Honors Aplenty

Awards and recognition received by Hope faculty and staff across recent months (July – January) reflect the campus-wide breadth and strength of scholarship and professional involvement.

Dr. David S. Cunningham, as the director of the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education and professor of religion, edited the book At This Time and in This Place: Vocation and Higher Education, which earned recognition as one of three finalists for the 2017 Lilly Fellows Program Book Award sponsored by the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts. The award honors an original and imaginative work from any academic discipline that best exemplifies the central ideas and principles of the Lilly Fellows Program, including faith and learning in the Christian intellectual tradition, the vocation of teaching and scholarship, and the history, theory or practice of the university as the site of religious inquiry and culture.

Dr. Christopher Fashun, assistant professor of music and director of orchestras, has received a Postdoctoral Scholar Award in All Disciplines through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The award includes support to spend May-August 2019 in Salvador da Bahia in northeastern Brazil. Throughout his career as a music educator, he has valued the opportunity to teach Brazilian music and culture, and his classes at Hope include a world music course focused on Brazil and the Brazilian Drumming Ensemble. Through the intercultural exchange, he seeks to develop an even deeper understanding of Afro-Brazilian music, religion and culture, and how that knowledge will enrich the educational experiences of not only his students at the college but those beyond the Hope campus.

Nicole Flinn, associate professor of dance, received the Executive Director’s Award for Outstanding Advocacy from the National Dance Education Organization. She was honored for her leadership working with stakeholders around Michigan to garner support for the state to continue to require that K-12 teachers of dance be certified in the discipline. Michigan’s Department of Education announced last April that it was eliminating the requirement for dance and 11 other subject areas beginning this past summer. With the issue continuing, Flinn is leading a team to create recommendations and credentialing for future dance education throughout the state.

Dr. Greg Fraley, professor of biology, received the Midwest Poultry Consortium’s Pullet-zer Prize for outstanding teaching, selected by the 36 members of the 2017 graduating class of the consortium’s Center of Excellence Scholarship/Internship Program, based at the University of Wisconsin. He has been volunteering to teach the graduate-level avian physiology course since 2010. (While echoing the well-known journalism and literary awards, the playful “Pullet-zer” name reflects the consortium’s focus: a pullet is a young hen, typically less than a year old.)

Dr. Kristen Gray, associate dean for health and counseling and director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Hope, received the national President’s Award from the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. The award was presented, the citation notes, “in praise for many years of meritorious service and valuable contribution to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors.” Gray, who joined the Hope staff in 1987, has been active with the association as a presenter and program facilitator for several years.

Dr. Charles Huttar, professor emeritus of English, received the inaugural Margaret Patterson Hannay Service Award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. He was a founding member of the conference in 1956 and has been actively involved in the international organization ever since, including serving terms as secretary and president and (since 1994) as historian; serving on the board of directors and on various committees; organizing three regional conferences; and making presentations.

Dr. Jeffrey B. Johnson, associate professor of chemistry, was elected a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Johnson was chosen for engaging undergraduate researchers in advances in transition metal-catalyzed carbon-carbon single bond activation and its use in synthetic materials. A total of 396 AAAS members have been elected Fellows this year, and Johnson is one of only four from undergraduate colleges. Most are from institutions such as national or private research laboratories, scientific associations and comprehensive universities.

Tim Koberna, assistant professor of kinesiology and head athletic trainer, received Student Senate Preceptor of the Year award from the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association for his outstanding work with students. Nominated by his students at Hope, he was selected from among all of the athletic trainers who serve as mentors in a region including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The late Billy Mayer, professor of art, who died on Nov. 11, 2017, has been honored as a Past Master by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts. He was recognized during the council’s annual conference on March 14-17, and with an illustrated feature in the 2018 NCECA Journal published in conjunction with the conference. He will also be celebrated at Hope from May 29 to September 8 with an exhibition of his work at the Kruizenga Art Museum. The pieces will be available for purchase, with the proceeds supporting the student scholarship fund at Hope established in his name.

Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis, director of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute and provost emeritus and professor emeritus of classics, received a West Michigan Dutch-American Leadership Award during the West Michigan Dutch-American Heritage Day celebration on Nov. 14. Nyenhuis, who is also editor-in-chief of the institute’s Van Raalte Press, has been active as a scholar and ambassador of Dutch-American heritage for more than 20 years.

Pam Ourada ’87 Van Putten, coordinator of mentoring and internships for the Studies in Ministry minor, has been named among Western Great Lakes Young Life’s Women of the Year for 2018. Her abundant experience in many ministry settings in the area includes recently serving as director of discipleship for student ministries at Central Wesleyan Church, and with her husband, Mitch Van Putten ’85, having been actively involved in Young Life and in youth ministry at Christ Memorial Church.

Ray Smith, professor emeritus of kinesiology and former athletic director and football coach, was inducted into the 2017 Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame class as the recipient of the Warren Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith coached Hope football for a quarter of a century (1970-94). When he retired, he was the winningest football coach in the history of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and his 25-year tenure was the longest of any football coach in America’s oldest college athletic conference.

Dr. Gordon J. Van Wylen, president emeritus, received on-court recognition as the Toyota Hero of the Game during the University of Michigan’s home basketball game versus UCLA on Dec. 9. The program honors active-duty members and veterans of the U.S. military. Van Wylen, Hope’s president from 1972 until retiring in 1987, was in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving as a lieutenant aboard the submarine USS Hardhead in the Pacific Theater. Prior to coming to Hope he had been dean of engineering at U of M, where he had also earned his B.S.E. in 1942 and M.S. in 1947. More than 20 members of his family — children through great-grandchildren — attended the recognition event. In addition, as shown, Hope marked his 98th birthday (Feb. 6) during the home men’s basketball game on February 7.

Dr. Roger Veldman ’89, professor of engineering and department chair, received a 2017 Alumni Excellence Academy Award from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Western Michigan University. Veldman, who holds his master’s and doctoral degrees from the university, has been on the Hope faculty since 1998. He teaches a variety of courses in the department, including the engineering-design capstone sequence. His research focuses on theoretical and experimental analysis of explosive impacts on structures.