posted April 2, 2008

Four Long-Time Professors to Retire

 A total of four long-time members of the Hope College faculty are retiring at the conclusion of the current school year.

Retiring are Charles Aschbrenner, professor of music, who has taught at Hope since 1963; David Jensen, director of libraries with the rank of professor, who has been at the college since 1984; Roberta Kraft, adjunct associate professor of music, who has taught at Hope since 1975; and Dr. Nancy Sonneveldt Miller, dean for the social sciences and professor of education, who joined the faculty in 1968. Their combined service to the college totals 142 years.

Charles Aschbrenner joined the faculty in 1963, and is a professor of music as well as chair of the piano area at the college. He has lectured and performed as both a soloist and a collaborative pianist throughout Michigan and the Midwest, as well as abroad.

He is a certified Dalcroze Eurhythmics instructor, and is intensely interested in the issues of movement, rhythm and physical freedom in performance. He has presented lecture-demonstrations across the United States as well as internationally in both Austria and Serbia. His articles on rhythm and movement have appeared in the "Journal of the Dalcroze Society of America," and his Web site "Pulse Patterning for Pianists" has attracted international responses.

Aschbrenner has been the liaison for the Holland Piano Teachers' Forum, the local chapter of the Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA). He has served on the state board of the MMTA as membership chair, and has served the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) as collegiate competitions chair and, most recently, scholarship foundation chair.

In September 2004 he was named the "Teacher of the Year" by the Holland Piano Teachers' Forum. In October of this year he was grand marshal of the college's Homecoming parade.

Aschbrenner completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Illinois in 1959, and his Master of Music at YaleUniversity in 1963. He further studied with renowned teachers Nadia Boulanger in France and Adele Marcus in New York City.

Before coming to Hope, Aschbrenner had an appointment at StephensCollege in Columbia, Mo.

David Jensen came to Hope as director of libraries in 1984.

His tenure at the college has included the construction of the Van Wylen Library, which opened in January 1988; adaptation of new technologies that has ranged from computerizing the card catalog to developing access to more than 30,000 electronic journals and nearly 20,000 electronic books; and shepherding the growth of the collection from about 190,000 volumes in 1984 to 370,000 volumes currently. In 2004, the library was named the national winner in the college category of the "Excellence in Academic Libraries Award" presented by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Jensen received a "Provost's Award for Service to the Academic Program" from Hope in January.

Jensen graduated from GreensboroCollege in 1965 and completed his M.S.L.S. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968.

Immediately prior to coming to Hope he had been a technical information specialist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Chapel Hill. He had also supervised the University of North Carolina School of Library Science/U.S. EPA Library Intern Program.

From 1970 to 1978 he was director of library services at Greensboro College, prior to which he had been an assistant reference librarian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He taught library science at both the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

Roberta Kraft's tenure with the department of music officially goes back to 1975, although she had actually begun working with the department some years earlier, a relatively short time after her husband George, now retired, had joined the kinesiology faculty in 1967.

A pianist, she was the department's first staff accompanist. She has performed actively with Hope students and faculty, as well as with her husband, with whom she has given roughly 400 programs. In addition to her teaching at Hope she maintains a private studio.

Kraft has been active with the Michigan Music Teachers Association, including serving as president from 1998 to 2000 and as vice president the previous two years. Her association with the MMTA began through the local chapter, Holland Piano Teachers Forum, of which she was a charter member in 1969 and which she served as president for three terms.

In 2003 she was named the "Teacher of the Year" by the MMTA, which had presented her with a Distinguished Service Award in 2002. The Holland chapter named her the local "Teacher of the Year" in 1995.

Kraft has also taught public school in the Junction City, Kan., Holland and Saugatuck-Douglas school systems. She is a performing member of St. Cecilia Music Society of Grand Rapids, and a member of the American Guild of Organists and The National Guild.

She earned her bachelor of music education degree at WheatonCollege and a master of music degree at IndianaUniversity.

Nancy Miller has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1968, and has served as dean for the social sciences since 1985.

She has served the college in a variety of ways, including as interim provost during 2001-02 and as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees. She chaired the Hope committee that developed the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication. In 1995 she delivered the Baccalaureate sermon.

She is on the national board of Bread for the World. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees for Western Theological Seminary since 2001. For more than 30 years, she and her husband Phil have coordinated the Christmas Project for Bethany Christian Services. She is also on the board of the "Breakfast with Baby" outreach program at Fourth Reformed Church.

Her past community involvement includes three terms on the Board of Education of the Holland Christian Schools. She has been an elder at Christ Memorial Church, and has served the Reformed Church in America in a variety of ways, including as an at-large representative with the General Synod Council.

She and Phil, who is a past member of the college's Board of Trustees, received the "Family Award" from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area in 2001 and an Outstanding Volunteer Award from the West Michigan Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2004. She received the third annual Lakeshore ATHENA Award in October of this year.

Miller is a 1962 Hope graduate. She holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Michigan State University. Prior to joining the Hope faculty she had taught at the elementary and junior-high level in the Wyoming Public Schools.