A three-year member of the staff and a 32-year member of the faculty have been named recipients of the third annual "Vanderbush-Weller Development Fund" award at Hope College for their strong, positive impact on students.
Honored this year were Diana Breclaw, director of student activities, and Ray Smith, professor of kinesiology and director of athletics for men.
The award recognizes and supports the efforts of Hope faculty and staff who make extraordinary contributions to the lives of students. Breclaw and Smith were recognized during a dinner held on Thursday, May 2, in conjunction with the May meeting of the college's Board of Trustees.
"While each of these individuals have held numerous positions, their real contribution comes from them being just great people," said Dr. Richard Frost, who is vice president for student development and dean of students at Hope, and chairs the selection committee of students, faculty and staff. "This unique characteristic is most evident in the deep care, passion and concern they exhibit with every student."
Breclaw joined the Hope staff in the summer of 1999. As director of student activities she works with dozens of student organizations, including the all-campus Social Activities Committee (SAC) and the college's fraternities and sororities, and major student events like the Nykerk Cup competition and the Pull tug-of-war.
She initiated the "Dance Marathon" student- organized charitable fund-raiser at Hope, and also developed the award-winning "Time to Serve" program that involves the college's freshmen in service projects during their first week at the college. As staff coordinator of the college's New Student Orientation program, she guides Hope's effort to help ease each incoming freshman class's transition to college life.
Breclaw was previously assistant director of student activities at Elmhurst College in Illinois for two years, and was residence life coordinator at Elmhurst for three years.
She holds her bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University, and a master's from Bowling Green State University.
Smith has been at Hope since 1970. He was football coach at Hope for 25 seasons, through the fall of 1994, and has been serving as director of men's athletics since 1980. Hope offers men's sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis and track.
Still holding the records as the longest-serving head football coach in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), Smith mentored hundreds of Hope students through his work in Hope football. His teams earned an overall record of 148-69-9, including nine MIAA championships. In 1984, he was named the NCAA Division III co-coach of the year by "Football News."
He also serves as the college's liaison to the Reformed Church in America, interacting with constituencies such as youth groups.
Earlier during his tenure at Hope, Smith also served as golf coach, wrestling coach and assistant baseball coach. Prior to coming to Hope, he was head football and baseball coach at Antelope Valley College in California.
He holds his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and master's degrees from Pasadena College and Western Michigan University.
The "Vanderbush-Weller Development Fund" was established in honor of long-time Hope professor and football coach Alvin Vanderbush of Bloomington, Minn., who retired in 1972. It was created by Ken and Shirely Weller of Knoxville, Iowa. Ken Weller is one of Vanderbush's former players and also a former Hope faculty colleague.