Hope College has chosen an alumnus to lead it into the next millennium.

Dr. James E. Bultman, a 1963 graduate, was elected the 11th president of Hope College by the college's Board of Trustees on Friday, Dec. 11.

Bultman is currently president of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He will assume office at Hope on July 1, 1999.

The last alumnus to hold the office was Dr. Calvin VanderWerf, Hope's eighth president, who served from 1963 to 1970.

"Dr. James Bultman is a proven leader who clearly understands and appreciates the value of an outstanding liberal arts education in the context of the Christian faith," said J. Kermit Campbell, chair of the college's Board of Trustees. "He is in a position to build on the many significant contributions of President John H. Jacobson. His vision and energy will help Hope continue to excel, blending sensitivity to the college's best traditions with commitment to building upon them and creating new strengths as well."

Bultman will succeed Dr. John H. Jacobson, who will retire on June 30, 1999. Jacobson has served as Hope's 10th president since July 1, 1988.

Bultman was chosen following a nationwide search that began shortly after Jacobson announced his retirement plans last January.

"We were fortunate in having an outstanding pool of applicants to consider as we sought a successor to President Jacobson," said Joel Bouwens, chair of the 10- member search committee. "We looked all of them seriously, considering carefully what each could bring to the college as a leader."

"Dr. Bultman stands out for his professional credentials, his commitment to the Hope College ideal, and his genuineness and warmth as an individual," he said. "We as a committee feel he's the right fit for Hope as we aspire to become known as the country's premiere Christian liberal arts college."

Bultman will assume office having already had more than two decades of direct experience with Hope, including his student days. He joined the education faculty in 1968, chaired the department of education from 1976 to 1982, and was dean of the social sciences from 1982 until leaving for Northwestern's presidency in 1985. He was head baseball coach at Hope from 1971 to 1985, and an assistant football coach from 1970 to 1985.

Northwestern, like Hope, is one of three colleges with ties to the Reformed Church in America. Northwestern has 1,190 students--reflecting a 40 percent increase since Bultman took office.

In addition to setting enrollment records, under Bultman's leadership Northwestern has increased its endowment by a factor of 10, from $2.5 million to $25 million; raised more than $30 million for capital campaign projects, including the renovation of 80 percent of the college's classrooms; and balanced its budget each year.

Major enhancements of the physical plant have included construction of a new Chapel/Performing Arts Center in 1988, renovation of the Old Chapel into departmental space in 1990, renovation of the main classroom building and expansion of the cafeteria in 1993.

Northwestern also built a new $6.1 million intercollegiate athletic center, dedicated in 1995 as "The James E. and Martha T. Bultman Center for Health, Physical Education and Intercollegiate Athletics" in recognition of his leadership.

While at Northwestern, Bultman has been an active leader in statewide and national educational concerns. He is currently serving a two-year term as chair of the Board of Directors for the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities. He just completed his second three-year term on the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents and his service as one of the five members of the NAIA's Executive Committee. He is also chair of the Iowa College Foundation, past chair of the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and past chair of the Commission on Campus Concerns for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

He graduated from Hope with a major in chemistry. He holds a master's degree and doctorate in education from Western Michigan University.

Before joining Hope's faculty, Bultman taught and coached in the public schools in Portage, and was the assistant principal of Portage Northern High School.

Hope presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in May of 1995. He received an honorary degree from Keiwa College, a sister college of Northwestern in Shibata City, Japan, in March of 1998.

His wife Martha is also a 1963 Hope graduate. She is co-author of the Friendship Series, a religious instruction curriculum for the developmentally disabled that is used throughout the English-speaking world. She has multiple certifications in special education, and is a learning disabilities instructor at MOC-Floyd Valley High School.

The Bultmans have two children: a son, Matt, who is a 1990 Northwestern College graduate living in Overland Park, Kan., and a daughter, Heather, who is a 1992 graduate of Taylor University living in Brodhead, Wisc.