Inauguration of President Erik Hoekstra: The beginning of an “educational opus”

The sound of 50 trained voices resounded throughout a packed B.J. Haan auditorium, singing “Praise to the Lord” in acapella on Friday, October 19, just moments before President Erik Hoekstra was ushered in as Dordt’s fourth president.

Delegates from Christian colleges around the U.S. came out to witness and celebrate the president’s inauguration, as well as Sioux Center’s mayor and the entire Dordt College board of trustees.

Aanna Stadem, Dordt senior and graphic design major, gave a speech as the student body representative in order to welcome the new president. She spoke directly to President Hoekstra as she displayed the student body’s confidence in his ability to lead the college and uphold its Christian vision.

(quote from student about Aanna’s speech)

Dr. Hubert Krygsman, President of Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, and former Dordt College professor, spoke as the collegial community representative, while Sioux Center Mayor Dennis Walstra spoke for the local and state community.

Once President Hoekstra received the historic medallion and went through the ceremonial “Laying-On of Hands,” he was announced as Dordt’s fourth president and gave his inaugural address, which focused on transforming Dordt’s academic task into an academic “opus.”

“Opus is an effort to produce an abundance,” said Hoekstra. “It’s originally tied to agriculture and later it was expanded into artistic and other factions…A task means that we owe; an opus means that we do it with joy. A task means that it’s imposed; an opus means that we freely give it. A task has the sense of a minimum standard, but an opus has a sense of excellence as our marker.”

President Hoekstra began to choke up as he recited the question and answer to number one of the Heidelberg catechism, “what is your only comfort in life and in death,” leaving the audience with this thought on the role the Christian should take on as a response to this comfort: “Just as we’re starting to confuse our comfort with getting comfortable, the catechism makes a dramatic turn and finishes in this way: ‘because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.’”

President Hoekstra has had a history at Dordt beyond being named its new president. He has taught business courses at Dordt and served as the provost. Students are familiar with him and he makes it a point to become familiar with them.

I think Erik Hoekstra was a good choice for Dordt College,” said senior Victoria Johnston. “He is very personable and seems to care about the students, our education, and pursuing Christian education. I also think he shows his desire to do well by involving himself in campus life.”

The new president’s goals for himself and for Dordt College as a whole is to rest in the comfort of Christ while at the same time sitting on the edge of our seats, ready to do our work with confidence. “So for me, the idea of participating in Dordt’s educational opus gets my heart pounding and moves me forward to the edge of my seat,” said Hoekstra. “With God’s help, together, we can take up out educational task with joy and with comfort and transform it into an educational opus.”

Kelly Zatlin, Head Editor

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