Named to Jacobson
Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope College religion faculty is the
first holder of the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Endowed Professorship.
The chair was established by the college's Board of Trustees as
a retirement recognition in honor of Dr. John H. Jacobson, who
was 10th president of Hope College, and his wife, Dr. Jeanne M.
Jacobson, who was an adjunct member of the Hope education faculty
and a senior research fellow with the college's A.C. Van Raalte
The professorship is designated for a tenured faculty member with
a commitment to the Christian faith who is an outstanding teacher-scholar
or artist and who proposes to conduct a significant program of
research or creative activity. The chair is open to faculty from
any department, with appointment for a four-year term. Bouma-Prediger
will hold the chair beginning with the 2003-04 school year.
"Steve Bouma-Prediger is a most worthy recipient of the John
and Jeanne Jacobson Endowed Chair," said Dr. James N. Boelkins,
provost. "The excellence of his teaching, scholarship, service
and commitment to the mission of Hope College are readily apparent
to everyone who knows Steve. His humble spirit, his Christian commitment,
his love for students, his office full of books and his concern
for the stewardship of God's creation all speak to the importance
of Steve to the Hope community. So, it was with great enthusiasm
that President Bultman and I, with the concurrence of the Deans'
Council, recommended Steve for the Jacobson Endowed Chair."
Bouma-Prediger has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994.
He was invited to deliver the college's Commencement address by
the graduating Class of 1998, was elected the recipient of the
college's "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" (H.O.P.E.)
Award by the graduating Class of 1999, and was chosen by the college's
students to receive the "Faculty Teaching Award" during
Homecoming in 2001.
He has written four books concerning ecology and theology. His
most recent, "For the Beauty of the Earth," won an "Award
of Merit" from "Christianity Today" in the theology/ethics
category of the magazine's "2002 Book Awards" program.
In December of 2000, his book "Evocations of Grace: Writings
on Ecology, Theology, and Ethics," which he co-edited with
Peter Bakken, was one of only five books named "editor's picks" book
of the year by "Christian Century." His other books are "The
Greening of Theology: The Ecological Models of Rosemary Radford
Ruether, Joseph Sittler, and Jurgen Moltmann" and, with Virginia
Vroblesky, "Assessing the Ark: A Christian Perspective on
Nonhuman Creatures and the Endangered Species Act."
A fifth book, "Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a
Postmodern Age," co-authored with Brian Walsh, is forthcoming
from Eerdmans Publishing Co. He is also the author of numerous
published scholarly articles and essays, and has presented many
papers and invited addresses.
For many years, Bouma-Prediger led wilderness backpacking and
canoeing trips, a practice he continues for a Hope May Term course
focused on ecological theology and ethics that he co-teaches in
the Adirondacks in upstate New York. He is a member of numerous
professional societies, as well as the Evangelical Environmental
Network and the Macatawa Greenway Partnership.
Prior to coming to Hope, he was an assistant professor of philosophy
and chair of the department at North Park College in Chicago, Ill.
While he was at North Park College, "The Chicago Tribune" named
him to its 1994 "All Professor II" academic team, which
recognized 50 outstanding faculty from smaller Chicago-area colleges
Bouma-Prediger has also taught at Fuller Theological Seminary,
Toronto School of Theology and Western Theological Seminary, and
in the Creation Care Study Program at Jaguar Creek in Belize and
on Great Barrier Island in New Zealand. A 1979 Hope graduate, he
holds an M.Phil. from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto,
Ontario; an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary; and a Ph.D.
from the University of Chicago.
The Board of Trustees announced the endowed professorship in conjunction
with the Jacobsons' retirement at the end of the 1998-99 school
year. John Jacobson had been president since 1987, and Jeanne Jacobson
had joined the education faculty and began her work with the A.C.
Van Raalte Institute in 1996. Although the Jacobsons in retirement
live in Sarasota, Fla., she continues to work with the institute
with emerita status.
During John Jacobson's presidency, Hope's enrollment grew from
2,710 to 2,911. The college's growth is reflected in additions
to campus including the Knickerbocker Theatre (1988), Lugers Fieldhouse
(1991), DeWitt Tennis Center (1994), Haworth Inn and Conference
Center (1997) and Cook Residence Hall (1997).
Academic highlights included one national and two state "Professors
of the Year," and the appointment of three students as "British
Marshall Scholars." Hope was in the top 25 nationally among
baccalaureate colleges as a source of Ph.D. recipients from 1991
to 1995 in the natural, physical and social sciences, according
to a report by the National Science Foundation in 1997. Hope also
became the only private, four-year, liberal arts college in the
country to have national accreditation in art, dance, music and
Also from 1987 to 1999, the college implemented and successfully
concluded the "Hope in the Future" capital campaign,
which raised $58.1 million. Hope also conducted strategic planning
for the current "Legacies: A Vision of Hope" campaign,
announced in the fall of 2000.
Endowed chairs are established by donors who wish to assist the college on a
permanent basis through the support of a faculty member. The gift is placed in
the college's endowment fund with investment income used to support the work
of the honored professor. In addition to recognizing faculty members for excellence,
endowed chairs provide funding for summer research projects as well as some salary
more about establishing an endowed professorship