posted October 10, 2011

Alumni H-Club to Honor James and Martie Bultman

The alumni H-Club at Hope College will present its "Hope for Humanity Award" to President James E. Bultman and Martie Bultman on Saturday, Oct. 15, during the college's Homecoming Weekend.

The Bultmans are being honored for their dedicated service to Hope as president and first lady of the college since 1999. James Bultman will be retiring at the end of June.

The "Hope for Humanity Award," first presented in 1990, recognizes Hope athletic alumni for consistent service to others and demonstrating the values of Christian commitment and service. The H-Club consists of Hope alumni who were athletic letter winners and other honorary letter winners as approved by the H-Club's Board of Directors.

The group will honor the Bultmans during halftime of the 7 p.m. men's soccer game with Calvin College at Van Andel Soccer Stadium. Tickets for the game cost $5 for adults and $3 for those under 18, with admission free for children five and under, and will be available at the gate.

The award will be presented by Ray and Sue Smith, long-time friends and colleagues. Ray Smith is a professor emeritus of kinesiology and former head football coach at Hope, where he taught from 1970 until retiring in 2009. At the time a member of the Hope education faculty and then dean of the social sciences, James Bultman was an assistant football coach from 1970 through the fall of 1984.

"Jim and Martie Bultman are special people indeed. They are passionate about every aspect of the college and united as a team in leading Hope," said Ray Smith. "They place a high value on interfacing with students, promoting academic rigor in the classroom, maintaining a vibrant Christian dimension on campus and continuing to renovate old buildings and build new ones as needs dictate. In short, they are committed to achieving excellence at every level of the college."

The Bultmans' involvement in the life of the college extends back to their student days beginning in the fall of 1959. Their commitment to education is life-long, each having graduated from the college in 1963 with a teaching degree. Their love of Hope and dedication to students have combined during the more than 12 years that they have served during James Bultman's presidency.

They are both enthusiastic and tireless supporters of students and their activities. They regularly attend student scholarly presentations, performances, and competition in athletic events, usually together but sometimes individually when activities are happening simultaneously - so at least one of them can be present at each. Together they serve communion during the college's Sunday-evening worship services in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, and they also break bread with students by joining them for lunch or dinner in the dining halls, or by inviting them for a meal in the President's Home.

James Bultman's emphasis as president has been on assuring that Hope provides students with an exceptional educational experience in a vibrant and caring Christian environment, and the college has enjoyed distinction on a variety of external measures during his tenure. Martie has additionally worked with students directly as co-advisor of the college's chapter of the "Mortar Board" honorary society, which in 2010 was recognized as the nation's top chapter, receiving the Ruth Weimer Mount Chapter Excellence Award.

James Bultman majored in chemistry at Hope, where he captained the football and baseball teams and was president of the senior class. He went on to complete a master's degree and doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University. After graduation from Hope, he taught and coached in the public schools in Portage and was the assistant principal of Portage Northern High School before returning to the college as a member of the education faculty in 1968.

He chaired the department of education from 1976 to 1982, and was dean of the social sciences from 1982 until 1985. He was head baseball coach at Hope from 1971 to 1985, and an assistant football coach from 1970 to 1984. From 1985 to 1999 he served as president of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.

Martie Bultman graduated with a major in psychology and initially taught elementary-age special-education students in the Portage schools. She took some time off from teaching after son Matthew and daughter Heather were born, but stayed involved in the field as adult coordinator for Special Education Ministry in Holland while her husband was back at Hope as a member of the faculty. Based on her work with the ministry program, she co-authored the "Friendship Series," a religious curriculum for sharing God's love with persons who have disabilities that is used throughout the English-speaking world and has now been translated into Spanish for use in Latin and South America.

She also served the department of education as an observer of student teachers in special education. Realizing that she missed teaching herself, she subsequently taught high school students in Holland's West Ottawa School District from 1979 until 1985. While in Orange City, she was a learning disabilities instructor at MOC-Floyd Valley High School.

In addition to their active engagement with the Hope community, James and Martie Bultman are both involved in service and leadership beyond campus.

An active leader in higher education circles, James Bultman is chair of the Division III Presidents Council of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), chair of the Council of Presidents for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and a member of the Presidents Council of the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF). He is immediate past-chair of the Board of the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), former chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan (AICUM) and former chair of the Financial Aid Commission of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).

He is a member of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and the Holland Rotary Club, and serves on the Board of Directors at The Bank of Holland, the Board of Directors of the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, and the Board of Governors of the Van Andel Institute. He is a former chair of the Ottawa County United Way Campaign.

Bultman received an honorary doctorate from Keiwa College of Japan in 1998 and from Hope in 1999. He received Distinguished Alumni Awards from Hope and Western Michigan University in 1995 and 2001 respectively.

Martie Bultman is currently serving her third term on the Board of Directors for Friendship Ministries, and served previously on the Board of Trustees of the Ministerial Formation Coordinating Agency and the steering committee for disability concerns for the Reformed Church in America, as well as the planning committee for Western Theological Seminary's Friendship House. She has also served several community organizations, including as a member of the Holland Area Arts Council Board of Directors and as chairwoman of the Kate Garrod Post Educational Scholarship Fund for the Woman's Literary Club.

James and Martie Bultman are also active members of Christ Memorial Church in Holland.