The alumni H-Club at Hope College will
present its "Hope for Humanity Award" to Dr. Dick H. Nieusma
Jr. of Kentwood on Saturday, Sept. 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 consists of Hope alumni who were athletic letter
winners and other honorary letter winners as approved by the
H-Club's Board of Directors. The group will recognize
Nieusma during its annual Homecoming luncheon, which will be
held in the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.
Nieusma, who graduated from Hope in 1952, is
retired from a career as a dentist that included spending
more than two decades of missionary work in South Korea. He
subsequently taught in dental schools in the United States,
and continues to include charity dental work among his other
Nieusma completed his DDS degree at the University
of Michigan in 1956. He subsequently served as a dentist
with the U.S. Army in Tokyo, Japan, for three years.
Following his military service, he and his wife
Ruth, who he had met at Hope, became missionaries with the
Southern Presbyterian Church. From 1963 to 1984, he
directed a large prosthodontics residency program in the
Dental Department of Kwangju Christian Hospital, a 500-bed
general hospital in southwestern Korea. While in Korea, he
also helped found a dental hygiene department at a local
junior college, and served as a visiting lecturer at Chosun
University and Chonnam University for 10 years.
Interested in the Korean language, he published
study materials including both a verb wheel and a
dictionary. His interest in language and professional
training blended when, in cooperation with U.S. Peace Corps
speech therapists, he also helped establish the first speech
therapy program in Korea.
In 1982, he and former students founded Korea
Dental Mission for Christ, which today supports about 20
career Korean dental missionaries overseas. While in Korea,
he also led a Sunday school for 20 years at Kwangju Boys
He returned to the United States in 1984, and
taught at Oral Roberts University, the University of Detroit
and the University of Nebraska. In 1986, while at Oral
Roberts University he was named the faculty member of the
Nieusma served on the American Dental
Association's Committee for Volunteerism Overseas while he
was at the University of Nebraska. In 1993, the association
presented him with a certificate of recognition for
meritorious service to the people of Korea.
He retired from teaching in 1994, but has remained
an active professional. In 1994 he designed a dental bus
for North Korea on behalf of the Billy Graham organization,
and traveled to North Korea in 1995 and 1999 on behalf of
the project. In 1998, he served on short-term dental
mission trips to Guatemala and Nicaragua.
Nieusma currently serves as a volunteer at
International Aid Inc. in Spring Lake, working with dental
supplies. He also performs charity dental treatment for
families of Korean graduate students at Calvin Seminary in
Grand Rapids, and continues his hobby of teaching Korean to
Americans. In August of 1999, he spoke in Seoul at the
Fifth Conference of Medical Missions at the Yoido Full
He is an active member of Fifth Reformed Church,
where he is a former elder. He is a member of the ADA, the
Christian Dental Society, the Christian Medical and Dental
Society, and the Gideons.
His wife Ruth is also a 1952 Hope graduate. They
have two children, Paul and Mary, both adopted in Korea, and