posted April 20, 2013

Long-time Hope College Staff Member Tod Gugino Dies

Tod Gugino

Tod Gugino, long-time director of chemistry laboratories and founder of the popular summer science camps for children at Hope College, died on Saturday, April 20, after an extended illness.  He was 49.

Funeral arrangements have been announced. Visitation will be Wednesday, April 24, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Mulder Chapel of the Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes, 188 W. 32nd St., Holland. The funeral service will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 4 p.m. at the Dimnent Memorial Chapel on the Hope College campus with the Rev. Blaine Newhouse officiating.

A member of the staff for more than a quarter century, he is remembered as an indispensible colleague whose dedication and positive outlook inspired and added immensely to the experience of students not only at Hope but across West Michigan.

“Tod Gugino was central to the effective operation of Hope’s chemistry teaching and research programs,” said Dr. William F. Polik, who is the Edward and Elizabeth Hofma Professor of Chemistry and chairperson of the department at Hope, and has taught at Hope since 1988.  “He always did much more than was expected.”

“Tod’s optimism and encouragement inspired students to achieve more than they thought they could,” Polik said.  “He gave selflessly to Hope College and also reached out to local schools and the community.  We will miss him immensely.”

Gugino, who was a 1985 Hope graduate, joined the staff in 1986.  An active member of the campus community, he was also a past head coach of the women’s basketball team.

His responsibilities as director of chemistry laboratories included the provisioning of the chemistry and biochemistry labs and several general-science labs, as well as hiring and managing 60-70 students working as teaching assistants, prep assistants, stockroom attendants and graders.  He also served as the college’s chemical safety and hygiene officer.

He developed the summer science-camp program in the latter 1990s, initially teaching the sessions and subsequently recruiting and supervising a team of Hope-student instructors.  From a beginning of two sessions in chemistry attended by approximately 60 children, the program has grown to feature dozens of camps in multiple disciplines, with several hundred children attending each summer.  Gugino also established a school-year “Lil’ Science Club” program for children.

In recognition of his service to the division of natural and applied sciences, he received the Dean’s Science Division Staff Excellence Award in December 2010.   He was honored in particular for his effectiveness and the high quality of his student and faculty interaction.

Gugino was head women’s basketball coach for three seasons, from 1993-94 through the 1995-96 season.  He had previously served as an assistant coach with the team from 1991 to 1993, and had also been an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team from 1987 to 1991.  He was also head coach of the girls basketball team at Holland High School in 2004 and 2005.

In addition to his other active involvement at Hope, he and his wife, Brenda, who survives him, had served as resident hall directors for several years in the 1980s and 1990s.

As a student, Gugino was a member of the varsity men’s basketball team for three seasons, beginning his sophomore year.  The team won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship during each of the three years, and also won every game against rival Calvin College during those years.

Gugino majored in biology and minored in chemistry at Hope.  In addition to basketball, his activities as a student had also included the Mortar Board honorary society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He is survived by his wife, Brenda, of 24 years; chil­dren, Danielle, Rachel, Ty­ler and Taryn; parents, Scott and Sharon Gugino; broth­ers, Scott and Lori Gugi­no and Wade and Eva Ma­rie Gugino; mother-in-law, JoAnn Dykstra; in-laws, Beth Kimball and Craig and Mary Ann Dykstra; sev­eral nephews, nieces and cousins.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Gugino Children Education Fund, c/o Macatawa Bank. For more information and an online registry, visit dykstra­funeralhome. com.