About Kenneth J. Cole '54
Induction Class of 2017
Kenneth J. Cole '54 is one of nine brothers to graduate from Delone Catholic High School. He is also a graduate of Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., and a veteran of the United States Navy during the Korean Conflict. He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1974-1992. Mr. Cole was very active in veteran's affairs as well as being a life member of the American Legion, a Lincoln Fellowship honorable member, Adams County Fireman's Association member, life member of the American Veterans, a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, and a six-term chairman in the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
During his time in the House of Representatives, Mr. Cole served on the Agriculture Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Local Government Subcommittee, Health and Welfare Committee, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee which he chaired from 1991-1992 and the Federal-State Relations Committee which he chaired from 1982-1990.
Mr. Cole served as chairman of the Adams County Cancer Crusade. In this capacity, he helped to pass legislation which created the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention and Research Advisory Board and several other legislative measures, as well as reforms on the cigarette tax. His efforts earned him the National Service Award from the American Cancer Society.
In 1985, Mr. Cole also became a member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a bi-state commission designed to promote Bay-wide environmental protection and restoration efforts by working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Cole also succeeded in passing legislation that created an 11-member commission to ensure the proper coordination of state and local efforts to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg from July 1-3, 1988. The Commission proposed the Proclamation for Days of Peace and National Unity on those dates, which was signed by Gov. Robert P. Casey.
Following his career in politics, Mr. Cole has continued to make a positive impact on Pennsylvanians as well as people from around the world. He frequently travels to Nicaragua to work with the Padre Fabretto Children’s Foundation, which helps educate over 20,000 children each year.
He has been recognized with numerous honors and awards for his lifetime of involvement, including: the Golden Sword Award, the Pennsylvania Commendation Medal, the Certificate of Honorable Mention from the Special Olympics, the Certificate of Appreciation for honorable service to blind veterans, the Certificate of Appreciation for his work with the Chesapeake Bay and a resolution from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for his work as the chair of the Battle of Gettysburg Commission.