A Greater Good: Remembering John C. Bogle '51

Thursday, Jan 17, 2019

A message from Kimberly de los Santos, John C. Bogle '51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director

John C. Bogle, class of 1951, was truly a torchbearer for what it means to be “in the nation’s service and the service of humanity.” He was an idealist strengthened by his values and formed by experience. Vanguard, the multi-trillion dollar firm that he founded on the basis of his senior thesis, offered low-cost investing and, as a result, helped millions of families achieve greater financial security.
As the John C. Bogle ’51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director of the Pace Center, I’ve known Jack as a co-founder of the Pace Center and have had the privilege of regularly meeting with him over the years. It was so rewarding to see Jack engage with students. He wanted to know every student’s name and story and he always had a compelling question. What struck me most about Jack was his steadfast commitment to his values. His humor, self-deprecation, amazing memory, and true joy for life and people, made him a great storyteller. 
His own story was inspiring too. He received financial aid at Blair Academy and Princeton University, working in the dining halls on both campuses. He found his senior thesis topic after finding an article about mutual funds in a magazine while sitting in the Firestone Library reading room. Turning a senior thesis into a business that benefits millions is a hero’s journey, but Jack also talked about experiencing the rigor of Princeton, and getting low grades in his early years – before he graduated magna cum laude. For students to hear that Jack’s life had indeed been a journey was both comforting and inspiring. Helping students to explore and articulate their values, and standing with students as they face challenges, is an important part of our work at the Pace Center; and Jack exemplified the value of doing that work.
Jack credited Princeton with giving him both a liberal education and a moral education. He was committed to the University, and, according to Burton G. Malkiel *64, Chemical Bank Chairman’s Professor of Economics, Emeritus and early champion of the Pace Center, “saw the (Pace) Center as the embodiment of his moral conviction that the purpose of life was to help make life better for others rather than to seek personal gain for oneself.” Jack was self-aware and intentionally reflective. He discovered his passion for mutual funds during his studies, and he committed Vanguard to be of service to others. His path brought his values, his passion, and his profession in full confluence.
Three years ago, Jack’s son and daughter-in-law, John C. Bogle, Jr., and Lynn Bogle, established the John C. Bogle ’51 Fellows in Civic Service program, to honor Jack’s values and ethics in life and work. Since then, 53 first-year Princeton students have become Bogle Fellows, pursuing their passions, taking on a cause, and committing to build a better world. Jack told the 2017 group of Bogle Fellows, “I owe so much to Princeton. This environment, the whole aura of Princeton, there’s nothing like it. It’s of course changed a lot since I was here, but I look at all of you and I’m so impressed. Never give up your idealism. Never, never, never.”

The Pace Center is proud to carry on Jack’s legacy, ensuring that the values of service and civic engagement are part of a Princeton education, and that a Princeton education contributes to the greater good.

John C. Bogle '51

John C. Bogle '51 stands with the first class of John C. Bogle '51 Fellows in Civic Service at the Pace Center's 15th Anniversary Celebration in 2016.  Photo by Helen Lin

John C. Bogle '51

Founding supporters of the Pace Center, John C. Bogle '51 (at left) and Burton G. Malkiel *64 (center), stand with Jack's son John C. Bogle Jr. John and his wife, Lynn Bogle, established the Bogle Fellows program in Jack's honor.   Photo by Helen Lin

John C. Bogle '51

John C. Bogle '51 visits with Bogle Fellows in 2017.    Photo by Gwen McNamara