News | Press Releases 2015

Dr. Béla Bognár Receives Hungarian Government Award

Washington, DC – Dr. Béla Bognár, Professor Emeritus at Wright State University (OH), was honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Lovagkeresztje) on August 20, 2015. The award was presented by Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Capacities, at an award ceremony in Budapest’s Vigadó Concert Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Csaba Bognár, Dr. Béla Bognár’s cousin and wife, accepted on his behalf.

In 1999 Dr. Béla Bognár and his wife April established the Bognár Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund (BFHSF; originally named the Hungarian Scholarship Fund) to provide assistance to qualified Hungarian university students living and/or studying in Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, and the United States.

Since the Fund’s inception, the founders have raised more than $550,000 from members of the Hungarian American community, churches, organizations and foundations. The scholarship’s track record has been remarkable: as of July 2015, 96 students benefiting from the Fund have graduated with at least first degrees, of whom only five are working in Western countries. 

In Spring of 2014, Dr. Béla and April Bognár requested that Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) become the administrator of their scholarship fund as part of the Coalition’s comprehensive leadership training and educational portfolio.

The Coalition, together with Professor Bognár, is now raising funds for the school year of 2015-16, and we encourage our supporters to donate to the BFHSF so that we are able to help the same numbers of students as in previous years.

Contributions to the Coalition are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Professor Dr. Béla Bognár was born on September 20, 1931, in Pakod, Zala County, Hungary. He participated in the fight against the Russians from October 23 to November 9, 1956. On November 11 he crossed the border to Austria and headed for Leuven, Belgium, to start a new life.

Dr. Bognár began by finishing the Ecole Social de Louvain in 1961 (BS with Magna Cum Laude). After immigrating to the US, he attended the University of Wisconsin where he obtained MS and PhD degrees in gerontology, health and mental health policy. He continued his post-doctorate studies in mental health and aging at the University of California at Berkeley and at the University of Southern California, receiving certificates in both institutions.

Beginning in 1974, Dr. Bognár taught a generation of professionals who worked in the field of aging. He wrote four textbooks and countless articles on health and aging policies. For 15 years he was an advisor to the Ohio Department of Aging in the area of gerontology education. In 1988, he was given the Gerontology Teacher Award by the Ohio Network of Educational Consultants in the Field of Aging (ONECA). He is Professor Emeritus of the Departments of Social Work and Medicine in Society at Wright State University.

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