The alumni H-Club at Hope College will present its "Hope for Humanity Award" to Dr. William R. Vanderbilt of Holland on Saturday, Oct. 23.
The award, first presented in 1990, recognizes
Hope athletic alumni for service to others, transformation
of Christian values and consistency of commitment. The H-
Club will recognize Vanderbilt during its annual Homecoming
luncheon, which will be held in the Haworth Inn and
Vanderbilt has been executive director of the
Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area since 1994.
He was chief executive officer of Freedom Village, which he
founded, from 1988 to 1994, and was a coach and member of
the Hope kinesiology faculty from 1967 to 1988.
As a long-time colleague at Hope, Ray Smith of the
college's kinesiology faculty had many opportunities to see
Vanderbilt in action. They even shared an office in the old
Carnegie-Schouten gymnasium. Smith praised Vanderbilt's
professionalism, teaching, love for sport and rapport with
students, as well as his leadership as department chair
while the college developed the Dow Health and Physical
Education Center, dedicated in 1978.
"He, at a key time in our department, took on the
role of leader and got our department moving and the
building built," said Smith, who has been a member of the
Hope faculty since 1970, and is professor of kinesiology and
director of athletics for men at the college. "It was one
of the great eras in our department and in sport at Hope."
Vanderbilt grew up in Adell, Wis., and graduated
from Oostburg High School in 1957. He graduated from Hope
in 1961 with a history major and minors in physical
education and English. While a student at Hope he competed
in baseball, basketball and track, serving as captain of the
basketball team during his senior year.
He completed a master's degree in physical
education at the University of Michigan in 1963, and a
doctorate in health and physical education, with an emphasis
in sport sociology, at the University of Utah in 1971.
During the 1961-62 school year, he was a teacher
and coach in Coopersville. From 1962 to 1967, he was a
teacher and coach at new Trier Township High School in
He chaired Hope's department of health and
physical education--today the department of kinesiology--for
13 of his 21 years on the college's faculty. The cross
country teams that he coached won or shared 14 men's and
three women's Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association
For his service to Freedom Village, the center's
staff in 1994 presented him with a plaque honoring his
"vision, enthusiasm and persistence in leading Freedom
Village from Dream to Reality." For his support of the
Youth Advisory Committee of the Community Foundation of the
Holland/Zeeland Area, the Detroit Pistons and the State
Youth Advisory Board of the Michigan Community Foundations
accorded him special recognition during the Council of
Michigan's 26th annual conference in November of 1998.
His area activities have also included serving as
a member of the board of Boys and Girls Club in 1992-93, and
chairing the Long-Range Planning Commission of Overisel
Township for 10 years. Since 1967 he has been a member of
Christ Memorial Church, where he is a member of the choir
and has served on the consistory on several occasions.
His wife Patricia died on August 17 following a
battle with cancer. She was a 1962 Hope graduate, and all
three of the couple's children are also Hope alumni: Sandra
K. Bajema of Grandville, a 1985 graduate; William C.
Vanderbilt of West Olive, a 1988 graduate; and Susan M.
Vanderbilt of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., a 1992 graduate.
The Hope College Alumni H-Club consists of Hope
alumni who were athletic letter winners and other honorary
letter winners as approved by the H-Club's Board of
Directors, and currently has more than 2,800 members.
The previous recipients of the "Hope for Humanity
Award" are: the Rev. James W. Baar of Holland, a 1942 Hope
graduate (1998); Ekdal J. Buys of Holland, a 1937 Hope
graduate (1994); Robert N. DeYoung of Holland, a 1956 Hope
graduate (1995); Mary Dykema of Holland, a 1973 Hope
graduate (1992); Jack Klunder of Hopkins, a 1974 Hope
graduate (1997); the late Herman Laug of Coopersville, a
1929 Hope graduate (1990); George Moger of Fort Gratiot, a
1978 Hope graduate (1991); and Ross Nykamp of Fennville, a
1980 Hope graduate (1993).