Archived Voice Articles

Remembering, celebrating, and sharing the vision

By Judy Hagey, Director of alumni relations

It's been more than 50 years since Rev. B.J. Haan and others who envisioned a Reformed Christian college in the Midwest realized their dream with the founding of Dordt College. Next year, Lord willing, we will celebrate what Dordt has become in just half a century.

It's been said:

The first generation builds the fire;

the second generation tends the fire;

the third generation tries to keep the fire from going out;

the fourth generation guards the place where it burned;

the fifth generation tries to remember what started the fire and where it


In our Jubilee planning we've already spent a lot of time remembering with gratitude and appreciation that first generation of visionaries who laid the foundation for Dordt College. The enthusiasm and selfless commitment of our parents and grandparents built the flame of Christ-centered higher education in this place. Few of that generation remain. Of the 13 original members of the board of trustees only three are still living. Of the five original faculty members, only long-time registrar, Douglas Ribbens, survives. It's our hope and prayer that these and many others from that founding generation will be able to take part in our celebration next year.

It now falls to us, the second and third generations, to tend and nurture what the first generation built. Increasingly alumni are assuming leadership positions as members of the board of trustees and faculty. Sixteen of the current board members are alumni, while one-third of the faculty are alumni who now pass on to a new generation the world view that inspired them as students.

Nearly half of our alumni support the college financially, a participation rate that few colleges can claim. Alumni commitment is evident in the number of alumni children, the third generation, who enroll at Dordt College. Our legacy enrollment of nearly forty percent is nearly unheard of among institutions of higher education.

Encouraging as these indicators are, the challenge remains as we look ahead to the next 50 years, to keep the vision of Christian education, burning brightly. Dordt will continue to need your financial support and your gifts of leadership. Just as importantly we will need you to continue to transmit the vision of an education rooted in the Word and claiming all of creation for the Creator to succeeding generations.