A nationwide search for a new chief academic officer at Hope College has led to a choice close to home: Dr. James Boelkins has been named provost effective July 1.

The appointment was made by the college's Board of Trustees on Thursday, Jan. 24. He succeeds Dr. Jacob Nyenhuis, who retired as provost on June 30, 2001.

Boelkins is a 1966 Hope graduate who is currently vice provost of Grand Valley State University's Pew Campus in Grand Rapids. His career has been spent in higher education, including more than 16 years in senior positions in academic administration.

"I'm very excited about this appointment," said Dr. James E. Bultman, president of Hope College. "Jim Boelkins brings a wealth of experience at both private and public institutions. His commitment to the faith is compatible with Hope's mission, and his leadership and vision for excellence in the academic program have been evident everywhere he's been."

"Our search committee believes that he will very ably fulfill the Trustees' goal for Hope to be a leading Christian liberal arts institution," Bultman said. Boelkins noted that he has high regard for Hope not only as his undergraduate alma mater, but also for the excellence he has seen demonstrated in the years since his student days.

"Hope College has established itself as one of the best liberal arts institutions in the nation as demonstrated by quality programs, extensive scholarship, and outstanding faculty and students," he said. "I am both honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve the Hope community and to help implement Hope's mission and vision."

Boelkins has been with Grand Valley since July of 2000. He was previously with Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., for 15 years, first as vice president for academic affairs and then, starting in 1992, as provost.

From 1972 to 1975, and from 1977 to 1985, he was a member of the faculty of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Grand Forks, 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.

From 1975 to 1977, Boelkins was a member of the pharmacology faculty at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at The Pennsylvania State University during 1971-72.

He was an elected member of several national scientific organizations and published research during his tenure in the medical schools.

He majored in biology at Hope. 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 and his wife, Barbara, who also attended Hope, have three children.