Dordt College News

Longtime Dordt College employees retire

April 24, 2014


Dordt College will bid farewell to six longtime employees at the end of this academic year. They have contributed to the college in significant ways inside and outside of the classroom, and the college is grateful for their faithful service.

Dennis De Jong, assistant professor of computer science, has been teaching at Dordt College since 1985, a time when the field of computer science was beginning. De Jong has taught both computer science and mathematics courses during his 29 years at Dordt.

“I’ve been blessed to work with many good students who are now teachers,” said De Jong. Two of his former students became professors and colleagues at Dordt; one in computer sciences, and the other in mathematics.

Dr. John Kok, dean for research and scholarship/director of Andreas Center, began his career at Dordt College teaching philosophy in 1983. He took an academic administrative position in 1997, even though he loved teaching, something he says he still misses. In his new role he’s enjoyed being able to make things happen by serving in a different kind of leadership capacity.

Kok has served as dean for the humanities, dean for research and scholarship, director of the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Research, and managing editor of the Dordt College Press.

Dr. James Mahaffy, professor of biology, has been a professor at Dordt College for 35 years and says he always tried to make biology interesting to non-majors by sharing unique and sometimes cringe-worthy stories about tapeworms and rattlesnakes.

For many years, Mahaffy has been studying mountain lions and rattlesnakes, with particular focus on the Massasauga Rattler that lives in wetland areas that have been diminishing. He probably knows more about the historic distribution of rattlesnakes in the United States than anyone else.

Tom Van Den Bosch, associate director of admissions, came to Dordt College in 1997 as the women’s volleyball coach and an admissions counselor. Three years ago, he retired as the volleyball coach, but continued to work in admissions with transfer students.

Van Den Bosch continues to find ways to stay involved in volleyball and has been helping the new Dordt men’s volleyball club get started.

Quentin Van Essen, executive director of admissions, has worked at Dordt College since 1979, beginning in Student Services. In 1989, he transitioned to Admissions, where he’s been working ever since.

In those years, technology has significantly changed operations, he says. What was once done on three by five index cards is now computerized. The most common methods of communicating with prospective students have moved from school visits and telephone calls to using the website, social media channels, and texting. 

Jake Van Wyk, professor of art, began teaching at Dordt in 1991 and has been teaching and creating art ever since. He enjoys drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and photography.

“Dordt’s program was a perfect fit for me,” he says. It allowed him to teach a variety of media and grow as an artist. In addition to preparing several individual shows, he has created three large art works on campus including “The Gift,” a statue that has greeted thousands of students on their way to class.

Dordt College will hold an Open House celebration on Friday, April 25. The community is invited to the De Yager Activity Center in the lower level of the Campus Center from 2:30 to 4 p.m. to enjoy refreshments and wish the retirees well.

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