Hope to Present Four Alumni with Awards
Posted April 7, 2003
HOLLAND -- The Hope College Alumni Association
will present four alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards
during the college's Alumni Day on Saturday, May 3.
Being honored this year are: Dr. Lawrence Schut
of Maple Lake, Minn.; the Rev. Eugene Sutton of Washington,
D.C.; Barbara Timmer of Washington, D.C.; and Johnnie Tuitel
of Grand Rapids.
The annual Distinguished Alumni Awards are
presented by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in
recognition of the awardees' contributions to society and
service to Hope. The award, presented during the college's
Alumni Banquet, is the highest honor that alumni can receive
from the college's Alumni Association.
Dr. Lawrence Schut, a member of the Class of 1958,
is a neurologist currently serving with the Centra Care
Clinic in St. Cloud, Minn., St. Cloud Hospital and the
University of Minnesota Hospital & Clinics in Minneapolis.
His other staff appointments through the years
have included serving as neurological coordinator of the
North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis from 1972 to
1983; as medical director of the Minneapolis V.A. Medical
Center's Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center
(GRECC) from 1983 to 1989; and as medical director of the
United Pain Center of United Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.,
from 1992 to 1994. He was in private practice with the
Minneapolis Clinic of Psychiatry and Neurology from 1967 to
Between 1967 and 2000 he taught at the University
of Minnesota Medical School, from which he holds his medical
degree. He received the "Outstanding Teacher Award" from
the St. Cloud Hospital residency program in 2000.
Schut's research emphasis has been on a
degenerative neurological disorder called hereditary
spinocerebellar ataxia, a fatal disease with a personal
implication: more than 65 members of his family have been
afflicted. He was among the physicians who provided the
clinical support to the molecular geneticists at the
University of Minnesota and Baylor University who, in 1993,
discovered the gene abnormality which causes the disease.
He discussed the work during a Biology Seminar at Hope.
He is medical director of the National Ataxia
Foundation, from which he received a "Lifetime Commitment
Award" in 1999, and is a board member of Audio Scriptures
International (ASI) located in Escondido, Calif. His
community involvements have included serving as an elder at
both Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and Faith Presbyterian
He and his wife, Loretta, have five children:
Sherry Yoder; Maribeth Bolstad; Ronald Schut, a member of
the Class of 1981, David Schut; and L. James Schut, a member
of the Class of 1993.
The Rev. Eugene Sutton, a member of the Class of
1976, is canon pastor at Washington National Cathedral, and
director of the Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.
Through his ministry he has met with many of the world's
religious and spiritual leaders, and has prayed, worshipped
and reflected with several members of Congress and other
He is an adjunct member of the faculty of Wesley
Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., teaching courses
in spirituality and homiletics. In addition, he co-founded,
and serves on the board of, Contemplative Outreach of
Metropolitan Washington, an ecumenical network of churches
and individuals committed to centering prayer and other
Christian contemplative spiritual practices.
Prior to joining the staff of Washington National
Cathedral, Sutton was the associate for spirituality and
justice at St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Washington,
D.C. He previously served at several other parishes,
including Covenant Community Reformed Church in Muskegon
Heights and as chaplain of the Episcopal Diocese of New
His past teaching appointments have included
Vanderbilt University Divinity School, General Theological
Seminary in New York City, New Brunswick Theological
Seminary and Muskegon Community College, where he also
served as chaplain.
Sutton spoke during the college's fall, 1993,
Critical Issues Symposium, "Race and Social Change in
America," presenting the address "Been in the Storm So Long:
The Crucible of Race in the Church." He will also deliver
this year's Baccalaureate sermon.
He received the master of divinity degree from
Western Theological Seminary, and did graduate studies in
theology and communication at Princeton Theological
His wife, Sonya Subbayya Sutton, is associate
director of music at St. Alban's Church in Washington, D.C.
Their blended family includes Sophia (16) and Stefan (12) at
home, and his two grown sons in New Jersey: Benjamin, who
works in Princeton, and Kyle, who graduates this spring from
Barbara Timmer, a member of the Class of 1969,
became Assistant Sergeant at Arms for the United States
Senate in January, 2003, and prior to that served as
Assistant Secretary of the Senate. She is currently
responsible for all information technology issues for the
Timmer's government service also includes her
appointment in 1989 as the General Counsel for the Committee
on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs of the U.S. House of
Representatives, during which time she was asked to
participate in the first U.S. delegation to the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development. During the savings
and loan crisis of the late 1980s, she was Senior Counsel to
the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the Federal Savings and
Loan Insurance Corporation.
Her political experience also includes serving a
two-year term, beginning in 1982, as the elected Executive
Vice President of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Timmer holds a law degree from the University of
Michigan, and prior to joining the Senate staff had been
with a technology company in San Francisco, MyPrimeTime
Inc.; Home Savings of America, as vice president for
legislative and regulatory affairs; and, the ITT
Corporation, as director of legislative and regulatory
Among other honors, she received the National
Affordable Housing Award in 1991 and the NYC/YWCA
Outstanding Woman Award in 1993. She is listed in the
current editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in
American Law and Who's Who in American Women.
Timmer is a member of the college's Second Century
Club, and regularly attends alumni events in Washington,
D.C. She has had Hope Washington Honors Semester students
serve with her as interns while working at the Senate.
She is active in her local Episcopal church, where
she was recently elected as a member of the Vestry.
Her parents, Barbara Dee Timmer and the late J.
Norman Timmer, who died on February 19, received
Distinguished Alumni Awards from Hope in 1980. Barbara Dee
Timmer is a member of the Class of 1943, and J. Norman
Timmer was a member of the Class of 1938.
Johnnie Tuitel, a member of the Class of 1988, is
a professional motivational speaker and co-founder and
director of development of "Alternatives in Motion."
Complications related to his premature birth left
Tuitel with cerebral palsy. His parents rejected doctors'
advice to institutionalize him, and raised him on their own.
In 1974, he became the first student with a disability to be
mainstreamed into the local public schools.
As a Hope freshman, he spoke to one of the
college's "Exceptional Child" classes at a friend's
encouragement. The experience established a role that
In the years since college, Tuitel has focused on
educating audiences about acceptance and helping people with
disabilities become more mobile. He has given hundreds of
presentations to sports teams, schools and universities,
charitable organizations and businesses. He co-wrote the
four-volume Gun Lake Adventure Series, which features a pre-
teen protagonist who uses a wheelchair.
In 1995, he and George Ranville, a member of the
Class of 1978, co-founded Alternatives in Motion to provide
wheelchairs for people who, for insurance or other reasons,
cannot afford them. The charity has since donated more than
In addition, Tuitel has continued to share his
perspective with Hope students through the years, including
speaking to "Exceptional Child" classes, athletic teams and
In 1997, former President Gerald R. Ford presented
him with the WOOD TV8 Unsung Hero Award. He has also
received the National Easter Seals Society's prestigious EDI
(Equality, Dignity, Independence) Award and the United Way
of Michigan's Speaker of the Year Award. He serves on the
state's commission on disability concerns.
He and his wife, Deb, have three young children.