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H. Kenneth Cole
Honorary Alumnus

Ken Cole began working at Hillsdale College in April 1982 as controller, and six years later was promoted to vice president for finance and treasurer, serving as treasurer until June 30, 2010. For several years during the 1980s, he also served as an accounting instructor at the College. In January 2002, President Arnn promoted him to chief administrative officer, a position he held until June 30, 2012. He currently works part-time for the College as senior advisor to President Arnn and secretary/treasurer of the Hillsdale College Independence Foundation. Established in 2000, the Independence Foundation houses other foundations and makes disbursements to those foundations’ beneficiaries, which include Hillsdale College.

            A native of Hastings, Michigan, Cole earned his B.A. in history and physical education in 1970 from Western Michigan University (WMU). Following two years of service in the Army, he returned to WMU, earning an M.A. in physical education in 1975 and an M.B.A. in accounting in 1983. He served as assistant chief accountant at WMU before coming to Hillsdale College.

            Cole has been an active member of the Hillsdale community. He previously served as president of the local Chamber of Commerce and the local sports boosters. For 25 years, he has been a member of the Exchange Club, holding a range of offices within that organization. He has also served on the boards of American Copper and Brass and Southern Michigan Bank and Trust. He and his wife Brenda are members of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and The President’s Club.

The Coles have four children—Greg, Michelle, Robert, and Cassandra—and eight grandchildren. Three of their four children are Hillsdale College graduates.  

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