TRINITY MOURNS THE PASSING OF FIRST PRESIDENT
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
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
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
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.