After 30 years of service to the University of St. Thomas, Bruce Van den Berghe, associate vice president for auxiliary services, will retire effective Oct. 5. A reception in his honor is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4 from 2-4 p.m., with a program at 2:30 p.m., in the Hearth Room on the third floor of the Anderson Student Center.
“Bruce has been a key player in this institution for a long time,” said Mark Vangsgard vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer. “Most people do not realize that he is responsible for so many things. Bruce has many areas of operational responsibility, including the Food Service, the Bookstore, Tommie Shop, Service Center, Public Safety, ID card systems, vending machines, external rental of facilities and the university’s insurance policies and associated risk management.”
Van den Berghe joined St. Thomas on Aug. 23, 1982, and previously ran the St. Thomas food service operations for ARA for one year. When he was hired, St. Thomas moved from an outsourced food service operation to a St. Thomas-owned, in-house operation.
“A real strength of the institution is the number of dedicated long-term employees we have,” said Dr. Mark Dienhart, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Over the years, Bruce has demonstrated his ability to manage complicated operations. This resulted in adding more departments to Bruce’s management. In addition, Bruce has been responsible for an increase in the revenue from those operations, which helps us subsidize tuition.”
Among the items that Van den Berghe brought to St. Thomas and will remain as part of his legacy include the one-card ID system now called the Tommie eXpress card (introduced here long before many colleges knew what a debit card was) and Celtic Springs, the university’s own bottled water.
He lives near Ellsworth, Wis., and plans to do significantly more hunting this fall. He also will be starting a new career during the harvest season as he plans on driving a tractor for local farmers to bring in the crops and till the soil.
Vangsgard said Van den Berghe, his wife, Joyce, and their dogs Ernie and Libby certainly have a great deal to look forward to. He will be on vacation much of the time between now and his retirement date, and a reception in his honor will be held the afternoon of Oct. 5, with details to follow.
Vangsgard will be the interim manager for Van den Berghe’s areas of responsibility. A full-time replacement is not intended to be made until after the end of the academic year.