This week the WWU campus community received the news that Ken Rogers, our Vice President for Student Life and Mission, will be leaving us. As employees of ASWWU, we at The Collegian were deeply saddened at this development. We’ve had the privilege of working with Ken on a daily basis, and we’re all better for it. In our December 8 issue, we thanked Ken Rogers for making WWU a better place. In the wake of the news of his departure, we decided to revisit that thank you.
Thank you, Ken Rogers, for making Walla Walla University a better place! For the last six years, as WWU's Vice President for Student Life and Mission, you’ve done a wonderful job of working with student and faculty leaders to improve life on our campus. It’s safe to say that our campus life wouldn’t be nearly as vibrant without your steady and prayerful leadership.
We were lucky to entice you here from Southern Adventist University, and we hope that the Southern Union realizes what a prize they’re getting. When you’ve had to administer punishment, you've been fair, even-handed, and merciful. You’ve allowed ASWWU leadership just the right amount of autonomy while still being a responsible and present authority. We can only hope that your successor will share your confidence in the abilities of WWU students.
Just this last week you led as Walla Walla University hosted the Adventist Intercollegiate Association convention at Rosario Beach. Your leadership helped craft a groundbreaking and unforgettable convention, the results of which will positively influence Adventist colleges and universities across North America for years to come.
As "chief disciplinary officer" you have handled students who stumble with grace and love, finding solutions that seek to make people whole, not tear them apart. You have modeled Christ to us, and we are better off because of your example.
Your sense of humor has become legendary, and you’ve shown a constant ability to lighten the mood with a timely joke. You and your wife Cheryl have become a valued part of the WWU community, often inviting students into your home for some much-needed warmth and hospitality. You’ve left your mark on this place, and for that we are forever grateful. Thank you.
During his tenure at WWU, Ken has positively impacted every student leader he’s worked with. We asked a few past ASWWU officers to give us their input on Ken’s influence.
“When I think of someone who lives with compassion and integrity, I think of Ken Rogers. As an ASWWU officer, I had the privilege of working closely with Ken. On multiple occasions, I sat with Ken in his office discussing difficult and sensitive issues, and Ken demonstrated how to be a caring and effective mentor by pointing out the heart of things that mattered in the situation, asking me what I thought, and empowering me to trust myself. It is clear that Ken cares deeply about youth and forming authentic relationships with students. From creating the annual Christmas Tree-Lighting Ceremony, to driving a van full of students for long hours to attend retreats and conferences, to one-on-one meaningful conversations about what students face on a daily basis – Ken has represented what it means to embody Christ: walking with each other in honest friendship and dedicated support.”
-Elise Fandrich, ASWWU Publications Vice President, 2009-10
“I had the privilege of working with Ken his first year at Walla Walla and so he really had no idea what to expect. Our ASWWC team was really a tight friend group and he was the new guy that just jumped in with both feet ready to serve the student body. He would stay late as we finished the collegian. He always had our back and kept us supported. To this day he calls and checks on me and when he is in Loma Linda he makes sure to see me. He is a great man and a great friends to the students.”
-Melinda Hebbel, ASWWU Social Vice President, Senior Class President 2006-07
“Ken's perpetual humor lifted the spirits at ASWWU when I was student body president. He continually put issues into perspective, making working with him a joy. Ken is an ally to the students and a mentor to many. Ken, I wish you well in your future leadership!”
-Evan Kinne, ASWWU Senator, 2007-08; ASWWU President, 2008-09
“We would be hard-pressed to find a bad word to say about Ken. He was already an institution here when we arrived as freshman, and he has only grown in our estimation since then. Without Ken’s wise and congenial guidance, our experiences with ASWWU would have been far less rewarding. Ken, we’ll never forget you. Thanks for everything.”
-Ian Field, ASWWU Justice, 2008-09; ASWWU Executive Vice President, 2009-10; ASWWU Collegian Editor-in-Chief, 2011-12
-Alex Scott, ASWWU Senator, 2009-10; ASWWU Executive Vice President, 2010-11; ASWWU Collegian Editorial Director, 2011-12