you think of alumni of the year, you may tend to think of high-profile
people with a list of accomplishments to their credit. Although Steve '83
and Helen '83 Hoekstra may not possess great public visibility, their impact
on the community is no less significant. Their quiet, unassuming Christian
lifestyles and the effect they have had on fellow alumni are the primary
reasons they were named Trinity's 2004 Alumni of the Year.
The alumni board accepted
nominations for the annual award from the body of Trinity graduates. Candidates
must have made significant contributions to their field, be recognized
by their associates for outstanding achievements, and manifest a Christian
commitment that reflects the College's mission.
"The Hoekstras embody the
kind of service and loyalty that I think people really admire," Dennis
Harms '89, alumni and donor relations director, said about the couple,
who live in Bristol, Indiana. "They actively serve their church, are involved
in their kids' school, and continue to further the cause of the College
with their support."
Steve and Helen have maintained
regular contact with Trinity's alumni office while also staying connected
with history professor Robert Rice. They have supported the Trinity Fund
and various scholarships offered by the College. Steve, a general surgeon,
has written letters of recommendation for Trinity students applying for
medical school at Loyola University, where he completed his medical degree.
is very important," Harms said, "and this award is one way to honor their
commitment to the College. They're not people who are in the spotlight,
but they are two people whom we are proud to call alumni."
This year marked the first
time Trinity presented Honorary Alumni Awards, which will be given annually
to one staff member, faculty member, and friend of the College. The idea
emerged after several alumni recalled their student years and the positive
influence of people who were not Trinity alumni. Nominees are chosen and
approved the by alumni board, and must have made a significant contribution
to the College.
The first recipients of
the award included former English professor Gerda Bos, longtime Trinity
supporters Ken and Marcia Mels, and retired bookstore manager Betty Kerkstra
"I heard so many great stories
and memories about Gerda Bos that I wished I had taken some of my classes
with her," said Kelly Triezenberg '02, assistant director of alumni relations.
"Ken and Marcia Mels support most of the College's activities from music
to athletics, and Betty was synonymous with the bookstore. All four of
these people love Christian higher education, have nurtured the faith and
spiritual growth of hundreds of former students, and have had a lasting
influence on them."
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