Westmont Magazine A Record of Balanced Budgets
Vice President for Finance Retires
When Vice President for Finance Ron Cronk retired Oct. 31, he left a legacy of black ink: 22 straight years of balanced budgets. His principled stewardship helped the college develop a strong financial base and build an endowment from practically nothing to $66 million. Working quietly behind the scenes, he has displayed a heartfelt sense of service to the college, and his contributions have been enormous.
Cronk also labored faithfully — and with extraordinary patience — to gain approval to average enrollment at 1,200 students studying on campus, build 41 affordable faculty homes next to campus and update the master plan to provide the facilities needed to serve 1,200 students. Through innumerable public hearings, neighborhood meetings and a year of mediation with opponents, he has displayed tough-minded fairness, a willingness to listen and the flexibility to make changes that benefit the college and the community. His legacy includes the new buildings that will transform the Westmont campus in the coming years.
Although he has retired as vice president, Cronk will continue to work for Westmont part time as senior adviser to the president. The college is conducting a national search for his replacement.
Chancellor David K. Winter hired Cronk and benefited from his advice for 17 years. “He was an outstanding vice president for finance,” Winter says. “His grasp and leadership of our finances in all areas were impressive. He has a great sense of humor and was fun to work with, but he was tough on all of us, requiring a high level of discipline from every cost center.
“He went well beyond recording and managing the budget; he was constantly thinking of ways to improve the effectiveness of our program and operation. We are glad that he has agreed to continue helping us in several important areas of our operation, but we will miss his leadership very much.”
First as a trustee and then as executive vice president, Cliff Lundberg has also worked closely with Cronk. “More than anyone else, Ron has been the driving force behind the progress we have made on the master plan,” Lundberg says. “In my 38-year career rubbing shoulders in business and industry with literally thousands of managers and leaders, I have never seen anyone make a greater contribution or be more committed to a team. Never.
“Ron has also made a difference in donor relations, often playing a catalyst role in securing estate and endowment gifts,” Lundberg adds.
A talented and disciplined financial manager, a tireless advocate for Westmont and a faithful and committed Christian, Cronk has enriched the entire college community with his dedication and service.