Mike Hall, a longtime financial planner at Skidmore, died February 1, 2016, at Saratoga Hospital. He was 69.
As vice president for finance and administration, Mike West oversaw and collaborated on Mike Hall’s work and says simply, “Mike loved Skidmore and we loved him. He was the very best colleague, friend, and family man. We will sorely miss him.”
The son of Gertrude B. Hall and Francis E. Hall of Schuylerville, New York, Mike Hall attended University at Albany, majoring in math and minoring in business administration. He was active in his fraternity, worked as a waiter and bartender, and married his beloved, Cathy Anne Dupell, while in college. After graduating in 1969, he went to work for General Electric’s Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory near Saratoga and was later accepted into GE’s version of a two-year MBA program in financial management. In the late 1970s he audited GE businesses in some 30 states and five foreign countries. He completed other graduate-level GE training and served the firm in Schenectady as a manager in market analysis, customer service, finance, and other areas until 1994.
Having begun a consultancy firm, Hallmark Group Ltd., in 1990, he also provided business management for a medical practice and advised businesses on information technology, strategy, and productivity. In 1994–95 he served as operations director for the global energy-generation firm Strategic Power Systems, helping to lead initiatives from telecommunications upgrades to international accounting and tax management.
Mike joined Skidmore in 1995 as manager of budget planning and analysis and soon became director of financial planning and budgeting.
Paul Lundberg, longtime project manager in Facilities Services, cited Mike’s “addictive enthusiasm for the projects he endorsed” and added, “I will remember Mike as one of the great behind-the-scenes contributors to the betterment of the college.”
Denise Smith, professor of health and exercise sciences, recalled that Mike was “a great budget director, a fantastic collaborator, and a leader in sustainability. But the greatest gift that Mike gave to the campus community was his friendship.”
Karen Kellogg, an environmental science professor and associate dean for infrastructure, sustainability, and civic engagement, called him “one of the true bridge builders at Skidmore. We have a stronger sense of community because of his work here.” She added, “When I teach in one of our renovated classrooms or see students using research equipment that he helped shepherd through the capital budget process, I think of him.”
In 2013 Mike delayed his plan to start phased retirement so that he could continue his leadership of two major green-energy partnership initiatives for Skidmore: the eight-acre solar array on Denton Road and the small hydroelectric project near Kinderhook, New York. Mike officially retired in 2015 and attended ribbon-cutting ceremonies for both facilities. For Kellogg, his greatest legacy is Skidmore’s embrace of and leadership in sustainability.
When Mike Hall retired, Mike West said he was sad to lose his “wisdom and experience in sustainability, emergency management, finance, energy, and other areas. At the Board of Trustees’ retirement ceremony in his honor, the citation noted his “endless capacity to imagine creative solutions . . . and to show us that the true basis of effective fiscal planning is a deep appreciation for the human dimension of our decisions.”
Survivors include wife Cathy and five children: Karey (John) Trimmings, Daniel (Kimberly) Hall, David (Nichol) Hall, Patrick (Kiersten) Hall, and Matthew (Jennifer) Hall and his adopted daughter Cynthia (James) Pritchard. Mike is also survived by siblings Cathleen (James) Weed and Timothy (Sharon) Hall, 14 grandchildren, his mother-in-law and sister-in-law, an aunt, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Mike enriched the lives of all who had the great privilege of working with him.