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Trinity's First President, 
Dr. Alexander C. De Jong, 1922 - 2003

The Trinity community mourns the passing of its first president, Dr. Alexander C. De Jong, on Thursday night, April 10. He had been hospitalized recently due to heart failure and other difficulties, and underwent surgery last week. He was placed under hospice care on Wednesday.

Dr. De Jong was 80 years old, and served the College from 1966 - 68. Last year he was honored at Trinity's Founder's Chapel for his pivotal role in the development of the College.

Two De Jong grandchildren are current Trinity students-Samantha and Megan; Chad '98 is an alumnus. In addition to his wife, Joanne, Dr. De Jong leaves behind Alex '68 and Sandee '68 (Loeser) of Palos Heights; David '73 and Gwen '77 (Prins) of Chicago; and Richard '76 and Patty '76 (Jensema) of Orland Park.

Family visitation will be held at Colonial Chapel Sunday, April 13, from 3 pm - 9 pm, with a memorial service at Palos Christian Reformed Church April 14 at 11:00 a.m. 

About Dr. Alexander De Jong: 

Dr. Alexander De Jong served as the first president of Trinity Christian College from 1966-68.  After a stint on the board of trustees, he accepted the offer to lead the College in its pursuit of stability and recognition in Christian education. 

Dr. De Jong believed academic excellence and spiritual commitment must be the catalysts that drive Christian education. "My biggest hope is to see razor-sharp intellect combined with hearts fully devoted to God as the main component of Trinity. Christian devotion does not cancel out academic excellence," he said, last year at a founders' celebration, honoring him. 

A self-described "people person," Dr. De Jong set an example of intellectual honesty and spiritual accountability during his leadership. The 1960s saw much transition in American society, with the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and counter-cultural issues highlighting those years. Trinity needed to help its students deal with those sensitive experiences within a Christian mindset.

"We were hip-deep in the waters of history, and I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of Christian decision-making. We had to be intellectually honest without losing our spiritual obligation. Some of my fondest memories are the personal interaction with the students during that time. That was a big joy for me," said De Jong.

With a résumé filled with notable achievements, Dr. De Jong reflected the academic excellence he endorses.  He earned his bachelor's in theology from Calvin Seminary, then went to Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia to complete his master's in theology. He spent one year at Union Theological Seminary, New York, studying under Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr and Dr. Paul Tillich. The Lord provided an opportunity for him to study in Europe, and he finished his doctorate in theology at the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Since his ordination in 1947, Dr. De Jong served as pastor of seven Christian Reformed churches: First Patterson, New Jersey; Boston Square, Michigan; Highland Hills (West End), Michigan; Highland II, Indiana; Denver II, Colorado; Calvin, Illinois; Kedvale, Illinois. 

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