Hope to Present Three Honorary
Degrees During Commencement
Posted April 16, 2001
HOLLAND -- Hope College will be presenting three
honorary degrees during the college's Commencement exercises
on Sunday, May 6.
Hope will award honorary degrees to former Trustee
Leonard and Marjorie Maas of Grandville, and Dr. Jacob E.
Nyenhuis, who is provost at Hope. Leonard and Marjorie Maas
will each receive the Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.), and
Nyenhuis will receive the Litt.D.
Leonard and Marjorie Maas have been active in the
life of the college for many years. Leonard was a member of
the Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1993, serving since as an
honorary member of the board. Marjorie was active in the
Women's League for Hope College, which raised funds for many
years to enhance Hope's residence halls.
Their sons Thomas and Steven are both Hope
graduates, members of the classes of 1978 and 1981
They have supported a variety of projects at the
college. Together with their sons, they donated the
college's Maas Center, which was dedicated in 1986. They
created the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Chaplaincy,
first awarded in 1998, to provide on-going support of the
campus ministries program at Hope. They have also
established the Kelder-Maas Scholarship in honor of their
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kelder and Mr. and Mrs. Lambert
Leonard and Marjorie Maas are members of the
Reformed Church in America. They grew up in First Reformed
Church in Grandville, and then as youth with their families
became charter members of Olivet Reformed Church in
Grandville. Leonard has served as an elder, and Marjorie
has been active in Olivet's Reformed Church Women and served
as president of the Grand Rapids Classical Union of Reformed
Church Women. They have both been Sunday school teachers
and choir members.
Leonard is a veteran of World War II, and served
with the U.S. Army in the European Theatre. Both before and
after the war, he worked for his uncle with Gillisse
Construction Company, becoming president when his uncle died
in 1964. The firm's projects have included roads, sewers
and water mains, and land development including mobile home
parks. He purchased Grand Rapids Asphalt Paving Company in
1970, and won the National Environmental Award from the
National Asphalt Paving Association in 1980.
He is currently involved in manufactured housing
community projects and other land developments. His sons
work with him.
He is an honorary member of the Camp Geneva Board;
a director of Capitol Bancorp Ltd. in Lansing; a director of
Paragon Bank and Trust of Holland; board chairman of Quincy
Street Inc. of Holland; director of Michigan Turkey
Producers of Wyoming; and a member of Rotary.
Marjorie attended Grand Rapids Junior College and
Michigan State University, and taught home economics at
Hudsonville High School prior to becoming a full-time
homemaker. In addition to her involvement with church and
family activities, she has consistently served as a
"sounding board" for her husband's business ideas.
She has been a member of the Holland Home Board of
Trustees, and is currently on the board of Words of Hope.
The Maases were married in 1952. Their sons are
married, and the Maases have seven grandchildren.
Jacob Nyenhuis is retiring at the end of the current
school year after 26 years at Hope. He joined the faculty
in 1975 as dean for humanities, was appointed dean for arts
and humanities in 1978, and was appointed provost in 1984.
He is also serving as the speaker during the
college's Baccalaureate services earlier in the day. In
addition, the college's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa will
induct him as an honorary member during the group's
initiation ceremony on Sunday, April 22, and Hope's Alumni
Association will present him with a Meritorious Service
Award during the annual Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 5.
Internationally recognized as an expert on the
Greek myth of Daedalus, he served 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 2002.
Nyenhuis co-authored the textbook "Latin Via Ovid"
and editions of "Plautus: Amphitruo" and "Petronius: Cena
Trimalchionis." He led the 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, and co-authored a book about the
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
Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he taught at
Wayne State University from 1962 to 1975. He has also held
several visiting professorships.
Nyenhuis holds his bachelor's degree from Calvin
College, and his master's and doctorate from Stanford
His wife Leona is a 1993 Hope graduate. They have
four daughters, all of whom attended Hope: Karen and Kathy,
members of the Class of '80; Lorna, a member of the Class of
'84; and Sarah, a member of the Class of '98.
Commencement will be held at Holland Municipal
Stadium at 3 p.m., unless the weather is inclement.
Admission to Commencement is free and open to the general
public if the event is at the stadium; admission is by
ticket only if the event is held at its indoor location, the
Holland Civic Center. Admission to Baccalaureate, held in
Dimnent Memorial Chapel at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., is by