Three students who participated in Hope College's 1997 Vienna Summer School have been named winners in the 16th annual Howard Plaggemars Essay Competition.
The winners are: first place, James Hilmert, a
Hope College junior from Fort Wayne, Ind.; second place,
Kristin Zimdahl, a Hope College senior from Elgin, Ill.; and
third place, Christopher Vande Kieft, a Wayne State
University junior from Livonia.
All entries responded to some aspect of each
student's experiences in Europe this past summer under the
guidance of Dr. Stephen I. Hemenway, who has been the
director of the Vienna Summer School program for 22 years
and is a professor of English at Hope. The donor of the
prizes, Howard Plaggemars of Holland, is a 1960 and 1961
alumnus of the Vienna Summer School, as well as a 1960 Hope
Hilmert, who is majoring in philosophy and
history, received his award for the personal essay
"Reflections on Vienna," which deals with humorous barriers
he encountered during this past summer in Austria. Zimdahl,
a biology and English major, received her award for "Dreams
Come True," an account of how Vienna became her new home.
Vande Kieft, who is majoring in radio, television and film,
received his award for a poem, "U-Bahn."
Three Vienna Summer School graduates, all of whom
are previous winners in the Plaggemars Essay Competition,
served as judges: Rebecca Russcher, a 1996 Hope graduate
who is a research scholar in history from Fennville; Tom
Bamborough, a 1983 Hope graduate who is principal of
Bamborough Print Communication in Ada; and Elizabeth
Trembley, a 1985 Hope graduate who is head of academics at
Davenport College in Holland and author of a recent study of
Michael Crichton's works.
The prizes included cash awards of $100, $50 and
$25 for first, second and third place respectively.
Since the Vienna Summer School's founding in 1956
by Dr. Paul G. Fried, approximately 2,000 students from more
than 175 colleges and universities have discovered how
summer study in Vienna can provide them with a meaningful
introduction to the rich heritage of European civilization.
Consisting of two consecutive three-week sessions,
the program offers students a choice of work in art history,
communication, economics, Austrian history, music history,
German and Austrian literature, Eastern European literature
and a senior seminar, all taught in English, as well as
courses in German language, taught in German. Students are
housed with Austrian families, and are free to plan their
leisure time and take weekend excursions led by Hemenway to
places like Salzburg, Venice, Budapest, Prague and the