New year, new president, new goals for Dordt College

Dr. Erik Hoekstra just began his new role as President of Dordt College and is already busy meeting, greeting, and getting involved in the college.

One thing President Hoekstra does when he is on campus, that isn’t in the job description, is to eat in the Commons.  He wants to know the student body personally.

“I want to get to know students. There are 1,400 of you and I won’t always remember names, but I really do want to know students, their families, and their stories,” said Hoekstra.

Although Dordt has a multi-generational reputation, which Hoekstra appreciates and will continue to focus on, he wants to broaden Dordt’s base.

Hoekstra is constantly working on raising awareness of this college, especially for financial and prayer support.  There are many people from denominations other than the Christian Reformed tradition who haven’t heard of Dordt, so he’s working on sharing Dordt’s story with them.

“[Dordt is] such a great place so we’re going to tell more people about it; we are going to tell the story to more people,” said Hoekstra.

Hoekstra also wants to work on making Dordt even more distinctively Christian, instead of watering-down Dordt’s Christian perspective.

“We aren’t excellent for our own glory, but because God’s done a great thing through Christ, we need to live in thankfulness and do it awesome,” Hoekstra said.

Hoekstra believes the CORE program is the heart of Dordt, because “it’s a framework for living, life, and thinking that all fits together.”

Expanding the science building is a big project that is on Hoekstra’s mind.  Dordt is close to meeting its financial goal and the college hopes to break ground next summer.

Hoekstra believes that a college education from Dordt is invaluable, so he works hard every day to raise money for scholarships.  Vision 20/20 just ended, but another large campaign may take place in the future.

The daily tasks of a president include traveling to various states and schools, interviewing potential employees, and receiving reports from departments to make sure things are running smoothly.

Currently Hoekstra is traveling to hold “Meet the President” events in which he tells people what’s going on at Dordt and reminds them to support Dordt financially and prayerfully.  He’s visited Omaha, Ne.; Sheldon, Iowa; Mt. Vernon, Wash. and visited Denver, Colo. this week.

Presidential status wasn’t a goal of Hoekstra’s, but he was able to imagine it.  His father was president of Trinity Christian College when he was a child; and while he was in college his father-in-law was Trinity’s president.

“(Becoming president) wasn’t a goal to shoot for, but I have always been interested in leadership and where I can help out in organizations, so this seemed like where I could help out,” said Hoekstra.

Hoekstra’s family has been surrounded by Dordt for many years.  After moving to Sioux Center in 1997, Hoekstra worked at Dordt for three years, in town for nine years, and then at Dordt again as Provost of the college.

“Our lives have always been intertwined with Dordt ever since we moved here and we love it,” said Hoekstra.

Look forward to the inauguration of President Hoekstra, the fourth president of Dordt, on October 19.

Rachel Mulder, Staff Writer

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