NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.—The Westminster community has lost a much-beloved retired faculty member. Professor emeritus Ronald P. Bergey died at the age of 78. He passed away the evening of Sept. 8 after a short illness. Bergey was loved by students, alumni, and faculty.
Bergey lived in New Wilmington for 55 years. He joined the WC faculty in 1962 after receiving his undergraduate degree at Juniata college and master’s at Indiana University.
He retired from his position in accounting and business in 2004, after 42 years on the faculty. He received the Distinguished Faculty Award during that year’s commencement exercises.
An undergraduate award is named after him, The Ron Bergey Accounting Scholarship. This is given to an outstanding accounting major who intends to enter the accounting profession.
“Ron Bergey was a friend and mentor,” said Jesse Ligo, Chair of the Westminster School of Business. “I had the privilege of having Mr. Bergey as my professor. Ron had an uncanny ability to connect with his students through his quick wit and sarcastic perspective of the liberal arts environment. He spoke with an “every man” tone that resonated well to those of us in his classes.”
During his tenure at Westminster, Bergey taught nearly 4,000 students. A 2004 Westminster College Magazine story reported he personally helped more than 400 graduates land meaningful jobs.
Bergey was always eager to to share a comical story and only took his profession as a Certified Public Account seriously. His love for Westminster was true and his dedication to his students ran deep despite his sarcasm and irreverent humor. He was always clear that he was an accountant serving students in a liberal arts college and his priority was the success of his students in the real world.
“I don’t have anything against the liberal arts, but I’d still say the main purpose of a kid coming to a college is to get a J-O-B. They’re not coming to find themselves. I understand the liberal arts can’t be taken over by accountants, but I was interested in helping lead students down a path to meaningful employment opportunities.”– Ron Bergey, WESTMINSTER MAGAZINE, 2004.
Visitation for Bergey will be held on Thursday, Sept. 14. from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Smith Funeral Home in New Wilmington. A Memorial Service will be held at Westminster College chapel on Friday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. with Rev. Lisa Hickman officiating.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy. They were married 57 years.
REMEMBRANCE FROM WESTMINSTER COLLEGE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT VP KEN ROMIG.
When I started working at the College in 2004, the College was in the middle of a dispute with Dominion Resources regarding errors that Dominion made in preparing the College’s bills for natural gas. These billing errors occurred over a period of four years and the cumulative deficiency that Dominion claimed that it was owed by the College totaled approximately $750,000. Needless to say, the College put up a strong fight about this back-billing and the situation between Dominion and the College was quite tense. In the summer of 2005, the back-billing situation had not been resolved so the College filed a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission and the media picked up the story.
Dominion was anxious to find a solution to this back-billing situation so they sent an executive to New Wilmington to negotiate a resolution to the back-billing problem. I met with this executive in the morning and we went to the Tavern for lunch. On our way back from the Tavern, we were waiting to cross Maple St. near the Chapel when a big Chrysler (Ron’s car) rolled to a stop in front of us. The car window rolled down and a hand came out the window holding a one-dollar bill. Ron looked at me and said, “Hey, Romig, put this on the gas bill.” The car window rolled up and the Chrysler went on down the road. The executive from Dominion was stunned! He just stood there with his mouth open as Ron gave me a dollar to apply to our balance due Dominion. I couldn’t have planned it any better!
I told my colleagues about what happened to me while waiting to cross Maple Street. Jesse Mann ran into Ron later that day and told him that the fellow who was standing with me when he gave me the dollar was an executive from Dominion. Ron was absolutely delighted with his joke. Since this fellow was from Dominion it was even funnier than just handing the dollar to me. According to Jesse, Ron’s response when he found out that the fellow was from Dominion was, “Hell, if I knew he was from Dominion I would have made it a five!”
I don’t know if you can use this or not, but it is my favorite Ron story. I still have the dollar in my Dominion file.