Video by Matt Haugen, WSU News, from a recent retirement celebration for Hal Dengerink.
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University Vancouver Chancellor Emeritus H.A. “Hal” Dengerink died Sept. 14 after battling glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, for nearly two years. He was 68.
Dengerink retired from WSU Aug. 15 after a remarkable 42-year career. He joined WSU as a faculty member in psychology in 1969. He held various leadership roles on the Pullman campus until 1989 when he moved to Vancouver to establish and lead the regional campus.
In a letter dated Aug. 12 that bestowed Dengerink with the title chancellor emeritus, WSU President Elson S. Floyd wrote, “Your leadership has been visionary and your judgment impeccable. There is no doubt that Washington State University, as it stands today and as it grows in the future, is a lasting tribute to all your efforts. It is an honor to have you as our first chancellor emeritus.”
Dengerink was active in the Vancouver community. He served on the board of directors of the Columbia River Economic Development Council and Southwest Washington Medical Center. He was appointed by Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to the Washington Technology Center board of directors. Dengerink served as co-chair of the Columbia River Crossing Task Force and co-chair for the Project Sponsors Council for the Columbia River Crossing.

Message from the president:

It is with great sadness that I learned of Chancellor Hal Dengerink’s passing on Wednesday afternoon. He will be mourned both as a visionary leader in higher education and as a caring man who made a lasting difference in his community.
I am only the latest president of Washington State University who has depended on Hal’s wise counsel and has had the utmost respect for his leadership and common sense. I will miss him as an adviser and as a friend.
Hal was instrumental not just in the building of a vibrant WSU Vancouver campus, but also in the evolution of our multicampus system, which is one of WSU’s great strengths.
He will be missed by all who knew him, both personally and professionally. Our hearts and our prayers go out to his wife Joan and to all members of his family.
While his leadership will be difficult to replace, we will celebrate his contribution by building on the strong foundation he has left. Our commitment to his goals for WSU Vancouver remains strong. Fulfilling that commitment is the best way to honor Hal’s legacy.

His noteworthy accomplishments include receiving the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District VIII Leadership Award in 2009 in recognition of his achievements as a visionary and successful leader, receiving the 2011 Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Washington State Psychological Association and being selected as Vancouver’s First Citizen in 2011.

Dengerink is survived by his wife of 47 years, Joan, two daughters, Kris Travis of Wenatchee, Wash., and Erin Dengerink of Vancouver, Wash., and five grandchildren: Peter, Dane, Faith, Amelia and Annabel.
Those who wish to honor Dengerink are encouraged to make a contribution to the H.A. “Hal” and Joan Dengerink Endowed Fellowship. To make a contribution, visit and click on the “Dr. H.A. ‘Hal’ and Joan Dengerink Endowed Scholarship Fund.”
Plans for a memorial service will be announced later.

Media contact:
Brenda Alling, WSUV Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601,