Hope College will honor three alumni with awards during the college's annual Alumni Banquet on Saturday, April 30.
The college's Alumni Association will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to Dr. William Heydorn, a 1955 graduate from Tiburon, Calif., (pictured left) and Dr. Jon Soderstrom, a 1976 graduate from Madison, Conn. The association will present a Meritorious Service Award to Connie Boersma, a 1949 graduate from Holland.
The annual Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in recognition of the awardees' contributions across decades or even across a career to society and service to Hope. The award, inaugurated in 1970 and presented during the college's Alumni Banquet, is the highest honor that alumni can receive from the college's Alumni Association.
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. The award is presented to both alumni and friends of the college.
° Dr. William Heydorn is a physician who served in the U.S. Army for nearly 30 years and has stayed active in medicine since retiring as a colonel in 1989. He is currently a surveyor with the Joint Commission.
He majored in chemistry at Hope, where his co-curricular activities included the Cosmopolitan fraternity and football. After graduation he completed his M.D. degree at Yale University Medical School. Following an internship at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y., he entered active duty in the Army in 1960, and was active in both clinical and academic aspects of military medicine.
Heydorn served two tours in Germany, the second as chief of surgery at the 5th General Hospital. He was also the commanding officer of the 44th Surgical Hospital and the 11th Evacuation Hospital, both in Korea. In 1975, following three years on the thoracic surgery staff at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver, Colo., he joined the Department of Surgery at Letterman Army Medical Center, a teaching hospital, at the Presidio of San Francisco, Calif. He became chief of the department in 1978, and commanding officer in 1987.
He received multiple decorations during his time in the U.S. Army, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.
Since retiring, Heydorn has remained active in the medical community. He has served as a field representative for AMA Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; associate medical director for a California peer-review organization; medical director of health care review with BrooksideHospital; and director of continuing medical education for INR/BioMed Inc. He has also served as a clinical professor of surgery at the University of California-San Francisco and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. As a surveyor with Joint Commission International, he travels worldwide to provide assistance in assessing standards compliance.
He has authored or co-authored 30 articles in medical journals, co-authored a medical textbook and authored chapters in two medical texts. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery; a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Physician Executives; and a certified Physician Executive.
Even as his career has taken him across the country and around the world, he has stayed involved with the college, including by attending class reunions and regional events.
His wife, Joan, who died in December 2003, was a Hope classmate and a Holland native. Their children are Barbara, Kathy and Will.
° Dr. Jon Soderstrom is the managing director of the Office of Cooperative Research at Yale University. The office manages the intellectual assets created at Yale to achieve the maximum benefit for the public and provide a financial return to support the university's research efforts. Since joining the office in 1996, he has participated in the formation of more than 25 new ventures that collectively have raised more than $450 million in professional venture capital.
In 2007, the office created the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute to help undergraduate, graduate and professional school students at Yale to launch their own new ventures. More than 65 new ventures have been formed since the program's inception, with 18 of the ventures raising more than $23 million in investment capital.
He has been contributing his expertise to Hope as a consultant as the college has been developing its Hope Entrepreneurial Institute to provide similar assistance to Hope students, and has also been involved in the life of the college in other ways, including as a guest lecturer and class representative.
Prior to joining Yale, Soderstrom was the director of program development for Oak Ridge National Laboratory after serving for 10 years as director of technology licensing for Martin Marietta Energy Systems.
He was a founding board member and is a past president of the Association of Federal Technology Transfer Executives as well as a member of the Licensing Executive Society and Association of University Technology Managers, where he was the 2008 president, and has served as vice president for public policy, and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He is frequently asked to lecture and teach seminars on various aspects of the technology transfer process and economic development both within the United States and abroad. He has testified before Congress on technology transfer issues and served as an expert witness in patent infringement litigation.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Soderstrom was honored as the 87th "Point of Light" by President George H.W. Bush in March 1990 for his volunteer activities helping to construct and rehabilitate low-income housing in East Tennessee.
Soderstrom majored in psychology at Hope, where his activities included the Fraternal Society, football and serving as sports editor of the "Anchor." He completed his doctorate in psychology at Northwestern University in 1980.
His wife, Gail, is a 1978 Hope graduate. They have three children: Rachelle; Kari, a 2007 Hope graduate; and Luke, a 2010 Hope graduate.
° Connie Boersma grew up at Hope, where her father, the late Milton L. "Bud" Hinga, was a member of the teaching, coaching and administrative staff for 29 years, and has stayed involved in the life of the college ever since. She majored in education at the college and as a student participated in activities including athletics, the Sigma Sigma sorority and the glee club.
She regularly attends a broad range of events at Hope, from academic lectures, to concerts and plays, to athletic competitions. Her dedicated involvement includes serving communion during the student-oriented Sunday evening The Gathering worship service organized by the campus ministries program, of which her son Paul is a chaplain.
She has been active in planning for her class reunions, has assisted in fund-raising efforts at the college and is a past president of the Women's League for Hope College.
Boersma's husband Max, who died in January 2003, was a member of the college's Class of 1946 who was himself active with the college in a variety of ways, including as president of the Alumni Association from 1957 to 1959 and as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1981 until his death. Together they created the endowment for the "Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel" in support of the campus ministries program. The college presented them with Distinguished Alumni Awards in 1978 and honorary degrees in May 2003.
The Boersmas were longtime residents of Grand Rapids, where they were active members of Central Reformed Church. They served as foster parents through the juvenile court system and helped initiate a Big Brother program in Grand Rapids. Connie remains active in a variety of community organizations, including Western Theological Seminary, Camp Geneva and Young Life, as well as Christ Memorial Church in Holland, where her son William is minister of care.
All three of Connie's and Max's children are Hope alumni: the Rev. Dr. William R. Boersma of Holland, a member of the Class of 1975; Elizabeth Jasperse of Traverse City, a member of the Class of 1977, who served on the college's Alumni Association Board of Directors; and the Rev. Paul Boersma of Zeeland, a member of the Class of 1982 who is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Senior Chaplain at Hope. Seven of their nine grandchildren are also alumni or current students.