When Dr. Richard De Jong ’76 was in 7th grade, his family moved to Oak Lawn, Illinois, in order for his father Alexander to begin his new position as president of Trinity Christian College (1966-1968). Following the example of his brothers Alex ’68 and David ex ’72, Dick enrolled at Trinity in 1972 and majored in biology.
Patty (Jensema) De Jong ex ’75 met Dick in the spring of 1975 at Trinity, and they were married the following year. She completed her education at Robert Morris College, then worked as a medical assistant while Dick studied medicine at Loyola. Since 1982, he and his brother Dr. Alex De Jong have served the community through their medical practice De Jong Family Practice now located in Orland Park, Illinois.
Although Dick explained that he chose Trinity because of the family connection, he also realized the uniqueness of the Trinity experience.
“During my day, you could go to University of Illinois and be one of 100 pre-med students, or you could go to Trinity and be one of three,” he said. “The professors really took a stake in your future, and I always appreciated that.”
For this same reason, Dick and Patty encouraged their daughter Megan ’04 to attend Trinity when she was contemplating the same career path as her father. She, too, majored in biology, and is currently an OB/GYN resident at Loyola.
Since 1995, the De Jongs have been involved with the Luke Society, an organization that supports indigenous Christian health professionals dedicated to medical missions. The couple worked with partners in Kiev, Ukraine, until 2000. In 2001, the De Jongs began working with the organization in Halapa, Mexico, where they helped establish a clinic and ministry center that provides spiritual care, free healthcare, and community education.
The De Jongs have four children: Megan ’04; Tara (married to Kelly Requa) a middle school English and social studies teacher at West Seattle Montessori in Washington; Ricky ex ’04, a law student at Valparaiso University in Indiana; and Elizabeth, a communication and music major at DePaul University in Chicago.