Joe Hognander: Honoring His Father’s Tenacity and Determination

Joe Hognander Sponsors New Study/Meeting Space

Joe (Orville C. Hognander, Jr.) has pledged $100,000 for a study/meeting space in the business faculty office suite in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “I want to do this to honor the memory of my father, Orville C. Hognander, Sr. ’36,” Joe said.

Orville, Sr., was a successful businessman who built the Tennant Co’s marketing organization. When he was just 43, he suffered a major stroke. No longer able to use his dominant hand, he relearned how to write, to walk with the aid of a brace, and to speak. After a recovery period, he resumed his work as vice president and director of the company, retiring in 1973. He was married to Gertrude ’36; both are now deceased.

“If I can do it, you can do it”

Joe recalls his father’s determination to resume a normal life, becoming an inspirational role model in the process. On one occasion, a young attorney who had suffered a similar stroke came to visit Orville Sr. “The attorney complained that he felt helpless because he couldn’t even dress himself with only one hand. At that point my father took off his tie and then re-tied it singlehandedly, saying, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’”

“Though my father and mother made significant gifts to Augsburg during their lifetimes, there was nothing that solely honored him,” Joe says. “I felt it was very fitting that an area in the business department bear his name.”

Joe graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, worked for Black & Decker and was a career naval officer. Now retired, he is a private investor and president of The Hognander Foundation, living in Edina, Minn.