by Max Marbut
Wayne Hogan is well-known for his desire to help people with personal injury, wrongful death and product liability lawsuits. He should be as well known for his philanthropy.
After attending public school in St. Augustine and later graduating from college at Florida State University and then earning his J.D. at FSU’s College of Law, Wayne Hogan wanted to give something back. He began endowing scholarships for students in St. Johns County public schools and St. Johns River Community College who wanted to continue their educations.
Hogan said he was proud to be able to touch the lives of dozens of students through the scholarships, but after a few years he wanted to do more. He decided to create an even more ambitious program that would let undergraduates get an idea of what it’s like when a person decides to make the law a career.
Now in its 15th year, the Summer for Undergraduates Law Program at FSU’s College of Law is an introduction to what Hogan called “the law school experience” by spending six weeks on the campus. The project allows minority and disadvantaged students to be exposed to the rigors of law school and encourages them to enroll in law school either at FSU or elsewhere.
“They go through an introductory curriculum to give them a sense of what it’s like and what they have to do to prepare if they choose to go into law school,” he said. “It also gives the students a chance to get to know the College of Law and the College of Law can get to know the students.”
The project was inspired by an experience Hogan had while attending St. Augustine High School.
Frank Upchurch, an attorney who years later sat on the bench of the Fifth District Court of Appeals, came to Hogan’s civics class to talk to the students about what it was like to be an attorney.
“That day really changed my life. It opened my eyes to something I had never thought I would have the opportunity to do. It showed me there was a way I could participate not only in the law but in policy issues as well. If he hadn’t come to that class, I’m not sure I would have known about those things.”
Hogan is also active in the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) initiative. He said he supports the program both financially and personally when he attends statewide SWAT conferences to help the students involved better understand the dangers of using tobacco.
“The way to prevent people from becoming smokers and becoming addicted is to deal with them when they’re young,” he said.
Hogan’s favorite causes all have the common themes of health and education.
“When you get right down to public policy issues that have been important and remain right on top of the list, that’s what they are. You have to take the measures necessary to prevent problems by investing in education and community programs that make a difference. We need to teach and develop the citizenry of the future,” he said.