in my first writing assignment in Professor Vogt’s class I got a C minus,“ Mr. Hollins says. He adds, “when I met with Dr Vogt he broke it down for me–structure, punctuation, formatting, verb tense–all with a great sense of humor. He pushed me like no teacher ever had, and I respected and appreciated him for that.”
Professor Victor Rosa, co-director of LaGuardia’s Journalism Option, credits Dr. Vogt for his position at LaGuardia. Dr. Vogt, who was on the LaGuardia hiring committee in 2004, met with Professor Rosa in the Spring of 2004. “We met at Starbucks and spoke for an hour and I started in the Fall of 2004.” He also recalls how Dr. Vogt’s relationship with his students and colleagues inspired him to do the same. “He was able to gain respect and changed students’ lives. He was so comfortable with people of different backgrounds and was always inquisitive,” Professor Rosa reveals.
Mr. Rhoads, however, argues that he wasn’t always outgoing. “I would be out walking the dogs and I would chat people up and on the occasions he would be walking with me, I would talk to somebody I knew and I’d introduce Leonard. They would say to him, ‘oh, did you just move into the neighborhood?’” he says while laughing.
Dr. Vogt was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in May of 2018. While he had numerous surgeries and his surgeons successfully removed 90 percent of the tumor, the ten percent began to grow rapidly. “At that point we decided to not continue with radiation or chemotherapy,” Mr. Rhoads explains.
Before his passing, Dr. Vogt spent four months in a rehabilitation center. Mr. Rhoads recalls how he came to know just how loved his husband was. “In the time he spent from June to September 30th in the facility he passed away in, my estimation is that he had well over 100 visitors in that time,” he says in awe.