Lauren Hoekstra — Staff Writer
On March 19, Dordt released that Dr. Eric Forseth, provost since 2013, would be transitioning to serve as Head of Schools at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, MI.
Forseth said that he was originally drawn to Dordt from his previous place of employment at Nampa Christian Schools in Nampa, ID because of the high-quality Dordt graduates that came to work for the school.
“Their biblical worldview was so solid and it made such a difference [in the classroom],” he said.
He was immediately attracted to that solid and high-quality education that Dordt was providing. When Dr. Erik Hoekstra came to Nampa for a Dordt event and met with Forseth for coffee, Hoekstra urged Forseth to apply for the position of provost. Hoekstra was “very impressed” with Forseth and his commitment to Christ personally and to Christian education and thought he would be perfect for the job.
Although a lot of his work is behind the scenes, Forseth has been a part of many important developments on campus. Forseth commented that he was proud of all the new facilities that could be built during his time at Dordt: the Agricultural Stewardship Center (ASC), the completion of the Science Building, the new Nursing Building, the Sky Walk, and he is especially proud of the Kielstra Research and Scholarship Center, as it fulfills his deep desire of helping people reach their full potential.
Even though Forseth may be leaving, Hoekstra knows that his impact will be felt across the community for years to come.
“It continues to hit me level by level the impact that he’s had on our campus over the past years,” Hoekstra said. “I am more grateful for him today than [ever before]. My appreciation for what he has done has definitely deepened.”
Students as well can feel the impact of Forseth and his work, both on the grander scale and his work interpersonally with the campus community. Staci Seaman, a senior who has recently returned from a semester abroad in Uganda, admired his intentionality. She has seen him be incredibly open and personable during her work with Student Government.
Seaman mentioned her time serving with him on different committees. She knows that the interest of the students is on his mind in every meeting. If he were to feel that the voice of the students was not being heard, he would ask very specific questions about how the change that was being discussed would look from a student’s perspective.
Juliana Martinez, the current Student Body President, has seen some of the same things that Seaman has witnessed. Having first met Forseth during her visit to Dordt inher senior year of high school, he has consistently kept tabs on her throughout her time at Dordt. Whenever she would bump into him in the halls, he would ask how she was doing and how he could be helpful to her.
“Dordt will miss having him around,” she said.
For Hoekstra, these next few weeks will be full of online meetings with more than a dozen of people that Forseth was directly responsible for, asking them questions such as what went well during Forseth’s time as provost that should be replicated in the next leader, what changes should be made so that the next provost can thrive, and how can everyone help Forseth finish his time well at Dordt. Hoekstra is unsure of the future beyond the listening stage.
Hoekstra commented that he had grown very close to Forseth during his seven years here at Dordt. They had bonded over a love for pheasant hunting and bird dogs and had lots of fun going hunting and raising money for the Rooster Booster Scholarship.
Since Hoekstra travels a lot, he was encouraged by knowing that Forseth would take care of things while he was gone.
“There’s definitely a sense of loss and sadness, but ultimately if what we say is true and God calls us into places to serve, we can’t argue with that,” Hoekstra said.
Forseth’s favorite part of his job has been “absolutely the students,” he said. He and his wife, Kim, frequently opened their home for groups of Dordt students to come for Sunday dinners. He called it a “gift” that he was able to interact with so many students over the years.
As he moves on to a new job and new place, Forseth leaves Dordt with a blessing and encouragement to students.
“We serve a big God [with a] big Kingdom. God bless you, and grace be with you,” he said. “We try to talk so often about living transformationally. Don’t think about living transformationally when you graduate, think about it now. It starts today, not just at graduation.”