The alumni H-Club at Hope College will present its "Hope for Humanity Award" to Dr. Vern Boersma, a member of the Class of 1944 who practiced medicine in Holland for more than three decades, on Saturday, Oct. 9.
The award, first presented in 1990, recognizes Hope athletic alumni for consistent service to others and demonstrating the values of Christian commitment and service. 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 honor Boersma during its annual Homecoming luncheon, which will be held in the Haworth Inn and Conference Center.
Boersma grew up in Holland and graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1940. He attended Calvin College for a year before transferring to Hope, and had the unique experience of participating in intercollegiate athletics at both of the rival schools. As a student at Hope, he played varsity basketball, including as a member of the 1942-43 MIAA championship squad dubbed the "Blitz Kids." His activities at Hope also included the Fraternal Society and the biology club.
He was in the U.S. Navy during World War II, concluding his service with the rank of lieutenant.
Boersma's undergraduate studies emphasized science as preparation for medical school. He completed his M.D. at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1947 and his residency in pediatrics at the university in 1950.
Following his medical training, he practiced in Holland until retiring in 1987. In addition to conducting his practice, he donated medical services to numerous community organizations. His service included organizing the Ottawa County Migrant Health Clinic, of which he was medical director for 25 years.
Boersma's local involvement has also included serving as a member of the boards of the Community Foundation, Resthaven, the Good Samaritan Center and Community Action House. He is a member of Hope Church, where he served on consistory multiple times, and for six years was on the General Program Council of the Reformed Church in America. He is also a member of the Holland Rotary Club.
He has remained active in the life of the college in numerous ways. He was instrumental in establishing the Health Clinic at Hope, and provided medical services to Hope students for 20 years in addition to serving as the college's athletic team physician from 1983 to 1987. He was a founding member of the college's Second Century Club in the 1960s and of the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP) in the 1980s.
The college presented Boersma with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1975, and he and the other members of the "Blitz Kids" were honored for their league championship during an H-Club luncheon in October of 1983. He has also received recognition from a variety of other organizations, including a Navajo Indian Council Certificate in 1980; a Holland Child Development Award in 1984; a MARCHA (Migrant and Rural Community Health Authority) Award in 1987; a Distinguished Service Award from the Holland Rotary Club in 1989; and an El Camino Award from Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) in 2002.
His wife, the former Lois Hinkamp, is also a member of the Class of 1944. They have three children: Tim, who graduated from Hope in 1973; Robert and Mary.