Dr. Charles “Chuck” Bonjean, 72, a long-time Austin resident, retired sociology professor and third executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, died Feb. 20 in Florida of natural causes. He moved from Austin to Florida in December 2007 to be near family.
Bonjean was a noted philanthropist, educator and administrator whose career spanned more than 40 years with The University of Texas at Austin. He also was a talented pianist and jazz devotee who enjoyed playing music with friends.
“Chuck was a marvelous friend and colleague and will be greatly missed by us all,” said Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson, a faculty member with the university’s Department of Sociology and former executive vice president and provost of the university.
Bonjean first came to the university in 1963 as an assistant professor with the Department of Sociology, later holding positions as associate professor and full professor. He was chair of the department from 1972 until 1974 when was appointed Hogg Professor of Sociology, a position he held until he retired in 2002.
As a sociologist, Bonjean’s academic interests encompassed formal organizations, evaluation research and mental health. He was a prolific researcher, writer and editor whose name appeared as author, co-author or contributor to more than 65 books, articles, chapters and book reviews. He also served as editor for a number of academic and professional journals and publications.
“Dr. Bonjean was a valuable asset to the university, the state of Texas and the nation and provided excellent leadership in mental health activities. He was a highly respected, excellent leader who did a superb job. He will truly be missed by all who knew him,” said Dr. James L. Hill, senior vice president of the university.
In addition to his role as an educator, Bonjean joined the Hogg Foundation in 1974 as executive associate and was promoted to vice president in 1979. He served as the foundation’s executive director from 1993 until 2002, and was only the third person to hold that position since the foundation’s inception in 1940.
“Chuck Bonjean was an administrator with exceptional personal qualities. He truly cared about people with mental illness and the conditions of their lives, and he looked for innovative ways that philanthropy could make a difference,” said Dr. King Davis, executive director of the Hogg Foundation and a professor in the university’s School of Social Work.
Those wishing to commemorate Bonjean may make a memorial contribution in his honor to the charity of their choice.