College mourns passing of Kenneth J. Whalen '49, longtime trustee

Publication Date

Kenneth J. Whalen ’49, a retired executive vice president of AT&T and a longtime trustee of the College, died Sept. 29, 2014 in Vero Beach, Fla.

A native of Whitehall, N.Y. he was an economics major at Union, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and a member of the football and track teams. He was also class president, a member of Student Council and a member of the Delphic Society, an honorary service organization.

An outstanding guard and center on Union’s football team, he was co-captain of the 7-1 squad of 1948. In August, 1949, he played as a member of the Eastern College All-Stars that beat the New York Giants in a charity game at the Polo Grounds. In track, he set the school shot put record which stood for 15 years.

In his senior year, he received the Bailey Cup, presented to the senior who has rendered the greatest service to the College.

As an alumnus, he received the Alumni Gold Medal in 1984. He was named to the inaugural class of Union’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.

He was elected to Union’s Board of Trustees in 1967, and served on the Board’s Budget and Audit, Finance, College Resources and Student Affairs committees. He was national chair of the College’s 1968 Capital Campaign, and served as leadership gifts chair for the 1966 Annual Fund. He served as president of the Union College Alumni Association of New York City.

He established three scholarships at Union, the Ambrose H. Gilligan Scholarship, the Bill and Mabel Ketz Scholarship and the Elizabeth R. Whalen Scholarship. The Whalen Warner-Lambert Scholarship was established in his honor.

He served three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the U.S.S. Stockdale in both the North Atlantic and Pacific theaters, and participated in the search for Amelia Earhart.

He retired from AT&T in 1984 after a 34-year career beginning with the Bell Telephone Co. He served on the boards of a number of companies including Warner Lambert, American Motors, Manulife and Core Industries.

He and his wife of 65 years, Bette Whalen, lived in Dorset, Vt., and Vero Beach. They supported numerous civic, charitable and academic organizations, including the College and Long Trail School in Dorset.

A lifelong Catholic, he worshipped at the Church of the Holy Cross in Vero Beach and at St. Paul’s in Manchester, Vt. He was a Knight of Malta.

He was predeceased by his wife and their first son, Richard J. Whalen.

Survivors include a daughter, Jean Carosi of Newburyport, Mass.; sons, Dan Whalen of Rockport, Mass., and Tom Whalen of McKinney, Texas; six grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

Interment will be at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery in Whitehall, N. Y.