Humanitarian leads life of service to others
Story by Jim Bisco
Photo by Mark Mulville
Very few have put the “vitae” into curriculum vitae like Charles Fogel, or as he says, “Call me ‘Charlie.’” His life’s account is a roll call of service that goes on for pages. If he wasn’t asked to note it all for Rotary International on reaching his 50-year milestone of service last year, the self-effacing, energetic gentleman would have never made such a listing. A Rotarian of the Buffalo club since 1954, Fogel has served at many different levels, including club president, district governor and Rotary International director.
“I am just an average individual who tries to follow the adage of ‘Service Above Self,’ which is Rotary’s motto,” he states. “I find that doing so not only helps others, makes the world a more pleasant, healthy and friendly place, but also is fun and fulfilling.”
Fogel’s commitment to volunteering continues unabated in his 92nd year. Each week, he is a mentor in mathematics at Lorraine Elementary School in South Buffalo, part of a Rotary community endeavor, as was a recent trip to India, where he helped immunize scores of children against polio, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and UNICEF. He also moderates a monthly discussion group at the Amherst Senior Center, and he remains one of UB’s most active alumni, having served eight chancellors and presidents in his 70-year association with the school.
Fogel’s current mentoring role extends a teaching career that encompassed four years in local high schools and 41 years at UB. When he reluctantly retired in 1984 (at the time there were state age mandates, since loosened), he had the distinction of being the longest-serving UB faculty member. He was part of the initial faculty when the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences opened its doors in 1946.
Throughout his teaching career, Fogel served in various capacities for many community organizations, and through his relationship with Rotary, he did some life-enhancing work internationally, facilitating wide-ranging humanitarian initiatives.
In retirement, Fogel maintains a steady UB association, including the compilation of the engineering school’s history and continuing support of and at many alumni functions. His schedule is filled with global and local community volunteer efforts that could exhaust people half his age.
What makes Fogel run? It is his devotion to life’s work being firmly rooted in helping others. And overriding it all is his desire to remain ever active—a true tonic for longevity that includes a very healthy dose of humanity.
For a full-length story about Charlie Fogel, go to www.buffalo.edu/UBT/alumni_profiles/fogel.