Steven Bouma-Prediger Named to
Jacobson Endowed Chair
Posted February 24, 2003
HOLLAND -- Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope
College religion faculty has been named 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 Institute.
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 and universities.
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.