The Hope College Alumni Association will present four graduates with Distinguished Alumni Awards during the college's Alumni Day on Saturday, May 8.
Being honored this year are Robert N. DeYoung of
Holland, the Rev. George C. Douma of Grand Rapids, the Rev.
Frederick "Fritz" Kruithof of Kalamazoo and Jennifer (Jenni)
Liggett of Kalamazoo.
The annual Distinguished Alumni Awards are
presented by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in
recognition of the awardees' contributions to society and
service to Hope. The award, presented during the college's
Alumni Banquet, is the highest honor that alumni can receive
from the college's Alumni Association.
DeYoung, a 1956 graduate who is vice president for
college advancement at Hope, has been a member of the
college's staff since 1965. He first served as associate
director of admissions, became dean of men in 1966, was
appointed dean of students in 1968 and was promoted to vice
president for student affairs in 1972.
He was referred to as "the Students' Dean," and
many of the organizations that he started are still
operational, such as the Council of Physicians, the student
Appropriations Committee and the Social Activities
Committee. He also helped the college's student government
organization move from a Student Council to a Student
He has been involved with fund raising at the
college since 1974, when he was appointed vice president for
development and college relations.
In 1989, DeYoung received the Benjamin Franklin
Award for fund raising management from the West Michigan
Chapter of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives
(NSFRE). Under his leadership, Hope has been recognized
nationally for outstanding fund raising management,
including twice in a row receiving the CASE/USX (Council for
Advancement and Support of Education and USX Foundation)
award for the best total development program among all U.S.
undergraduate colleges with more than 10,000 alumni.
He has been active in church, community and
professional organizations. His numerous local activities
include having served in the past as president of the
Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Holland Country
Club, and in 1996 he received the chamber's Distinguished
Prior to joining the Hope staff, he taught,
coached football and was a counselor at Whitehall High
School, and was on the admissions staffs at both Michigan
State University and Grand Valley State University.
The college's Alumni H-Club presented him with its
sixth annual "Hope for Humanity" award in 1995.
DeYoung and his wife, Marcia, who is a 1955 Hope
graduate, have three children, all of whom are Hope alumni:
Todd DeYoung, a 1980 graduate; Jane Slette, a 1981 graduate;
and Katie Arthurs, a 1988 graduate.
Douma, a 1936 Hope graduate, served in ministry at
the local, regional or national level for nearly 60 years,
beginning in 1939 and continuing well into retirement.
He held a variety of parish assignments, including
Allendale; Third Reformed and Calvary Reformed in Grand
Rapids; the Presbyterian Church in Fairplain; the
Presbyterian Church near Ball State University in Muncie,
Ind.; and The First Presbyterian Church of Grand Haven, as
For a time, Douma was expansion minister for the
Synod of Chicago of the Reformed Church in America (RCA),
with responsibility for Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois
and Wisconsin. He was also the secretary for publications
for the RCA, and subsequently became involved with The
Society for Reformed Publications.
In the 1940s, he played a leadership role in
establishing Camp Geneva north of Holland for the RCA. He
was elected first president of the camp's board, serving
until appointed Youth Minister for the Synod of Michigan.
Last year, he was invited to speak during the Camp's 50th
He was the first administrator at Porter Hills, a
retirement home in Grand Rapids. Today, he and his wife
Florence reside there themselves.
Douma was also assistant to the executor of
presbytery in promoting stewardship and evangelism for the
Lake Michigan Presbytery.
In retirement he continued to serve Presbyterian
churches in Florida, including Moorings in Naples, and
Covenant and Cypress Lake in Fort Myers. Last year, he
concluded six years of service as winter minister at
Palmetto Palms Church in Fort Myers.
He and Florence, who is also a 1936 Hope graduate,
have two children, Carol Catoe, who graduated from Hope in
1963, and David Bruce Douma.
Kruithof, a 1961 graduate, is serving a one-year
term as president of the General Synod of the Reformed
Church in America, a position to which he was elected in
June of 1998.
He was previously vice president. He is also a
past vice president of the Synod of Michigan, and past
president of the classes of Philadelphia, Lake Erie and
Kruithof is in his ninth year as minister of
preaching and congregational care at Second Reformed Church
in Kalamazoo. He previously served with Hope Reformed in
South Haven, Remembrance Reformed in Grand Rapids, Church of
the Master in Warren and Talmage Memorial Reformed in
He has been a member of the board of the
Roxborough, Pa., YMCA, and the Reformed Church Home in
Irvington, N.J.; president of ministerial fellowships in
Philadelphia, Warren, Grand Rapids, South Haven and
Kalamazoo; chair of Church Planning and Development for the
Synod of Michigan; pastoral advisor of South Haven Hospice;
a board member of Kalamazoo Hospice; a member of both the
General Program Council and the General Synod Council of the
RCA; a member of the RCA's Evangelism and Development Team;
and chair of the Kalamazoo CROP Walk.
Kruithof has been a member of the college's Board
of Trustees since 1991, and is currently serving as vice
chair. He has served on reunion committees, and has been
class representative, for the Class of '61.
His father, Bastian, was a member of Hope's
religion faculty from 1957 to 1972.
Kruithof and his wife, Sharon, have three
children: Kirk Kruithof; Brad Kruithof, who is a 1992 Hope
graduate; and Ryan Kruithof.
Liggett, a 1980 graduate, was president of the
college's Alumni Association from July of 1996 through June
of 1998. She joined the Alumni Association Board of
Directors as the Southwest Michigan Region representative in
1992, and was appointed vice president in 1994. She is
completing her final year on the board, as immediate past
She has served as a class representative for the
Class of '80, and has been a member of the committees that
have planned the class's three reunions. She was president
of the Southwest Michigan Chapter of the Women's League for
She plays an active role in planning Hope-related
events in the Kalamazoo area.
She is classis coordinator and stated clerk for
the Southwest Michigan Classis of the Reformed Church in
America (RCA), a position that she has held since 1991. She
previously held positions in accounting with Leap
Technologies and the Borgess Medical Center, for two years
and nine years respectively.
She is a member and former deacon at Second
Reformed Church in Kalamazoo. Her community activities have
included serving as a board member and allocations chair
with the Greater Kalamazoo United Way; a volunteer with
Vineyard Outreach Ministry; a board member with Big Brothers
and Big Sisters; a board member with MRC (McKercher
Rehabilitation Center); and a volunteer with the USTA Boys
National Tournament. She is also a member of the Downtown
Kalamazoo Kiwanis Club.