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Hope College Alumni Association to Honor Five

Posted April 14, 2004

HOLLAND – The Hope College Alumni Association will present five graduates with Distinguished Alumni Awards during the college's Alumni Day on Saturday, May 1.

Being honored this year are: Calvin Langejans, a 1958 graduate from Holland; Dr. Samuel Ndimbo, a 1969 graduate from Liuli, Tanzania; Dr. Norman Thompson, a 1953 graduate from Ann Arbor; and Eloise Van Heest and the Rev. Gerard Van Heest of Holland, who are 1951 and 1949 Hope graduates.

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.

Calvin Langejans has provided a lifetime of service in choral and instrumental music in Holland, at Hope and beyond West Michigan.

From 1959 to 1989, he taught in the West Ottawa Public Schools, with major responsibility for developing the district's music department. He founded the Holland Chorale in 1960 and conducted the group for the next 40 years. He produced "Festival Musicale" and "Tulip Time Salute" from 1969 to 2000, and was founder as well as artistic director of Holland's March Festival from 1979 to 2000. The festival brought Pulitzer Prize-winning composer-conductors as well as many other artists to Holland from all over the U.S.A. and England.

From 1965 to 1992, he taught at Hope part-time as an instructor in music education and percussion.

Langejans has also been involved with numerous other programs through the years, and has been a guest conductor and clinician at various choral and instrumental events in the U.S. and Canada. He has served as choir director at various churches in the greater Holland area, and was director of music at Hope Church and minister of music at Harderwyk Ministries.

Under his direction, the Holland Chorale was invited to perform six times for conventions of the prestigious American Choral Directors Association and Music Educators National Conference. His most recent activities include the founding of the Evergreen Chorale, an auditioned choral ensemble of 100 voices based at Holland's "state of the art" senior center, Evergreen Commons.

His several honors and awards include Distinguished Service Awards from the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Holland, the Holland/Zeeland Community Arts Award and the statewide Maynard Klein Award presented by the American Choral Directors Association. He was Honorary Grand Marshall of the Saturday Day Parade of Bands during Tulip Time in 1990.

Langejans holds a master's degree from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Yvonne, have five children: Tom, who is a member of the Class of 1979; Bill, who is a member of the Class of 1981; Susan; Mary; and Rob.

Dr. Samuel Ndimbo has dedicated his career to serving the needy of Tanzania, in roles including physician and priest.

He was directed to Hope as a proper place for pre-medical studies by Dr. Claude L. Pickens, an Episcopal missionary who was married to 1921 Hope graduate Elizabeth Zwemer. He attended with support from the Episcopal Church, determined to ultimately return to serve St. Anne's Hospital in his home community.

After completing medical school at the University of Dar Es Salaam, he became the hospital's medical director in 1976. The remote, 100-bed hospital serves 100,000 people.

Ndimbo retired in 1996 at 55--retirement age in Tanzania--but continued to serve because the hospital's rural location and minimal pay rate made it difficult to draw a successor.

He was ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1989, and in 1990 was made canon of the Holy Cross Cathedral. His work on the behalf of the church has included service as vicar general from 1991 to 1997, and as a member of the diocesan and provincial synods. He was a member of the World Council of Churches from 1997 to 1999.

Ndimbo has also been involved in education locally, including as a member of the board of St. Paul's Secondary School for several years (serving as chairman in 2002) and as a member of the Puulu Primary School Board.

He and his wife, Inviolatha, have five sons: Alpha, Patrick, Omega, Paul and Boniventura.

Dr. Norman Thompson has spent more than four decades training future surgeons.

From Hope, he went on to the University of Michigan Medical School, first for his own education and then as a member of the surgery faculty. He retired in 2002 as chief of the Endocrine Surgical Division and the Henry King Ransom Professor of Surgery and then was made an emeritus professor. In celebration of his career, the University of Michigan established the Norman W. Thompson Professorship of Surgery.

Thompson's publications include three books, hundreds of articles and book chapters, and he has made presentations at professional conferences around the world. A member or honorary member of numerous professional organizations in the U.S. and abroad, he co-founded the American and International Associations of Endocrine Surgeons, serving both as president.

The Danish Surgical Society awarded him a Medal of Honor in 1983, and the University of Linkoping in Sweden presented him with an honorary doctorate in 1995. He received honorary fellowships from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 2000 and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2001, and also in 2001 received a Meritorious Achievement Award from the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.

Thompson was a member of the Hope College Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1988. Active in the life of the college, he and his wife, Marcia, a member of the college’s Class of 1956, have also funded a teaching laboratory in the new science center and endowed a scholarship.

He and Marcia have four children: Robert, a member of the college’s Class of 1979; Karen Wilson, a member of the Class of 1983; Susan Neevel, a member of the Class of 1987; and Jennifer McGuffin, a member of the Class of 1989.

Eloise and Gerard Van Heest, both now retired, have served the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and Christian education in a variety of ways.

Eloise has coordinated programs and publications alike focused on Christian education.

She wrote more than 25 seminars for Christian educators and women, co-designed and led the programs "Women in Leadership" and "Change," and edited numerous manuscripts for publications for the RCA and the Presbyterian Church. She was Christian education coordinator for the RCA; project director and editor of the RCA's Identity series, "Heritage and Hope"; and associate for administration and Christian education at Hope Church in Holland.

Eloise has been an officer at all levels of Reformed Church Women, and chaired the RCW 1986 Triennial, held at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif. She was on the RCA Board of North American Missions, the RCA General Program Council and the RCA Board of Theological Education. For the past 23 years, she has been on the Education and Discipleship Team of the Synod of the Great Lakes, and she also chairs the synod's Senior Adult Team. She is executive coordinator of CERCA (Christian Educators, The Reformed Church in America).

Active in the community, she has been on the Board of Child Development Services of Ottawa County for the last 20 years.

In 1992, she was the first woman--and the first non-ordained person--to be named "Educator of the Year" by CERCA. She received a "Life Achievement Award" from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) in 1996.

Jerry completed his B.D. at Western Theological Seminary after graduating from Hope. He was subsequently pastor of the Palmyra (N.Y.) Reformed Church; founding pastor of the Lynnwood Reformed Church in Schenectady, N.Y.; and senior pastor of the Delmar (N.Y.) Reformed Church.

He was appointed Hope's chaplain in 1979, serving until retiring in 1994. In addition to coordinating the campus worship program, counseling students and working with student organizations, he was involved in multiple service efforts, including coordinating the spring break mission trip program and starting the college's chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He is also a past member of the college's Board of Trustees.

Jerry has served the RCA extensively at the classis, synod and denominational level, and is currently secretary and treasurer of the RCA Classical Board of Benevolence.

His active community involvement has ranged from serving as a member of the board of Albany Family and Children's Services, to being a founding member of the Board of Hospice of Holland. In retirement he and Eloise have summered in Silver Bay, N.Y., where he teaches a weekly Bible class sponsored by the YMCA Association.

In April of 1993, Jerry received a "1992 Campus Compact/ Faculty/ Staff Community Service Award" from the Michigan Campus Compact (MCC). He received a Distinguished Service Award from the college in 1994. In 2002, he received the Silver Bay Association (YMCA) "Volunteer of the Year" award.

Eloise and Jerry have three children: Timothy, a member of the Class of 1976; Gregory, a member of the Class of 1978; and Jocelyn, a member of the Class of 1981.

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