A celebration and roast of 95-year-old Dick Pogue, also known as Mr. Cleveland, took place May 18 at the Mimi Ohio Theatre to benefit the newly established Richard W. and Patricia R. Pogue Cleveland Ballet Endowment Fund. VIP guests enjoyed a reception at Cibreo Privato prior to the event, then walked a block over to Playhouse Square for the main event. Nearly 300 attendees raised $600,000 for the endowment.
Pogue is known for his distinguished law career with Jones Day, but also for his lifelong civic leadership and philanthropic contributions to the city of Cleveland. His wife, Patricia Pogue, died February 25, at the age of 91. Pat grew up in Bowling Green and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan, where she met law student Dick Pogue. They married in 1954, and after living in the Washington, DC area for three years, moved to Cleveland in 1957. She devoted the rest of her life to her family and to civic, cultural, and educational causes in Cleveland.
As current chair of the Cleveland Ballet, Dick has played a pivotal role in
helping to reestablish this premier dance company, Playhouse Square’s resident ballet company. Dick’s impressive fundraising prowess has helped to raise more than $300 million for key organizations dedicated to various causes, helping them meet or exceed fundraising goals.
Dennis Lansdowne, Chair of the event’s Steering Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies. According to the committee, “Dick’s interest in, and commitment to, the city of Cleveland are unmatched, and we are pleased to be honoring him and his tremendous legacy.”
The “roasters” were a “Who’s Who” of Cleveland notables from the legal, business, development, and political worlds: Paul Carleton, former Ohio lieutenant governor Lee Fisher, Michael Horvitz, Susan
Stevens Jaros, Hugh McKay, Randy McShepard, Ginger Mlakar, John Mulligan, Dick’s son CBS News Sunday Morning correspondent David Pogue, P. Michael Pohl, Jan L. Roller, Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne, John Strauch, William B. Summers, Jr., and the Honorable Joan Synenberg. Albert Ratner gave his roast via a previously recorded video, as did Senator Sherrod Brown and former Senator Rob Portman.
“The No Name Band,” consisting of attorneys Peter Brodhead, Doug McWilliams, and Kris Treu, entertained the crowd with humorous musical selections with lyrics such as, “He’s no rogue, he’s in vogue, he’s Dick Pogue.”
“Outstanding arts organizations like Cleveland Ballet are built on creativity, passion, and generosity — as well as sound finances,” Pogue stated. “An endowment provides vital resources and stability for Cleveland Ballet to maintain its operation and delight audiences for generations to come.”
His support of organizations and campaigns over the years includes The City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Leadership Center, Kent State University, United Way, Cleveland Institute of Music, Gordon Square Arts District, Cleveland Legal Aid Society, Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University’s College of Law, University Hospitals Health System, and more. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREA C. TURNER