April 26, 2024

Decades of Dedication: John Mogk's lasting impact on Wayne State and Detroit

John “Jack” Mogk
John “Jack” Mogk

Wayne State University recently celebrated employees who have achieved significant service milestones and been commended for their dedicated contributions during its Employee Recognition Ceremony on April 24. Among the honorees was John “Jack” Mogk, a distinguished service professor of law and chair at the Levin Center for Legislative Oversight and Democracy at the Law School, who was celebrated as one of the university's longest-serving faculty members, with 55 years of service. Though Mogk has been at Wayne State for decades and the university’s Prosperity Agenda was only recently unveiled, his work has long embodied its ethos.

When Mogk stepped onto Wayne State University’s campus, it was just a year after the turbulent Detroit riots of 1967. As a new faculty member, his goal was to help make a change in the community. He discovered WSU to be a supportive environment that encouraged him to use education as a tool to tackle the challenges facing the city. He said the support of WSU has been essential in sustaining his long-term commitment to Detroit.

“I was eager to engage in the root causes of Detroit's issues, notably the rebellion that occurred just a year before,” Mogk said. “This set the tone for what would become more than five decades of committed teaching and influential scholarship. The Law School itself was new at the time, having been recently completed in 1966.”

That building stood out as a beacon of modernity and promise for Mogk. It was here that he would embark on a lifelong journey to mold minds and advocate for justice.

Over the years, Mogk has dedicated his time at Wayne Law to educating and motivating students to use their legal expertise for the betterment of society. He firmly advocated for lawyers to assist their communities, especially those in vulnerable positions. His work has included research, teaching and engagement in the field of urban law and policy on such issues as economic development, neighborhood rehabilitation and intergovernmental cooperation.

“Lawyers have an obligation to give back to their community and, in particular, to help those who are most vulnerable,” he said. “I have tried to do that as a member of the law faculty and to bring my experiences into the classroom for the benefit of the students. I have been heartened to learn over the years that many students were encouraged to engage in public service from what they learned.”

Wayne Law Dean Richard Bierschbach said Mogk — who has been recognized six times as “Outstanding Professor” by students — continues to leave his mark on Wayne State students and the Detroit community.

“Professor Mogk’s passion for teaching, the law and helping those in our community is contagious,” said Bierschbach. “He has provided hundreds of lawyers with the training and preparation to go out into the world to not only prosper themselves, but also to emulate Jack’s legacy of community engagement and service.”

Mogk continues to teach courses in property, state and local government law; land use planning; and urban development.









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