posted July 29, 2009

Hope Appoints New Alumni Board Members

During its May meeting, the Hope College Alumni Association Board of Directors appointed three new members.

The board's new members are:  Brian Gibbs, a 1984 graduate from Bad Homburg, Germany, as International Representative; Dr. Janice Suhajda, a 1987 graduate from Rochester Hills, as a Southeast Michigan Representative; and Colton Wright, a Hope junior from Tecumseh, as Junior Class Representative.

Gibbs's appointment represents a new dimension in the composition of the board, placing deliberate focus on engaging the college's alumni abroad, according to Mary Remenschneider, director of alumni and parent relations.  "The college is excited about the Alumni Board's recent decision to strengthen its international reach and provide for greater representation of international alumni," said Remenschneider, adding that Gibbs's ongoing engagement with Hope and commitment to international education made him an ideal first appointment.

Brett Kingma of Grand Rapids, formerly Senior Class Representative, was appointed representative of the most recent graduating class.  Colleen Leikert of Ludington, formerly Junior Class Representative, was appointed Senior Class Representative.

The board members who have concluded their service to the board are:  Betsy Jasperse of Traverse City; Karen Navis of Grandville; and Sarah Oosterink of Jenison.

Continuing to serve as the board's officers are Mark Van Genderen of Cedarburg, Wis., president; Bob Bieri of Holland, vice president; and Kat Campbell of Greensboro, N.C., secretary.

° Brian Gibbs graduated from Hope with majors in business administration, German and international studies.  While at Hope, he studied in Germany for a year, served as a German teaching assistant and resident assistant, and was active in the German Club, the International Relations Club and Student Congress.  Gibbs was selected as a George F. Baker Scholar and elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

After Hope, Gibbs taught in Schaerding, Austria, for two years through a Fulbright Teaching Scholarship and then for a further year in Linz, Austria.  He returned to the United States to complete a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) at The Fletcher School of Tufts University, and interned in the Economics Section at the U.S. Consulate in Hamburg before joining his current employer, PRTM Management Consultants, where he is managing director / Geschaeftsfuehrer based in the firm's Frankfurt, Germany, office.  Gibbs has been with PRTM in Germany since 1990, and was promoted to director (partner) in 1996.

Gibbs has long played an active part in HopeCollege's Vienna Summer School Program, having served in various capacities since 1985, including program assistant, lecturer in economics, and annual guest speaker to the Senior Seminar and economics students.  He has also been a regular speaker at Hope's London May Term program.

His professional and community activities include serving as an executive member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, a member of The Fletcher School's European Advisory Group and member of the Vestry and Senior Warden (senior lay leader) of The Anglican/Episcopal Church of Christ the King in Frankfurt.

He and his wife, Barbara, a native of Austria, have three school-aged children, Anna, Emily and Liam.

° Janice Suhajda has been a staff physician with Doc Now Urgent Care Centers since 2005.  She was previously a staff physician with McLaren Medical Center-Metamora; Prince William Family Healthcare in Manassas, Va.; and Providence Medical Center-Northville.  She completed her M.D. at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1991, and her internship and family-practice residency at Providence Hospital in Southfield.

She graduated from Hope with a major in biology.  Her activities at the college included participating in faculty-student research, the Tri-Beta biology honor society, the Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) pre-medical society, Mortar Board, the Nykerk Cup competition, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Fellowship of Christian Students, and working with New Student Orientation.

Suhajda was a member of her 20-year reunion committee in 2007, hosted Chapel Choir students while living in Virginia, has attended Hope regional events and Hope/Calvin satellite parties, and returned to campus for reunions and to address the college's chapter of AED.  Her community involvement has included serving with the PTA/PTSA at the elementary, middle school and high school levels; volunteering with the Friends of the Rochester Hills Public Library; being a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind; serving as a deacon at University Presbyterian Church; and serving as a mission trip chaperone.

She and her husband, Gregory, have two children at home, Ben and Gia.

° Colton Wright is a communication and business management major.  He is interested in a career in professional sports marketing, management or journalism, preferably with a Major League Baseball organization.

His activities at Hope include the Emersonian fraternity; the Milestone yearbook, of which he is sports editor; the Anchor student newspaper, as a senior staff writer; the student-organized Dance Marathon fund-raiser for Helen DeVos Children's Hospital; the Center for Faithful Leadership mentoring program; and working with Dr. Teresa Housel of the communication faculty on the campus magazine The Box.  He is also a member of the college's chapter of the national Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society.

He has also coached Little League baseball, and has held an internship as an accounting, logistics and procurement clerk with Wacker Chemical Corp.

He is a 2007 graduate of Tecumseh High School.  He is the son of George and Peggy Wright of Tecumseh.