Jodi Kurtze, a 2001 Hope College graduate who has been active in dance and as a volunteer in the Chicago area, has been presented a Young Alumni Award by the College's Alumni Association.
Kurtze is a principal dancer and teacher with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project and associate director of special gifts with the American Diabetes Association in Chicago, and among other volunteer activities is executive director for the Miss Chicago Scholarship Program. She was formerly general manager of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and director of development for LexingtonCollege in Chicago.
She is only the second Hope graduate to receive one of the Young Alumni Awards, which are being presented for the first time this year, and was honored during a regional event held in the Chicago area and scheduled in her honor on Saturday, June 16. Presented by the college's Alumni Association, the new annual award has been established to honor the talents and contributions that young alumni have made to their professions, their communities and to the college.
Kurtze is originally from Elkhart, Ind., and is a 1997 graduate of Elkhart Central High School.
She graduated from Hope with majors in dance performance/choreography and communication, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Management degree at North Park University.
While a student she performed with Aerial Dance Theatre, the Strike Time Dance Company and InSync Dance Theater. In addition to performing in dance productions at the college, her activities included the Sigma Omicron (dance) and Mortar Board honorary societies, the Delta Phi sorority, the Nykerk Cup competition and Pull tug-of-war, Habitat for Humanity, the student-organized Dance Marathon fund-raiser for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, the WTHS student radio station and serving on the Greek Judicial Board.
She has returned to campus numerous times since graduation, adjudicating student dance concerts, attending dance and theatre productions, teaching master classes, and supporting the Odd-Year Pull teams. In September 2006 she performed on campus with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project through the college's Great Performance Series.
The summer after graduation, Kurtze competed in the Miss Indiana Scholarship Program as a regional winner, and in 2002 she was named Miss Chicago.
In addition to her continued involvement with the Miss Chicago Scholarship Program, her community involvement and volunteer activities include the Urban Gateways Jr. Board, the MetroAchievementCenter for Girls, the Midtown Educational Foundation, Think/Dance Collective, Blewt! Productions, the Lincoln Lodge and Chicago Tap Theatre.
Criteria for the Young Alumni Award include having been a member of the college's Alumni Association for 15 or fewer years; notable prominence through professional endeavor, research, volunteerism, and/or involvement with the local or global community or the college; and demonstrating significant initiative by starting innovative service projects, research, businesses or other original enterprises.
The Young Alumni Awards complement the Distinguished Alumni Awards that the association has presented since the 1960s in recognition of accomplishment and service across a number of decades or even a complete career.