The Voice: Winter 2001

The Voice

Sustaining college relationships

by Judy Hagey

What relationships do you value? Family? Friends? Sustaining relationships that remain mutually satisfying can require a bit of effort. Time, distance, and the hectic pace of 21st-century living make it challenging to maintain meaningful relationships.

Dordt has been the starting point for many significant relationships. Many life-long friendships are formed when two or more individuals live together in a small dormitory room and, of necessity, learn to appreciate (or tolerate) their roommates' idiosyncrasies. Bonds forge as young persons, at that important stage between adolescence and adulthood, confront the important questions of life...who am I? and what am I doing here? Dordt's role in helping students answer those questions has shaped many lives and forms the basis for many continuing friendships.

Yet, despite our best intentions and promises to stay in touch, jobs, families, and other commitments often get in the way, and those relationships that were once a primary focus move to the periphery of our lives. The yearly Christmas card or occasional phone call may bring back memories of late- night donut runs and marathon study sessions and may prompt a New Year's resolution to do a better job of staying in touch with Dordt friends. For others, these reminders may bring back painful memories. Perhaps your life's journey has brought you much heartache and disappointment. Perhaps the hopeful purposes you had when leaving Dordt are only dashed hopes and the effort to re-connect with those who shared a youthful ideal is too hard to consider.

Our role in the alumni office is to help you sustain the relationships you began as a student with other students and faculty and with the institution. Helping you stay connected with us and each other is a priority for us. It involves keeping an accurate database of addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses and letting you know about events on campus and in your area. But if that is our only job, we've done both you and Dordt a disservice. Our interaction with you ought to be nurturing the relationship that began when you were a student a relationship that continues to help you answer those important world and life questions who am I and why am I here?

To be sure, relationships change over the years. Age and experience change what we bring to and need in return from a relationship. Dayton Vogel relates how his experience on the alumni council has given him a new perspective on his relationship with his alma mater. Whatever your situation, I hope that your relationship with Dordt continues to be one that nurtures both you and the college New Alumni Council Members Dave De Ridder, '71, is the youth pastor at Third Christian Reformed Church in Denver, Colorado. He and his wife, Gladys, have four children, ages 19-26. Dave's ministry takes him on many youth group outings, including leading mission teams to Mexico. Even though he's been pastoring for almost thirty years, he still names that, along with marine aquariums, among his hobbies.

Teresa (Weidenaar) Kredit, '87, lives in Manhattan, Montana, with her family. She keeps the books for her husband's electrical business and is homemaker to their three children. The Kredits belong to Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Manhattan. They enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping in “big sky country.”

Nancy (De Wit) Meendering, '96, lives in Sioux Center. Music occupies much of her time. She teaches music at Sioux Center Christian School, gives private violin lessons, plays organ and piano at her church, and belongs to the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra. Nancy and her husband, Kevin, have two adult children who have both graduated from Dordt. In her free time Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Rebecca Vande Griend, '99, lives in the Twin Cities where she is in her second year of teaching second grade at Calvin Christian School. Rebecca attends Faith Christian Reformed Church in New Brighton, Minnesota. She enjoys spending her leisure time traveling, running, camping, and spending time with her family.

Alumni Musicians We're interested in sharing your professional successes or ventures into the public arena. For instance, we heard from several alumni who have ventured into the music business some professionally, some as amateurs whose activities you might be interested in. Let us know about your “projects” and we'll be glad to share them with your classmates.

Darrin Berg (ex '95) is the director of music at First Christian Reformed Church in London, Ontario. But it's his song-writing abilities that have garnered some recognition. Darrin has over 500 original compositions to his credit and has released two albums By Grace Alone and his second earlier this year, One Step Closer. He continues to perform with his band, The Immigrants, playing a blend of celtic and pop songs. Contact information: Kelli Koopman (519) 421-0926 or DarrinBergMusic.com.

Andrew Wolgen ('96) also continues the song-writing and performing he did at Dordt. He has one album to his credit, Letting Go and Holding On. All original compositions, they are his testimony that his faith gives him what he needs to “let go of the old life and hang on to the new.” Andrew also performs with a local band, Covenant. He lives in Orange City, Iowa, with his wife, Jenness (ex'95) and their family. Contact information: Andrew Wolgen; (712) 737-8664; e-mail: andrewKW@AmericanID.com.

5-4-1, a male acapella group, has been around since 1990, begun as a Dordt student group. While the membership has changed through the years, the purpose five (5) men singing for (4) our one (1) Lord remains unchanged. Only one of the original members, Harold Wierenga ('93) still sings with the group. The other members are Brian Gulker ('97), Dave Van Essen ('95), Eric Netjes ('97), and Brad Krommendyk (ex'99). The group released its first album, The Acapella Journey, in 1998 and hopes to produce another soon. Contact information: Brad Krommendyk (605) 371-8949.

Jack DuMez,'96, is another grad who continues to make his way in the music industry. He writes all his own music and is a frequent performer in clubs and coffee houses. He has released two albums to his credit Wonder in the Wonder and Live and Lenza's. Contact information: Jack Du Mez (920) 564-2402.

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