The Voice: Spring 2001
By Judy Hagey
Most colleges have venerable traditions that are passed on with much ceremony and pride:
homecoming bonfires or parades, golden alums participating in graduation, or freshman initiation
activities repeated annually so that each generation shares in the experience. Tradition involves
passing something from generation to generation. By that definition Dordt is just coming of
age. We're into our second generation of students, but as an institution not yet fifty years old,
we do not yet have many well-established traditions.
Although it may not rise to the level of tradition, Homecoming is one activity that has been
around Dordt longer than any other. Since the early 1970s alumni have been invited to return to
campus for a weekend. Early homecomings were scheduled as now, during basketball season.
Some experimenting was done with holding an alumni weekend at other times--such as the fall
during the Tri-State Teachers meetings--but since the mid-1980s, Homecoming has been a winter
event at Dordt.
The challenge for an institution as young as Dordt is to establish traditions that stand the test of
time and convey to the next generation the purpose and value of a Dordt education. Our
Distinguished Alumni Series is one attempt to do that. Now in its tenth year, the Distinguished
Alumni program recognizes one graduate who exemplifies what Dordt stands for. In the process
of identifying the honoree, we recognize that many alumni are humbly and obediently living out
their calling in a variety of settings. Selecting one individual to represent the alumni body is a
daunting task. Our intent is not so much to single out one individual as it is to thank God for the
opportunities and ways he uses willing hands, minds, and hearts to advance his kingdom.
It is my privilege to be part of the process of identifying and selecting the Distinguished Alum
and notifying the person selected. The person's common response is,Why me? Surely other
Dordt graduates are equally or more worthy? Perhaps it's an ingrained sense of total depravity
that makes Dordt alumni so reluctant to be recognized. More likely it's a good understanding of
and commitment to Dordt's mission--to use their education to serve others. Or as Judy
Brueggeman put it, doing your best to meet the needs around you. To all our alumni who live
out of that commitment, may God continue to bless you and use you to make a difference.