Ken came to U.Va. in 1978, and he has helped steer the efforts of various of its Finance teams through good times and bad, for richer and for poorer. And those who know him will never see a T account without thinking warmly of working with him. Below are comments from Sarah Doran, Steve Kimata and Leonard Sandridge, cribbed from reminiscences delivered to Ken at various functions in his honor over the last few weeks. We will miss having Ken with us every day, his ready smile and his unfailing loyalty to his colleagues and his commitment to making the University great. We wish him the best of health and happiness in his retirement!
From Sarah Doran
I remember the first time I talked to Ken. He called on a Saturday morning to ask if I’d be interested in coming in to interview for an Accounting Intern position with UVA. I didn’t like accounting all that much, but I had been working as a wage employee in another department, and I knew I didn’t want to do that job for much longer. Ken hired me in 1986 to fill that intern position, and 29 years later, I am still very thankful for that phone call from Ken and the opportunity to work with him and many of the other wonderful folks that he hired. We accomplished a lot of great work under Ken’s direction, and had an awful lot of fun along the way, despite the number of T accounts he made us review on the chalkboard and white boards.
There were times when we showed our love by doing things that would embarrass him, he took it all in stride and with good humor. All I can say here is belly dancer. But my favorite memory of Ken has to be the time that Ken, Stacey, Dave and I decided to be the women’s Olympic relay team in 1996 for Halloween. Ken had never really dressed up with his departments for Halloween. And there had been some pretty amazing themes! But that year, he decided that if he was going to dress up for Halloween, he was going to do it right!! He had his wife Anne help him with his hair and nails, and we were introduced one by one to the group who was judging the Halloween contest. Ken was the last to be introduced, and the faces of the people who knew were spectacular. Not only did he look great as a woman, he also did a great job acting the part. I still don’t think that Steve has recovered.
I’m honored to have known Ken over the past 29 years. We have had many ups and downs together. We’ve experienced the joy of our children growing up, and the death of beloved colleagues, various illnesses and hospitalizations. Through it all, Ken has remained steadfast in his loyalty to the people he hired and mentored, and I for one cannot imagine how my life would have been were it not for that Saturday phone call.
From Steve Kimata
Ken is from Cleveland, Ohio. He was born with a heart condition, which required surgery at an early age and which has required constant vigilance and other open heart surgeries during his lifetime. He’s our bionic man as he currently enjoys a titanium heart valve and a half a million dollar pacemaker.
For much of his 36 years, Ken oversaw Accounting Operations, which was comprised of General Accounting, Payroll and Accounts Payable. He has also been responsible for Accounts Receivable, Banking Services, Credit Cards and Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance.
One area that Ken focused on during his time at U.Va. was systems implementations. To name a few:
he led the major effort at implementing CAPPS, the Computerized Accounts Payable and Purchasing System; he helped implement the McCormick and Dodge Payroll System…three times.; in addition to working on the Oracle Finance implementation, he oversaw the implementation of its new Accounts Receivable module; and on the Peoplesoft Student Information Systems implementation, he was responsible for making sure all of the accounting information flowed correctly from the student system to Oracle Finance.
What Ken enjoyed the most, his passion really, was interviewing, hiring and developing people. It is accurate to say that during his 36 years at U.Va., he has either hired directly, or helped hire indirectly, hundreds and hundreds of staff. He spent a great deal of time mentoring these hires, taking them to lunches, joining them at conferences, and introducing them to colleagues at other institutions and state agencies.
I remember Ken telling me that he couldn’t worry too much about his future because with his heart problems he never had any guarantee about being alive tomorrow. So he had to live for today. And what made each day special for him was the time he spent with his colleagues, friends and family.
In life, we eventually realize that there is a purpose for everyone we meet. Some people are there to test you. Some will use you. Some will teach you and some will bring out the best in you.
You’ve taught and brought out the best in many of us. You’ve left your imprint on our hearts, certainly on my heart, and all of us and this institution, which you have cherished and sweated blood for, are so much better for it.
From Leonard Sandridge
Your commitment to the development of people and mentoring leaves a legacy that will benefit U.Va. long after you retire. We have benefited from the continuity, institutional history and good judgment that you have brought to so much of what we did. You have been available and accessible to help others. And throughout your journey, you have been loyal and reliable and you have always acted with integrity. You have made us a better place.