Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis, provost at Hope College, will retire in June, concluding a quarter century of service to the college.
Nyenhuis announced his retirement on Tuesday, Nov. 28, during the November meeting of the Hope faculty.
"This was a difficult decision for me, for I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve with you and on your behalf," he said. "I have felt and I have appreciated your support and your encouragement, through good times and bad. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to slow my pace a bit."
"I thank our Lord for calling me into service at such a wonderful place, where I have been blessed with such marvelous colleagues," Nyenhuis said.
Following his remarks, the faculty paid tribute to him with a standing ovation. President James E. Bultman subsequently reflected on Nyenhuis's service to the college.
"I have had the privilege of working with Jack as a dean at Hope, then when he was provost to serve under him, and to work with him for these past two years," Bultman said. "He is a consummate professional, and he is a very good personal friend."
"To be an academic administrator for 25 years in my little realm of the world is unheard of," he said. "But I don't think it's just the longevity of Jack's performance that endears him to us, significant as that may be. It also and especially is the quality of his work. In a very real way, Jack has shaped the academic life of this institution more than any other single individual, and he has been a friend and advocate for our faculty in ways that many of us don't know or can't begin to appreciate."
Nyenhuis, 65, who is also a professor of classics, joined the Hope faculty in 1975 as dean for humanities. He was appointed dean for arts and humanities in 1978, and provost in 1984.
Internationally recognized as an expert on the Greek myth of Daedalus, he was invited to serve as a consultant to the successful 1988 recreation of the legendary inventor's 74-mile flight across the Aegean Sea. His book "Myth and the Creative Process: Michael Ayrton and the Myth of Daedalus, the Maze Maker," will be published in the spring of 2002 by Wayne State University Press.
His publications also include the textbook "Latin Via Ovid," currently in the seventh printing of its second edition, of which he is co-author. In addition, he co-authored editions of "Plautus: Amphitruo" and "Petronius: Cena Trimalchionis."
Nyenhuis led the college's effort to have the statue of the Rev. A.C. Van Raalte, founder of Holland and Hope, cast and installed in Centennial Park in conjunction with the city's 1997 sesquicentennial celebration. He is co-author of the book "A Dream Fulfilled: The Van Raalte Sculpture in Centennial Park."
In April of 1999, the college's Alcor Chapter of the Mortar Board honor society recognized him with honorary membership in the chapter.
He is past chair of the Michigan Council for the Humanities, and past president of the National Federation of State Humanities Councils. He is also past chair of the Deans' Council of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA).
Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he was a member of the faculty at Wayne State University. He was a professor of classics from 1962 to 1975, also serving as chair of the Department of Greek and Latin from 1965 to 1975, and as director of the Honors Program of the College of Liberal Arts from 1964 to 1975.
He has held visiting professorships at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Ohio State University and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. He was named a member of the Green College Society at Green College, Oxford, after he spent a sabbatical there as a visiting scholar in 1989.