Vice President Westphal Receives Honorary Degree

Posted on June 1st, 2015 by

Vice President Ken Westphal (far right) is congratulated by President Bergman and Board of Trustees Chair George Hicks.

Vice President Ken Westphal (far right) is congratulated by President Bergman and Board of Trustees Chair George Hicks.

Gustavus Adolphus College Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Ken Westphal received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, at the College’s commencement exercises on May 31. The honor was conferred to Westphal by Gustavus President Rebecca Bergman.

Westphal grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa, and attended Iowa State University for one year before earning a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Virginia Polytechnic and State University at Blacksburg in 1974. After working for several years as an auditor at the Big Eight firm of Coopers and Lybrand, Westphal accepted a position at Adrian Helgeson & Co., whose clients included Gustavus and several other Lutheran-affiliated colleges. After developing a growing attachment to Gustavus, Westphal applied for and was subsequently named vice president for business affairs at the College in 1988.

The citation read by President Bergman at this year’s commencement ceremony included the following:

Mr. Westphal exemplifies the mission and core values of Gustavus Adolphus College. He is a champion of the liberal arts as espoused by the faculty of “his” college and, in the words of one member of the review committee recommending him for this honor,“bleeds black and gold.” He shows enormous respect for all people and in turn is a highly respected member of our campus community.

 Mr. Westphal was instrumental in the initiative that resulted in Beck Hall and the first renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science. He has applied his expertise in budget processes, investments, college finances, and risk management and earned the deep respect of not only the entire Gustavus community but also many of his peers at other educational institutions for his financial acumen. His dedicated work was critical to the College’s successful recovery in the wake of the devastating tornadoes that hit Gustavus and St. Peter in 1998. He is a caretaker for this college in more literal ways as well, such as handling a mop in Beck Hall when resource allocation for janitorial staff was underfunded.

In his many years at Gustavus, Mr. Westphal has consistently demonstrated his high level of integrity, humanity, and professionalism. In everything he does, he has displayed his loyalty and deep commitment to the College. He is indeed a true ambassador of Gustavus, and we are proud to claim him as our own.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Anita Young says:

    Ken, what a thrill for you and for all of us who know you! Congratulations and God’s blessings!