Archived Voice Articles

Gregg VandeKieft is 2006 Distinguished Alumnus

By Judy (Vande Hoef) Hagey (’73)

Gregg VandeKieft’s teachers at Pella Christian probably weren’t as surprised at Gregg’s selection as Dordt College Distinguished Alumnus as he was. They are the ones, after all, who saw potential in the young student behind the antics and incessant chatter.

It was the death of a high school classmate in his senior year that moved Gregg from a free-wheeling student who hadn’t given much thought to future goals and vocations to one who began to seriously ponder his gifts and calling.

Dr. Gregg VandeKieft spoke in chapel about

Dr. Gregg VandeKieft spoke in chapel about "calling" during Alumni Week. VandeKieft, a physician and medical professor, spoke to students and was honored at a banquet.

Intrigued by the sciences, particularly the wonders of the human body, Gregg started Dordt College as a biology major in 1979. In his sophomore year, visiting English Professor Stanley Wiersma opened his eyes and sparked an interest in the humanities. As he faced the possiblity of abandoning his medical pursuits in favor of the humanities, Professor Wiersma advised him to continue both pursuits—to blend his vocation with his avocation. VandeKieft considers himself blessed to have found meaningful life’s work that does just that as a physician, teacher, and medical ethicist.

It would be hard to make the charge stick today that Gregg is not working to his potential. He spends a bit more than half of his time in private family medical practice at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington. The rest of his time is spent working with outpatient hospice care and inpatient palliative care. As a clinical associate professor of family medicine at the University of Washington Family Medicine Residency Program at St. Peter, he gives about a third of his time to his patients, a third to supervising residents and medical students, and another third to scholarly work. Gregg also serves as the co-chair of the ethics committee at Providence St. Peter and is president-elect of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians.

While Gregg is highly regarded among his co-workers as a “model physician, teacher, leader, and colleague,” Dordt College, too, is pleased to recognize Gregg not only for his contributions to medicine, but particularly for his ability and desire to live out his faith in his professional calling. Gregg joins a growing list of alumni who have been recognized for their faithfulness in living out the vision of Dordt College. We do so for a variety of reasons—to encourage students in their pursuit of their gifts and God’s call for them; to affirm faculty in their teaching and influence, and to acknowledge, with gratitude, a sampling of the men and women who are making a mark on the world.

We invite nominations for alumna and alumnus of distinction. Please complete the form on the opposite page or submit nominations online at: