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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 respectively.

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 Maas.

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 project.

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 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 University.

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 ticket only.

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