Dordt College News

Vander Zee's podium graces the Campus Center

January 19, 2011

Dr. Delmar Vander Zee retired two years ago from teaching biology, but he frequently works at the college—although usually not in the science building anymore.

He often can be found in the pottery studio, completing his next assignment for the course he’s been taking. This spring he was working on something else for the college—an oak podium for the Campus Center.

Vander Zee was asked to design and build a lectern to use in the large atrium area in the Campus Center after he participated last year in a gallery show of fine woodworking by three Dordt College alumni. One of the pieces on display was a podium Vander Zee had made for his congregation, Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center. It prompted a commission to build a similar piece for use in the De Jager Activity Center in the Campus Center.

Vander Zee estimates that he spent between sixty and seventy hours on the piece, adapting the design to fit the more geometric lines and squares of the Campus Center. He retained the “floating” front and side panels, a design element he’d developed for the Covenant piece to try to match the open legs of Covenant’s pulpit furniture and at the same time provide some protection for those who stand behind the lectern.

“I like to design and bring things to three-dimensional life,” says Vander Zee. He carefully draws out his plans. “It helps you think through problem areas before you start cutting,” he says.

Vander Zee has made dozens of wood pieces, from delicate miniature pianos to a bedroom set and, most recently, custom bunk beds for two happy granddaughters.

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