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Jacob E. Nyenhuis Joins Van Raalte
Institute as a Senior Research Fellow

Posted August 21, 2001

HOLLAND -- Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis is joining the A.C. Van Raalte Institute at Hope College as a senior research fellow.

Nyenhuis retired from Hope in May after 26 years at the college, the last 17 as provost and professor of classics. Through his new appointment, which begins September 1, he will focus on writing about Hope and Holland.

"We're delighted to have him come into the institute because of his gifts and expertise," said Dr. Elton J. Bruins, who is director of the institute and the Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor Emeritus of Religion at Hope. "We anticipate that he will become involved in writing a new history of Hope College and pursue his interest in local history."

Nyenhuis 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. He also co-authored a book about the project.

His first project with the institute will be a history of 14th Street Christian Reformed Church. The church is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2002.

The anticipated Hope history will likely pick up where the last in-depth treatment of the college's history left off. "A Century of Hope," written by former Hope president Wynand Wichers, was published in 1968 and chronicled the college through its 1966 centennial celebration.

Nyenhuis joined the Hope faculty in 1975 as dean for humanities, was appointed dean for arts and humanities in 1978, and was appointed provost in 1984.

He delivered the college's Baccalaureate sermon on Sunday, May 6. He received an honorary degree from Hope during the Commencement exercises later the same day. Nyenhuis is internationally recognized as an expert on the Greek myth of Daedalus, and 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 by Wayne State University Press.

He co-authored the textbook "Latin Via Ovid" and editions of "Plautus: Amphitruo" and "Petronius: Cena Trimalchionis."

Nyenhuis 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.

Established in 1994, the A.C. Van Raalte Institute supports research and writings on the history and heritage of Holland, Mich., in particular and of the Dutch in the United States in general. The institute is housed in the office complex at 100 E. 8th St.

In addition to Nyenhuis, the institute's research fellows are: Dr. Jeanne M. Jacobson, adjunct professor emerita of education; Dr. James C. Kennedy, assistant professor of history; and Dr. Robert P. Swierenga, adjunct professor of history.

The institute is fully supported through gifts to the college's endowment by Peter Huizenga of Oak Brook, Ill., and his mother, the late Elizabeth Huizenga. Peter Huizenga is a 1960 Hope graduate and a member of the college's Board of Trustees. Including Peter, four of Elizabeth Huizenga's children graduated from Hope -- as did some of her grandchildren.

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