Three to Receive Meritorious Service
Awards During Winter Happening
Posted February 2, 1998
HOLLAND -- The Hope College Alumni Association
will present three Meritorious Service Awards during the
college's Winter Happening on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Those being honored are Roger Rietberg, professor
emeritus of music, and retired Hope president Dr. Gordon Van
Wylen and his wife Dr. Margaret Van Wylen. They will be
recognized during the Winter Happening luncheon, which will
be held in the college's Haworth Conference and Learning
Center beginning at 12:30 p.m.
The Meritorious Service Award recognizes a
person's contributions to Hope and its alumni through
notable personal service and long-time involvement with the
college. Hope presented its first Meritorious Service Award
in May of 1993.
Rietberg was a member of the Hope music faculty
from 1954 until his retirement as professor emeritus in
1990. He directed the college's Chapel Choir during his
final 15 years on the faculty, succeeding long-time director
Robert W. Cavanaugh upon his retirement in 1975.
Rietberg, along with choir members, was featured
in a Winter Happening seminar in 1990, discussing the
group's 1989 concert tour in the former Soviet Union. A
1947 graduate of Hope, he was on the committee for the
class' May, 1997, 50th reunion celebration.
He served as director of music at Third Reformed
Church in Holland from 1950 to 1995, and was interim
minister of music at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids
from February through July of 1997.
Among other community activities, he is a member
and past president of Holland Rotary and a member of the
Board of the Holland Area Arts Council. He served as an
elder at Third Reformed Church, and was on the Hymnbook
Committee for the Reformed Church in America in the
publication of "Rejoice in the Lord." He currently
volunteers as chapel organist at Western Theological
He holds an M.S.M. from the Union Theological
Seminary School of Music, and has done additional study at
the Juilliard School of Music and Syracuse University.
Rietberg and his wife, Evelyn, have three
children, all Hope graduates: Jonathan, Class of '80;
Roberta Hartt, Class of '83; and Amy Van Allsburg, Class of
'92. Another son, Tommy, is deceased.
Gordon and Margaret Van Wylen were president and
first lady of Hope College from 1972 until their retirement
in 1987. They have stayed active in college functions in
the years since, including attending May Term courses abroad
in 1992 and 1994.
They each hold an honorary degree from the
college: Gordon received a Litt.D. in 1972, and Margaret an
L.H.D. in 1987. The college's Van Wylen Library, developed
during their tenure and dedicated in April of 1988, was
named in their honor.
Gordon Van Wylen's community and volunteer
involvements have included serving as a member and elder of
Christ Memorial Church; as a board member and president of
the Holland Community Foundation; as a board member with
Bethany Christian Services and Trinity Christian College;
and Words of Hope. Since retiring from Hope, he has been
involved in the renewal of downtown Holland and various
other community projects.
He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from
Calvin College in 1967, an honorary degree from Meiji Gakuin
University of Japan in 1987, and the Alumni Society Medal
from the University of Michigan College of Engineering
Alumni Society in 1995. The Holland Area Chamber of
Commerce presented him with a Distinguished Service Award in
Prior to assuming the Hope presidency, he was dean
of the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan,
where he had been on the faculty since 1951. He is a
veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Navy as a
He holds bachelor's degrees from Calvin College
and the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in
engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Margaret Van Wylen retired from a career as a
psychiatrist in 1994. She had been on the staff of Holland
Community Hospital, and had served as both medical director
of the Psychiatric Unit and as chair of the Psychiatric
Department. She had also been staff psychiatrist with
Ottawa County Community Mental Health and with Child and
Family Services, and had been in private practice.
In June she will complete a three-year term as an
administrative elder at Christ Memorial Church. She is on
the board and a volunteer in day care health at Evergreen
Commons, is a member of the Ladder House board, and is a
volunteer facilitator for the Ottawa-Allegan Support Group
for Multiple Sclerosis.
She is a past member of the boards of Hospice and
Community Action House. She was named "Michigan Mother of
the Year" by the Michigan Mothers Association in 1980.
She holds a bachelor's degree from Duke
University, and an M.D. from the University of Michigan
The Van Wylens have five children, three of whom
graduated from Hope: Elizabeth Rudenga; Stephen, Class of
'77; Ruth Jasperse, Class of '79; David; and Emily Overway,
Class of '85.
In addition to the luncheon, which will also
feature a humorous slide presentation, Winter Happening will
include six free seminars, an exhibition, two concerts, and
a home men's basketball game with Kalamazoo College.
Admission to the luncheon costs $9, and advance
registration is required.
Additional information about the Winter Happening
activities may be obtained, and reservations may be made, by
calling the college's Office of Public and Alumni Relations
at (616) 395-7860.