So much has changed at Trinity since Dr. Derk Bergsma '77 graduated that he had to step back and admire the campus he used to call home.
"There is a dramatic improvement in the aesthetics," he marveled. "The campus is quite beautiful to behold."
Bergsma returned to the College as the guest of honor for the Alumnus of the Year reception September 26. Now vice president of expression genomics at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals in Pennsylvania, he studies genetic behavior to help find cures for terminal diseases that kill millions of people worldwide.
Classmate, close friend, and Trinity biology professor Dr. Bob Boomsma '77 set up a morning lecture for Bergsma to discuss his work with science faculty and students. He described the impact that genomics, which is the study of the composition and function of genes, is having in scientific research.
"Genomics is good for science because it expands the field; we can learn what is known and discover what is unknown," Bergsma said. "The pharmaceuticals industry has really embraced genomics, and it is creating a greater need for traditional scientists, like biologist and chemists. This is an exciting time for Christians who are contemplating a career in medical research."
During the evening reception, which was held in the Fireside Chapel, Dennis Harms '89, director of alumni and donor relations, presented Bergsma a rocking chair on behalf of the College. It was a culmination of a memorable visit in which he observed great growth and recognized a familiar foundation.
"I saw the substantial change the campus has undergone over the years," Bergsma said. "I also noticed something more important that has not changed nor should change. That is Trinity's focus on the Lordship of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and secondly, the maintenance of an environment of Christian community."