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Joel Bouwens Named New Chair of Board of Trustees
Posted July 30, 2003
HOLLAND -- A tradition of leadership well-acquainted with Hope College continues with the election of Joel Bouwens as chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
Bouwens, previously vice-chairperson and a member
of the board since 1993, was elected during the board's May
meeting. He succeeds J. Kermit Campbell of Traverse City,
who had been chairperson since 1995 and a member of the
board since 1983, who is retiring from the board.
Hope President James E. Bultman praised both
leaders for their dedication and the quality of their
service to the college.
"Kermit's experience, his skill in leading the
board and his wise counsel have made a positive difference
for Hope," Bultman said. "He has served the college with
distinction for 20 years."
"He was also for me personally a superb chair," he
said. "He initially gave me space as president, while
always letting me know that he was available at any time I
would find it beneficial to seek his advice. I am very
grateful that he continued in a second term as chair when I
began my presidency in 1999."
"Joel, too, is a person I have long respected,"
Bultman said. "He is held in high esteem by his peers, is
knowledgeable about the college and shares a passion for
"He has a passion for Hope, both because of his
own experience here and the experiences of his entire
family," he said. "We together see no reason why Hope
cannot be at the very pinnacle with respect to providing
exceptional academics and a vibrant Christian faith
Bouwens, who is a 1974 Hope graduate, is a
shareholder in the firm of Cunningham Dalman PC, Attorneys,
in Holland. Reared in Zeeland, he was drawn to Hope as a
student through Reformed Church and family ties, and the
college's reputation. His own positive experience has been
reinforced by the Hope experiences of family members
including his wife, children and siblings.
"I'm enthusiastic about the mission of the
college," he said. "I felt very good about my decision to
come there as a student. I felt it served me well, and I
felt it served my family well."
He affirms the president's vision for the college.
"I'd like to see Hope build on and even further
its reputation for excellent academics. I'd like to see
Hope continue to be recognized for its vibrant Christian
dimension," he said. "And I'd like Hope to continue to be a
place where there's a real sense of community--where
faculty, staff and administration continue to show in so
many ways that they care deeply about each other and Hope
In conjunction with his service on the board, he
is a member of the cabinet of the college's "Legacies: A
Vision of Hope" fund-raising campaign. He also chaired the
10-member search committee that selected Bultman as
president in 1998.
He was a member of the Steering Committee of the
"Hope in the Future" campaign in the early 1990s, and also
participated in the "Hope in the Future" strategic planning
Bouwens has been an alumni class representative,
and with his brothers John and James, who are also Hope
alumni, helped establish the Bouwens Family Scholarship
Fund, which honors his parents, Lila and the late Glenn
Bouwens, who was a 1950 graduate.
Bouwens graduated with a business administration
and economics major, and as a student also participated in
the Baker Scholars program and the Fraternal Society. He
earned his law degree from the University of Michigan in
He has been active in the community and church in
a variety of ways. He and his wife, Marianne, a Hope
classmate, co-chaired Western Theological Seminary's
"Campaign for Western in the 21st Century" with Max and
Connie Boersma. He was previously on the board of Camp
Geneva, is a past president and board member of Resthaven
Inc., and has also been involved in Young Life. He and
Marianne are members of First Reformed Church in Zeeland.
Bouwens and Marianne have three children, Tom, Dan
and Martha. Tom and Dan graduated from Hope in 2000 and
this May respectively, and are both attending the University
of Michigan's school of dentistry. Martha is currently a
junior at the college.