Dr. Titus Van Haitsma, a retired dentist who spent his career in Holland, has been honored for demonstrating exceptional interest in and support of Hope College by the college's Second Century Club. Van Haitsma, 91, received the club's "Presidents' Award" during a dinner at the college on Tuesday, June 18. The award was presented by Brian and Cathy Koop, presidents of the Second Century Club.
Van Haitsma grew up in Jamestown, where his family ran the general store. He graduated from Hope in 1932, completed his dental degree at the University of Michigan in 1935, and began a practice in Holland. He served with the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II. He subsequently continued his practice in Holland until retirement.
Among his other support of the college, while in practice he provided dental care to Hope student athletes. As a student himself, he had competed in football, basketball and baseball. He and his wife, the former Eleanor De Pree, met in the mid-1950s, when he signed up for an art class that she was teaching, and were married in 1956. Credited as founder of the college's department of art, she died in 1992.
Van Haitsma remains active in the life of the college. In addition to participation in the Second Century Club, he is a committed patron of the fine and performing arts and athletic booster. His activities range from participation in the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP); to attending a variety of events including basketball games, musical concerts and dance performances; to dining with students periodically in the college's Kletz Snack Bar. The Hope College Second Century Club was established in 1967 to commemorate Hope's second century, and to recognize those individuals who provide an exceptional level of support through outright and planned gifts. The group has more than 600 members.