University of Mobile Professor Emeritus Dr. Kenneth Bergdolt passed away early in the morning of Dec. 23. The beloved “Dr. B” built an outstanding and well-respected music program at UMobile and impacted the lives of thousands of students who remember him with love.
The family will receive visitors at First Baptist Church of Chickasaw, Alabama, on Wednesday, Dec. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. officiated by Dr. Ted Mashburn, associate dean of the UMobile College of Arts and Sciences.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer gifts in honor of “Dr. B” to one of the following University of Mobile funds: The Bergdolt Honors Travel Fund or The Kenneth and Colleen Bergdolt Choir Room Renovation Fund. Gifts to either fund can be accepted online at www.umobile.edu/giving
or a check may be earmarked and sent to the University of Mobile, Office of Institutional Advancement, 5735 College Parkway, Mobile, AL, 36613.
Dr. B’s career at UMobile, then Mobile College, began in 1970 as assistant professor of music. He was awarded his Ph.D .in music from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 1976 and was promoted to professor of music in 1980.
He took the Mobile College choir on tour throughout the United States, Canada and Europe; formed the annual President’s Festival of Music and led the college to obtain accreditation from the National Association for Schools of Music.
With his wife, Colleen, at his side, he started the Boar’s Head Festival at Mobile College in 1971, and the celebration continued for almost 30 years.
The Boar’s Head ceremony is associated with the 14th-century myth of an Oxford student who was attacked by a wild boar. The student killed the boar by choking it with a book of philosophy and took the boar’s head back to the college that evening for a feast, symbolizing the death of sin and the coming of the Christ child. Dr. Bergdolt first saw a Boar’s Head ceremony as a conservatory student in Cincinnati. When he later decided to conduct the celebration at the University of Mobile, he used a variety of music and dance from the era of the myth and later expanded the performance to contain 13 songs, the Wakefield Second Shepherd’s Play and a banquet for the audience.
Dr. B retired from full-time employment in 2000 but continued to teach adjunct classes through the Honors Program.
Dr. Kenneth and Colleen Bergdolt enjoy a Boar's Head reunion.
Bergdolt family at Boar's Head reunion.