Mary Jo (Casserly) Hogan’s ’76 commitment to service remains steadfast, even after 30 years in the military
By Tim Ertle
Some things never change.
Such as Mary Jo (Casserly) Hogan’s ’76 commitment to service. The same service and loyalty that earned her the honor of being the first woman to win the Bob Beaudry Award, which is presented to a senior student who exemplifies the ideal of Jesuit education and is a man or woman for others. Hogan still carries that commitment today from her home in Annapolis, Md.
Hogan remains passionate about helping those in need. Her volunteer work with Light House, a shelter that works with the homeless in the Annapolis area, is an example. She helps out in her parish and participates in pro-life organizations, too.
Service is something Hogan has done all her life, but her time with the Jesuits at John Carroll University inspired her to make a difference.
“It starts at home,” she says. “I had great parents who taught all seven kids in my family we could make the world a better place, so all of us grew up with this foundation that you should always see what you can do to help someone else. “I came to John Carroll knowing it was great to help people, but my time there showed me how to do it and gave me an outlet. I took away a call to service that was engrained in us by the Jesuits and the John Carroll mission.”
It’s service – in one form or another – that has taken Hogan all over the world.
When her family moved to Cleveland from Toledo, Hogan’s parents enrolled her at Saint Ann School in Cleveland Heights. From there, she attended Regina High School before choosing to continue her education at Carroll. She commuted from her family’s home on Fairmount Boulevard to school, never experiencing dorm life.
“Maybe I got the bug because I stayed at home for school,” she says. “I was involved on campus with service and Student Union, as well as writing articles for The Carroll News and theatrics in the Marinello Little Theatre. It was convenient for me to be close. But at the same time, I knew there was this big, beautiful world with so much to see that I wanted to travel and see what the rest of the world was like.”
Unsure about a vehicle to do that, Hogan looked no further than her family.
Her father, James Casserly, was a World War II veteran. She had an older brother, also a Carroll grad, who spent time in the Army, so she figured the military was worthwhile to explore.
Between her junior and senior year at Carroll, she went to Fort McClellan in Alabama for a month-long boot camp with the Women’s Army Corps. She loved the experience and returned to University Heights with a scholarship for her senior year.
“Some of the ROTC guys used to give me a hard time because I was being paid as a corporal and had a two-year commitment, whereas they received a stipend that was less than what I was getting and they had a four-year commitment,” she says. “It was a great opportunity for me.”
After determining the Army was where she wanted to go, Hogan became the first woman from John Carroll to be commissioned as an officer in what capped off an memorable weekend in May 1976. In a two-day span, she earned her degree in humanities, listened to Bob Hope speak at the commencement ceremony, received the Beaudry Award, and was commissioned.
That hectic weekend prepared her for the next chapter of her life – training as a military intelligence officer. Less than a year after graduating, she traveled to Seoul, South Korea, on duty.
“I remember seeing I was being sent to South Korea and asking my assignment officer if that was correct,” she says. “I was told I was a military intelligence officer and single, so they needed me there.”
Hogan wouldn’t remain single for long because she met her future husband, Patrick Hogan, while serving in Seoul. They married and, together, have raised three children, Patrick Jr. (31), Erin (30) and Colin (27).
When it was all said and done, Hogan spent 28 years in the Army – all of them as a military intelligence officer. She was a commander for two different battalions, a position she calls the highlight of her career, preparing hundreds of soldiers for training to head overseas.
Because of her strong leadership skills, Hogan was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., and earn a master’s degree in strategic strategy. It was a year-long service school where she studied with other officers and focused on strategic thinking.
Hogan still uses strategic thinking in her current position as the deputy director at the Emergency Management Center of the U.S. Department of Labor.
“I’m responsible for national security programs at the federal level,” she says. “I coordinate daily with the Department of Homeland Security, so it has become an important career field. We’re the eyes and ears for our branch, and we notify those that will be affected. This – intelligence – is what I love doing, so it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
It’s clear Hogan isn’t only satisfied with where she is now but where she’s been.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done,” she says. “I learned a lot at John Carroll in terms of service, and it’s a place I hold near and dear to me. I haven’t been back in a while, but I have it on my calendar to get back this summer for my 35th class reunion. Every time I’m there it brings back so many memories. It’s a special place.” JCU