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Dr. James E. Bultman
Dr. James E. Bultman became the 11th president of Hope College on July 1, 1999. A 1963 Hope graduate, he assumed office having already had more than two decades of direct experience with the college, including his student days.
His emphasis as president is on assuring that Hope provides students with an exceptional educational experience in a vibrant and caring Christian environment. Hope has enjoyed distinction on a variety of external measures during his tenure, including consistently holding more grants through the National Science Foundation’s summer “Research Experiences for Undergraduates” program than any other liberal arts college in the country, and national accreditation in all four arts programs (art, dance, music, and theatre). A Lilly-funded “Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation” established in the fall of 2003 expanded the college’s emphasis on encouraging students to consider the role of calling in their life and career choices. Regularly, several hundred of the college’s students participate in spring break mission and service trips coordinated by the campus ministries office.
During his second year as president, Hope launched the Legacies: A Vision of Hope comprehensive campaign, the largest single fund-raising effort in the college’s history. The campaign’s four major components included construction of the A. Paul Schaap Science Center and renovation of the Peale Science Center; construction of the DeVos Fieldhouse; increasing the endowment; and general campus improvements, including the construction of the Martha Miller Center for communication, modern and classical languages, international education, and multicultural life, and a renovation of Lubbers Hall. When it concluded at the end of 2001, Hope had raised more than $161 million from more than 3,300 donors, well above the goal of $105 million. In addition, Hope has upgraded its athletic facilities with new stadiums in baseball, softball, and soccer and completed an adaptive restoration of historic Graves Hall. More recently, he has led the college in updating its mission statement and creating additional missional literature to both provide an overview of the distinctive qualities of Hope and serve as a guide for the future.
Dr. Bultman joined the Hope College education faculty in 1968, chaired the department of education from 1976 to 1982, and was dean of the social sciences from 1982 until 1985. He was head baseball coach at Hope from 1971 to 1985, and an assistant football coach from 1970 to 1984.
Dr. Bultman took office at Hope having had extensive experience as a college president. For the previous 14 years, from 1985 to 1999, he was president of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. Northwestern, like Hope, is one of three colleges with ties to the Reformed Church in America.
An active leader in higher education circles, Dr. Bultman is chair of the Board of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), chair of the Division III Presidents Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a member of the Presidents Council of the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF), and a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUM).
He is a member of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Holland Rotary Club, and serves on the Board of Directors at The Bank of Holland, the Board of Directors of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, and the Board of Governors of the Van Andel Institute.
Dr. Bultman has served an elected term on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) where he chaired the Student Financial Aid Committee; served as chair of AICUM; and served as chair of the Board of Directors of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Additionally, he was a member of the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); and was chair of the Iowa College Foundation, the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Commission on Campus Concerns for NAICU.
He graduated from Hope with a major in chemistry. He holds a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University.
Before joining Hope’s faculty, Dr. Bultman taught and coached in the public schools in Portage, Michigan and was the assistant principal of Portage Northern High School.
Hope presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in May, 1995. He received an honorary degree (L.H.D.) from Keiwa College, a sister college of Northwestern in Shibata City, Japan in March, 1998 and the honorary degree (Litt.D.) from Hope College on the occasion of his inauguration on October 22, 1999. In October, 2001, Dr. Bultman was presented a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Western Michigan University Alumni Association.
His wife Martie also is a 1963 Hope graduate. She is co-author of the Friendship Series, a religious instruction curriculum for the developmentally disabled that is used throughout the English-speaking world and has recently been translated into Spanish. She has multiple certifications in special education, and while in Iowa was a learning disabilities instructor at MOC-Floyd Valley High School.
The Bultmans have two grown children: a son, Matthew, who is a 1990 Northwestern College graduate living in Overland Park, Kansas and a daughter, Heather, who is a 1992 graduate of Taylor University living in Broadhead, Wisconsin. The Bultman’s have five grandchildren.
Updated March 2011