Professor Emeritus John W. Hollenbach Dies
Posted April 20, 1998
HOLLAND -- Hope College emeritus professor and
academic administrator John W. Hollenbach died on Sunday,
April 19, 1998, at his home.
Hollenbach, 85, was a member of the Hope faculty
from 1945 to 1978. He retired as professor emeritus of
He stayed active at Hope in the two decades
following his retirement. For example, he served as
executive secretary of the presidential search committee
that selected President John H. Jacobson, who became Hope's
10th president in 1987. He also played a leading role in
the founding of the "Hope Academy of Senior Professionals"
(HASP) in May of 1988, serving as the organization's first
president. Based at the college and designed to present
intellectual, cultural and service opportunities for area
retirees, HASP currently has approximately 380 members.
"John Hollenbach was a professor and administrator
of great distinction at Hope College," Jacobson said. "Even
after his retirement from the faculty, he remained active in
the life of the college through his leadership in the Hope
Academy of Senior Professionals. He was much loved by
generations of students, by colleagues and friends."
Hope College presented him with an honorary
degree, an L.H.D., on May 8, 1988.
Hollenbach was born Feb. 10, 1913. The second of
four children, Hollenbach attended the Allentown, Pa.,
public schools, graduating in 1930 as salutatorian of his
high school class. He earned a bachelor's degree from
Muhlenberg College in Allentown in 1934, a master's degree
from Columbia University in 1935 and a doctorate from the
University of Wisconsin in 1941.
He taught high school English in High Bridge,
N.J., for two years after earning his master's degree. He
was an assistant instructor of English at the University of
Wisconsin from 1937 to 1941, and an assistant professor of
English at Northeastern State Teacher's College in
Kirksville, Mo., from 1941 to 1945, immediately prior to
coming to Hope.
He married Winifred Lohman, who survives him, on
Aug. 23, 1941.
Hollenbach joined Hope's English faculty at the
advent of the Post-War enrollment boom. With World War II
just ended, former members of the Armed Forces flooded the
nation's colleges and universities on the GI Bill. From 555
during the 1941-42 school year, enrollment had declined to
312 by 1944-45. By 1946-47, enrollment had more than
tripled to 1,300.
He served as dean of the college from 1947 to
1955, and vice president from 1957 to 1965. In addition to
his contributions in helping Hope manage its growth early in
his service in administration, he was also active in
curricular development at the college, playing a major role
in a 1963 curriculum revision that yielded the college's
current "Senior Seminar" program. He chaired the department
of English from 1967 to 1973.
From 1955 to 1957, he was dean of the faculty of
arts and sciences at the American University in Cairo,
Egypt. During 1965-66, he was a visiting professor at the
American University of Beirut, and director of the Great
Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) Junior Year in Beirut
Program. During the summer of 1968, he was director of a
Yugoslav-American Seminar in Yugoslavia, under a grant of
the U.S. Office of Education and the Department of State.
Hollenbach had served as chair of the GLCA
Advisory Committee on Middle East Programs, a member of the
GLCA Advisory Committee on Eastern European Studies and a
member of the GLCA Faculty Council.
In 1974, he was named an honorary member of the
North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges, in recognition
of his 25-year relationship with the organization. He had
worked to enhance the NCA Commission on Research and
Service, had coordinated the NCA Liberal Arts Study in the
1950s and had chaired the NCA Committee on Liberal Arts
Education in the early 1960s.
In addition to Winifred, survivors include two
sons, David, a 1964 Hope graduate living in Oakland, Calif.,
and John, a 1968 Hope graduate living in Ada; and
Funeral arrangements are being made by the Notier-
Verlee-Langeland Funeral Chapel in Holland. The funeral
service will be Thursday, April 23, at Hope Church, 77 West
11th Street, Holland. Visitation will follow the funeral