PLNU mourns loss of professor emeritus Ron Kirkemo

PLNU mourns loss of professor emeritus Ron Kirkemo

by | 12 Nov 2015

Ronald Kirkemo, professor emeritus at Point Loma Nazarene University, passed away November 4. He was 71.

Born in Eureka, California, in 1944, Kirkemo, or “Dr. K” as he is remembered by students, graduated from Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) in 1965 with a degree in history, and later from American University in Washington D.C. in 1969 with a doctorate in international politics. That same year (1969), Ron returned to Pasadena College as a faculty member for a career that would span more than four decades and impact countless lives. 

On campus, throughout San Diego, and in the broader Church of the Nazarene, Kirkemo was known for his commitment to students, academic excellence, and public service. He consistently pushed individual students and the broader university to think higher and be more ambitious about serving God and being engaged in the world through service.

Kirkemo’s influence extended beyond the Department of History and Political Science to the broader university and community. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Wesleyan Center 21 years ago with the chief goal that the center would support and inspire scholarship within the Wesleyan tradition. Similarly, he launched the Institute for Politics and Public Service at PLNU with the intent to nurture and inspire public service in the minds of students and support engagement in the San Diego region, the nation, and the world.

He is the author of several books on foreign policy, including Between the Eagle and the Dove about diplomats caught in difficult choices. He has also written three histories of the university, For Zion’s Sake, Promise and Destiny, and Moving Stories, as well as a daily devotional called Soulcraft.

“His writings on the university’s history shaped our understanding of God’s blessings, grace, and protection over the generations,” said Bob Brower, PLNU president. “A friend to all of us, Dr. K will be deeply missed.”

The memorial service for Kirkemo is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, November 22 in Brown Chapel at Point Loma Nazarene University, 3900 Lomaland Drive San Diego, California.

In lieu of flowers, friends and family wish to direct donations to the "Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund," created to benefit students with an interest in political science at PLNU.

To give online, visit, select “Other Designation,” and reference “Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund” with your contribution. By mail, make checks payable to PLNU and reference “Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund” in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to PLNU, Office of University Advancement, 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego, California 92106. 

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family:

c/o: Patti Kirkemo

Office of the President

Point Loma Nazarene University

3900 Lomaland Drive

San Diego, CA 92106

Prayers for his wife of 48 years, Patti Kirkemo, their children, and grandchildren are greatly appreciated. 

--Point Loma Nazarene University



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