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UD student to take the 'Hardball Hotseat'

11:15 a.m., Jan. 10, 2003-- Michael Bogucki of Wilmington, a young man with his mind firmly wrapped around the humanities of several centuries, is the University of Delaware’s choice to take on talk show host Chris Matthews next week when the “Hardball College Tour” comes to UD.

Michael Bogucki of Wilmington will take on talk show host Chris Matthews when the “Hardball College Tour” comes to UD.
In the Hardball Hotseat, Bogucki will go head-to-head with Matthews in a 90-second rapid-fire quiz that covers current events, history, science, pop culture and more. Matthews challenges a student at each stop of the “Hardball College Tour,” and the student who eventually answers the most questions correctly will win a scholarship. Currently, Ben Recchie of the University of Chicago is leading the pack with 15 correct answers out of 23 questions.

The Hotseat challenge will be taped after a special edition of the “Hardball College Tour” featuring U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), a UD alumnus.

Telecast live from Mitchell Hall beginning at 9 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 15, the event is free and open to the public. The Hotseat challenge will air during “Hardball” on Thursday, Jan. 16.

At the end of the school year, “Hardball” will telecast a final tournament with the top 10 students from the dozens who have competed on the college tour to determine a “Hardball Hotseat” winner. The winner will get a $10,000 scholarship award, plus a $5,000 grant to his or her school.

Bogucki, a senior majoring in English and history, will earn an honors bachelor of arts degree with distinction in May. He said he is looking forward to his time in the hot seat.

“I watch ‘Hardball’ a lot, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. Of course, if I get a history question wrong, my friends in the history department will tease me endlessly. I’ve looked at the web site and it looks as if the questions are fairly scattershot. Some of them are tricky though—designed to elicit a knee-jerk response that isn’t correct. I’m also looking forward to meeting Sen. Biden, who actually was my grandmother’s first lawyer. His name is on the mortgage for her house.”
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Bogucki chose his joint major because of his interest in studying plays as history and as literary works. The working topic for his Honors thesis is “Passio: Performance Values in Medieval Passion Plays, 1150-1634.”

Now applying to graduate schools, he said he hopes to become a college professor.

Bogucki entered UD as part of the medical scholars program, planning to become a medical doctor. A stint as an assistant technician with the UD Emergency Care Unit, the ambulance service on the Newark campus, helped him clarify his career goals.

“In my freshman and sophomore years, I volunteered 12 hours a month with the service, and I did take a night class to become a nationally registered emergency medical technician. I also looked into a summer job as a fireman.

“But, I found that it is the one-to-one interaction with people that I really enjoyed as we transported people in the ambulance,” he said. “So much of an EMT’s job is talking to people, calming them down and that’s something I can do as a teacher. I always planned to keep reading if I became a doctor, doing it as part of a job as a professor seems to make sense.”

Working with students is something Bogucki has experience with in his role as a writing fellow in the Honors Program. In the program he worked extensively as a writing tutor. This year he is the senior writing fellow, supervising other writing fellows.

“I still enjoy the one-to-one work but now I talk with other Fellows instead of the people being tutored,” he said.

Through the Writing Fellows Program, Bogucki found opportunities to present papers at writing conferences in Maryland, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Conference participation is “illuminating,” he says, and something he hopes to encourage other writing fellows to pursue.

“Going to a conference lets you see how it feels to be treated as a colleague, to see how things work in academia, how people come up with research and find out what’s going on.”

Also during his time at UD, Bogucki has been active in the government and the productions of E-52 Student Theatre. He has had 25 different roles in 20 productions and spent time working backstage, directing, designing sets or running lights when he wasn’t performing. His favorite show is “Blue Window,” a comedy in three acts that he directed, and his favorite role is Mortimer Brewster in “Arsenic and Old Lace.” He is hoping to stage a reading of some of the works of Beckett before he graduates.

The son of Fred and Jane Bogucki of Wilmington, he counts Kevin Kerrane, UD professor of English, and Daniel F. Callahan, UD professor of history, as his mentors.

“UD gives you the opportunity to explore so many things,” Bogucki said. “If you manage your time well, you can dip your toes in many pools.”

Bogucki has won many awards and honors, including the William E. Meakins Award, third place in the Rainbow Records Playwriting Competition, a study abroad merit scholarship, an arts and humanities scholarship, the William P. Nields Scholarship Award, a supplies and expense grant from the UD Undergraduate Research Office, an Honors Program Merit Award, a UD scholar award and a first-year honors certificate. Additionally, he was a National Merit Scholar, and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Phi Kappa Phi.

Article by Beth Thomas

Photo by Kathy Flickinger