Saint Martin’s faculty member Victor Kogan chosen to present ‘Last Lecture’ April 12

April 2, 2012

koganLACEY, WASHINGTON—Saint Martin’s University students have chosen Professor Victor M. Kogan, Ph.D., a member of the social sciences faculty for 22 years, to present the University’s 2012 “Last Lecture.”

Kogan, whose topic will be "What I Teach, How I Teach and Why I Do So,” will deliver his presentation at 6 p.m., April 12, at Harned Hall 110 on the University’s main campus, 5000 Abbey Way S.E. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. The event is free and the public is welcome.

Now an annual event on campus, the Last Lecture features a faculty member chosen to reflect on his or her personal and professional life. His or her talk centers on the question, “If this were the last lecture you ever gave, what would you share with students?” The series’ objective is to connect the University’s students and faculty in an informal setting that encourages reflection on everyday convictions, actions and challenges. Sponsors are the Saint Martin’s Faculty-in-Residence Program and the Associated Students of Saint Martin’s University.

David Price, Ph.D., a social sciences colleague since 1994, called Kogan one of the institution’s most beloved instructors. “He brings ideas to life in his classroom,” says Price. “He draws out students in debates and discussions in ways that get otherwise reticent students to fully engage with learning. He has the deep respect and admiration of his students and colleagues.”

Kogan, whose expertise is in criminal justice and sociology, says he was first drawn to teaching for civic and personal reasons. “The civic reason is my understanding that this is a great society,” says Kogan. “The personal reason is my gratitude for the opportunities I and my family enjoy living here.”

A Russian émigré of Jewish descent, Kogan’s background helps inform his personal understanding of many issues of concern today. “Being a member of a minority,” he explains, “I am extremely sensitive to issues of justice.”

Kogan is particularly interested in researching juries, race and gender issues, and conflicts between justice and experience within the criminal justice system. His courses include Ethics in Criminal Justice, Women and the Law, and Justice and the Law. A respected researcher and writer on criminal justice issues, Kogan was honored last year by professional colleagues, who dedicated the 25th issue of the journal Russian Criminological Outlook in its entirety to his scholarly work. The issue featured research by Kogan as well as reviews of his books and articles by those colleagues. That significant academic distinction prompted the University community to honor him with the Saint Martin’s University Certificate of Special Recognition on his 75th birthday last year.

Saint Martin’s Last Lecture Series is now in its third year. It is modeled on that of Carnegie Mellon University, which became nationally recognized in 2007 when Randy Pausch, Ph.D., a young computer science professor, was selected to give his lecture. His lecture, shaped by his battle with terminal cancer, has been viewed by millions and is part of school curricula worldwide.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

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Victor M. Kogan, Ph.D.

Sarah Holdener
Director of community relations and event management
Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University