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Servant Leaders-in-Residence

The Center for Faithful Leadership's Servant Leader-in-Residence program seeks to enhance Hope College's mission.  Servant Leaders-in-Residence are transformational people of outstanding character and competence who unselfishly serve students and help educate them "for lives of leadership and service... in the context of the historic Christian faith."  Servant Leaders-in-Residence involves:

  • mentor students
  • empower students through project-based learning
  • challenge students to live their theology everyday
  • help transition students out of college
  • engage the community as partners

Dr. James Boelkins: Jim graduated from Hope in 1966, where he majored in biology.  He completed a Master of Science degree at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks in 1968, and a doctorate in pharmacology at the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1971.

He was also a postdoctoral fellow at The Pennsylvania State University during 1971-72.

From 1972 to 1975 he taught at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks.  From 1975 to 1977, Jim was a member of the pharmacology faculty at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  He was back at University of North Dakota School of Medicine from 1977 to 1985, where he chaired and developed a new department of pharmacology.  He received a variety of awards at the university, including recognition in both 1978 and 1983 as the Outstanding Basic Science Teacher.

Jim moved to Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa. in 1985 to become vice president for academic affairs.  He became provost at Geneva College in 1992.

Jim moved to West Michigan in 2000 to serve as vice provost of Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus.


Jim returned to Hope in 2002 to serve as provost. 


One of his many accomplishments was the launching of the Center for Faithful Leadership.


Upon Jim’s retirement as provost in 2011, Jim became involved in ASI Consulting.  From 2011 until 2013 he has been working with students on “The Gap” project.

The Gap Project


In the Holland, MI community, there is a segment of the homeless population especially in need. Chronically homeless, the "gap" population alternate tenures at the Holland Rescue Mission and failed attempts at independence. They are too high functioning to qualify for disability services, yet too low functioning to live independently. Cognitive impairments restrict their ability to live on their own, and they typically have no family support structure to offer assistance.  Working with the Holland Rescue Mission, ASI Consulting developed a model for residential living called “The Shepherd House.”

"We believe servant leaders are transformational people of outstanding character and competence who unselfishly serve students and help educate them 'for lives of leadership and service.'  That is Jim," says Steve VanderVeen, CFL Director.  "In addition, Jim strongly believes in project-based learning and entrepreneurship as processes for developing the next generation of Christian leaders.  He is a great teacher and role model and we are blessed by his involvement."

Says Katelyn Barry:

"Specifically in the 'GAP' project, Dr. Boelkins has played the role of an actor in a brief film, an advisor, and a mentor, and doing a great job at that.  But some may think, 'This is normal behavior for a leader,' or 'Alright, so he’s good at his job…' and that is where I stop to say 'No, Dr. Boelkins is so much more than an advisor, he takes his job seriously and he takes his relationships even more seriously.'  Almost a year ago, my dad lost his job, a job that had moved our entire family across the state.  This was during the summer, so I had not seen Dr. Boelkins and wouldn’t until the school year began.  But one day while checking my email, I had received a message from Dr. Boelkins expressing concern, thoughts and prayers directed towards my family.  This little act of reaching out to my family and me was so significant and one of the many reasons of why I view him as a great servant leader.  Hope is lucky to have someone like him, and to the students who have learned from him, even luckier.