Chairman Emeritus of the Blair Board of Trustees John C. Bogle ’47 returned to Blair Academy on May 14 to spend the day at his beloved alma mater. The founder of The Vanguard Group, Inc., addressed the Blair community at School Meeting and enjoyed his annual luncheon with the current Bogle Brothers Scholars, 10 students who are among more than 150 beneficiaries of a scholarship Mr. Bogle established in 1968 in honor of his late twin, David '47, and his older brother, William '45.
Mr. Bogle was enthusiastically applauded when Blair Head of School Mr. Fortunato introduced him as “one of you, a Blair guy whose love for and generosity to Blair are unparalleled.” After detailing for the audience Mr. Bogle’s path from Blair to Princeton, Mr. Fortunato spoke about his incredible professional accomplishments as the founder of Vanguard and his extraordinary commitment to his alma mater over many years as a Trustee and Chairman Emeritus.
“My love for Blair is pretty close to eternal, and I am proud and privileged to have played a role in its renaissance,” Mr. Bogle said as 460 students eagerly listened to his remarks. “Blair changed my life in too many ways to recount this morning, but I want to give you just one of those examples. It was at Blair Academy that I learned to use the English language and how to write. My teachers spent so much time with me, mostly with a red pen. But I got better and better under their tutelage. The result is that my writing ability, among other things, enabled me to go to Princeton and start Vanguard and watch it grow into a colossus.”
Joking that it was never his intention to create a colossus, Mr. Bogle said he quickly realized that when you give investors “the best deal of their lives,” there could be no other outcome. He concluded his remarks by focusing on his busy career not just in business, but also as a writer, noting that he is in the process of “polishing off” his 12th book, The Songs I Sang Will Still Be Sung, a quotation from Johnny Cash.
“I am impressed with your vibrant values and great potential,” he said in closing. “I hope all of the songs I have sung over the years here at Blair will still be sung by all of you wonderful young people with such promise and ability.”
Mr. Fortunato and his wife, Erin, hosted the Bogle Scholars luncheon at Sharpe House. The group was joined by Trustee Singleton Cox ’90, herself a Bogle Scholar during her time at Blair, and each attendee had the opportunity to share what was happening in his or her life with Mr. Bogle. The guest of honor ended his visit to campus by meeting with members of Blair’s investment club, which was a very special opportunity for students who may one day follow in Mr. Bogle’s esteemed footsteps to the world of banking, investment and finance.
To watch a video of Mr. Bogle’s remarks, click “play” below.