After spending more than four decades helping to put the spotlight on Hope College students, faculty, teams, coaches and athletes, Tom Renner is in turn receiving some enduring recognition from the college.
Renner and his wife Carole are being honored for their significant roles in the life of the college by having the media section of the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse named in their honor. A bronze plaque commemorating the recognition will be unveiled during pre-game activities for the Hope men's basketball game that begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, as part of the Holland Sentinel Community Tournament.
"It is time to recognize Tom and Carole for their distinguished service to Hope College for the past 40 years," said President Dr. James E. Bultman. "Tom has received accolades from so many different organizations, and it is fitting now for this place that receives most of his attention to honor him and his wife Carole. Their work at Hope, especially in intercollegiate sport, has been a team effort. No one could give what Tom has given without the involvement and support of an understanding spouse."
Tom Renner is associate vice president for public and community relations at Hope, where he has been employed since 1967. He developed and directs the college's overall program in public and community relations. Since joining the staff he has also served as sports information director for the college and as league publicist for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
Through the years the entire Renner family has been active in assisting in the college's sports information program. The couple's four children, all of whom attended Hope, all helped during Hope events while growing up, and Carole continues to assist Tom with his sports information work both at events and at home.
Over the years, several of Tom's Hope and MIAA publications have received awards from professional associations including the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the College Sports Information Directors Association of America (CoSIDA).
In the summer of 1996, he was chosen to be a volunteer in media relations with the Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Ga. He served at the press center that served the media covering the men's basketball and women's gymnastics competitions, held in the Georgia Dome.
In 2000, he was honored by CoSIDA for a quarter century of service as a college sports information director. In 2004 he received the "Hall of Honor" award from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) for his outstanding and long-time service on behalf of the game of basketball. In 2006 he received recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow from the Holland Rotary Club for service and humanitarian efforts in Holland and for Hope College.
Tom has co-authored or served as a consultant for four sports-related books: "Celebrating a Century of the Student Athlete," the centennial-year publication of the MIAA; "...But How You Played the Game!," a history of intercollegiate athletics from 1862 to 1955 authored by former coach and kinesiology faculty member Gordon M. Brewer; "Journey of Hope: Names and Games Remembered," a history of intercollegiate athletics at Hope from 1955 to 1970, also authored by Brewer; and "100 Years of Hope Basketball," written by 1952 Hope graduate and retired "Holland Sentinel" editor Randy Vande Water.
Tom and Carole live in South Haven, where both have been involved in the community, with Tom serving as assistant fire chief for many years and also on the city council. In Holland, Tom has been a member of the Tulip Time Board of Directors since 2002. Tom and Carole are members of Christ Memorial Reformed Church in Holland.
Tom and Carole both attended Hope, as did their three daughters and son. Their children and children's spouses are Deb and David Smith of South Haven; Susie and Michael Williams of East Grand Rapids; Daniel and Julie Renner of East Lansing; and Becky and Andy Anderson of Downers Grove, Ill. Tom and Carole have six grandchildren.
The honor for the Renners at Hope on December 7 joins recognition at the fieldhouse in 2005, the year that the building opened, that celebrated the decades-long service to Hope by four other couples: Russ and Doris DeVette, Bob and Marcia DeYoung, Ray and Sue Smith, and Glenn and Jackie Van Wieren. The main basketball gymnasium was named the "DeVette-Van Wieren Gymnasium," the volleyball gymnasium was named the "DeYoung Volleyball Gymnasium" and the weight room was named the "SmithWeightTrainingCenter."
Russ DeVette and Glenn Van Wieren together total more than 50 years as head coach of the men's basketball team in addition to teaching at the college. Bob DeYoung was the college's chief fundraising officer for 26 years, from 1974 until retiring in 2000 as vice president for college advancement, and before that served as dean of students at Hope from 1968 to 1974. Ray Smith was head football coach for 25 seasons, through 1994, and is also a professor of kinesiology and director of athletics for men at Hope.