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Dordt College names this year’s Distinguished Alumni

August 8, 2014

Dordt College has selected three Distinguished Alumni to honor this fall during its annual Defender Days celebration, an event for alumni, parents, and friends of the college. The Distinguished Alumni will be featured guests on October 18 at the Defender Nation Dinner.

Mike Adams of Brandon, South Dakota, is a 1994 graduate who is the owner and CEO of Adams Thermal Systems in Canton. The company began 10 years ago and now employs more than 1,000 people.

Adams says the company is “committed to a biblically informed, Christian perspective on business, economics, technology, and all of life.” According to the mission of Adams Thermal Systems, the business serves God and society while working “to confront and overcome all forms of human poverty in our world.”

Because he and his family believe that faith and work cannot be separate, he tries to structure his life to reflect “the truth of God’s Word and to be ‘salt and light’ to those around us.” Thus, a percentage of the company’s sales support 25 ministries including local, national, and international ministries.

Merl Alons of Sun City, Arizona, is a 1959 alumnus who has devoted his life to working in and promoting the cause of Christian education.

“Christian education is a personal response to my covenant with God,” said Alons. “Out of this comes a belief that my children, as I, must learn to give God the glory in all of life and use all they have and are in service to his kingdom.”

Since his graduation, Alons has served as teacher, principal, superintendent, and administrator at several institutions including Rock Valley Christian School, Pella Christian Grade School, Sioux Center Christian School, Central Valley Christian School (California), Sheboygan County Christian High School (Wisconsin), and Manitowoc Christian School (Wisconsin). He has worked to advance the rights of Christian schools by serving on a number of non-public school boards and associations. He also served as a member of Dordt’s Alumni Council.

Dr. James C. Schaap taught English at Dordt College for 37 years before retiring at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year.

“I am increasingly less interested in having students know about iambic pentameter than to learn wisdom,” he said at the end of his teaching career. “I want them to understand that studying literature is not just school work, it’s about life.”

In addition to his teaching career, which also included teaching in high school and coaching basketball, he is the author of 26 books including Romey’s Place, In the Silence There Are Ghosts, and most recently Up the Hill. His books range from novels to devotionals to commissioned works. Several have been published in German, Dutch, French, or Korean. His works have received awards from Christianity Today, Best Christian Writing, Evangelical Press Association, Associated Church Press, as well as the Christy Award.

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