Dr. James and Martie Bultman, former first couple of both Hope College and Northwestern College of Orange City, Iowa, will receive honorary degrees from Northwestern on Saturday, May 10.
They will each receive the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during Northwestern’s commencement ceremony in recognition of their lives of service to Christian higher education. In addition, Dr. James Bultman will be delivering the commencement address, “To Serve or Be Served: That Is the Question.”
The ceremony will be held in the DeWitt Physical Fitness Center of Northwestern’s Rowenhorst Student Center with 277 graduating seniors participating. A live webcast will be available at www.nwciowa.edu/commencement/live.
James Bultman was president of Hope from 1999 until retiring at the end of June 2013. He had previously served a 14-year term as president of Northwestern College beginning in 1985.
As noted in Northwestern’s announcement, “During his tenure at both institutions, enrollment and endowments grew and successful fundraising campaigns were held that raised money for new construction and building renovations. He and his wife, Martie, were recognized for their commitment to excellence and their passion for students. They knew students by name, attended their activities and sporting events, welcomed them into their home, and joined them for meals in the cafeteria.”
In addition to serving as a college president, Jim was an active leader in statewide and national educational concerns. He was chair of the board of directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and a member of the NAIA’s Executive Committee. He also chaired the Iowa College Foundation, the Iowa Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Commission on Campus Concerns for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He was a member of the Hope faculty prior to coming to Northwestern, joining education faculty in 1968, chairing the department of education from 1976 to 1982, serving as dean of the social sciences from 1982 until 1985, and also serving as head baseball coach at Hope from 1971 to 1985, and as an assistant football coach from 1970 to 1984. A 1963 Hope graduate, he earned a master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership from Western Michigan University. Both Hope and Western Michigan have honored him with Distinguished Alumni Awards.
Martie, also a 1963 Hope graduate, is a former special education and learning disabilities instructor. A passionate and skilled advocate for students with special needs, she co-authored the Friendship Series, a religious instruction curriculum for sharing God’s love with persons who have disabilities. She also served on the board of directors for Friendship Ministries, on the steering committee for disability concerns for the Reformed Church in America, and on the planning committee for Western Theological Seminary’s Friendship House.
The Bultmans have also both been awarded honorary doctorates by Hope. In addition, both Northwestern and Hope have named buildings in their honor: the Bultman Center for Health, Physical Education and Intercollegiate Athletics at Northwestern College, and the future Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center at Hope.