posted September 11, 2001

September 11 Tragedy Brings Campus Together

In the aftermath of the devastating attacks of 11 September, the members of the Hope campus family came together to shed tears, share prayers, and travel in community the uncertainty that followed.

Reeling from the morning's shocking images and reports, some 900 students, faculty and staff filled the Pine Grove within two hours of the attack for a prayer vigil (an Associated Press photo of the event was distributed nationally and appeared in numerous publications, including People magazine). As the day unfolded, Dr. David Schock and his Media Production students brought the Holland community live coverage--word from Holland Mayor Al McGeehan '66, notice of local cancellations, insights from members of the faculty--on the local cable access station for seven hours. Members of the faculty and staff were available for students who needed to talk. A blood drive already scheduled on campus for the day brought twice the expected number of donations as Hope and Holland sought ways to help those in need.

In the weeks that have followed, student organizations have sponsored relief drives. Departments and campus groups have scheduled an array of opportunities to reflect and discuss. And, like the rest of the country, the campus has waited and watched, seeking word of loved ones, glued to the news.

Reports have arrived of alumni who had been on-site and whose experiences were every bit as harrowing as similar stories chronicled nationwide.

The media has told of some of the escapes: Gary Kirchner '77 is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve who has been on active duty since May. His office was on the side of the Pentagon that was hit--and he would have been there if he hadn't been on a coffee break when the plane struck. Lieutenant General Thomas J. Plewes '62, whose office is also in the Pentagon, was also unhurt in the attack. Brian McNamara '97 wasn't at his office in the World Trade Center when the attack happened because he was out with a cold that morning.

Word has also come that a Hope alum was among the slain: David Pruim '70 of Upper Montclair, N.J., who worked on the 103rd floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. He was senior vice president of risk services for Aon Corp., the world's second-largest insurance company.

He majored in political science at Hope, where he was also a member of the Emersonian Fraternity and a resident assistant, and lettered in football for three years, starting at offensive guard as a senior. Hope friends celebrated his life during the college's "Quarterback Club" luncheon on Monday, Sept. 17. College roommate Jonathan Osborn '70, now an adjunct associate professor of sociology and social work at Hope, remembered him especially for his "passion."

Pruim's family includes his wife Kate Small '72 Pruim and their 10-year-old daughter, Carrington; his stepmother, Louise Pruim of Norton Shores, Mich.; and three brothers, Charles Pruim '76 of Hudsonville, Mich., Jack Pruim of South Point, Ohio, and Robert Pruim '72 of Greenwood, Ind. The family held a service on Saturday, Oct. 6.