Hope to Award Honorary Degrees to
Max and Connie Boersma
Posted April 23, 2003
HOLLAND -- Hope College will recognize two alumni
for service with honorary degrees during the college's
Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 4.
Hope will award honorary degrees to Connie Boersma
of Holland and her husband, the late Max Boersma, who died
on Friday, Jan. 17, at age 78. The recognition celebrates
the many ways through the years that they together served
others, including their alma mater, according to Dr. James
E. Bultman, president of Hope College.
"Max and Connie Boersma influenced so many in
profoundly positive ways," he said. "That influence
transcended social and racial boundaries, interest areas,
gender and age, and denominational preferences. They were
friends to all. Individually and as a couple, they
demonstrated Christ's love and concern at every turn. They
showed us how to live life to its fullest."
"Max and Connie were unsurpassed in their
affection for Hope," he said. "Both of them were--and
Connie still is--very involved in the life of the college."
Max Boersma, a member of the college's Class of
1946, was a longtime member of the college's Board of
Trustees. He joined the board in 1981 and had recently been
appointed to a seventh term; he was secretary of the board
from 1982 to 2000.
He co-chaired two of the college's capital
campaigns, both of which exceeded their fund-raising goals:
the "Campaign for Hope," which concluded in 1987, and "Hope
in the Future," which concluded in 1994. He was also active
in the college's current capital campaign, "Legacies: A
Vision of Hope."
He was a president of the college's Alumni
Association from 1957 to 1959.
Connie Boersma is a member of the college's Class
of 1949. She is a past president of the Women's League for
Hope College. Her father, the late Milton L. "Bud" Hinga,
was a member of the college's teaching, coaching and
administrative staff for 29 years.
In conjunction with the "Hope in the Future"
campaign, they created the endowment for the "Hinga-Boersma
Dean of the Chapel" in support of the campus ministries
They both received a Distinguished Alumni Award
from Hope in 1978. Friends and colleagues also established
the "Max and Connie Boersma Scholarship Fund" at Hope in
The Boersmas were longtime residents of Grand
Rapids, where they were active members of Central Reformed
Church. They served as foster parents through the juvenile
court system and helped initiate a Big Brother program in
Grand Rapids. Max was also a past member and president of
the Grand Rapids board of education.
Max retired in 1992 as executive vice president
with Mazda Great Lakes of Grand Rapids, and in retirement
the couple moved to Holland and near the Hope campus. They
would frequently be seen taking their morning walk through
campus. They rarely missed a campus activity and were
regular attendees at many college functions, including the
chapel services. Since Max's death, Connie has continued to
be an active participant in Hope events.
All three of their children are Hope alumni: the
Rev. Dr. William R. Boersma of Holland, a member of the
Class of 1975; Elizabeth Jasperse of Traverse City, a member
of the Class of '77; and the Rev. Paul Boersma of Zeeland, a
member of the Class of 1982 who is the Leonard and Marjorie
Maas Endowed Senior Chaplain at Hope. Three of their nine
grandchildren are also alumni or current students.