Kurt D. Dykstra - Biography
President Kurt Dykstra has long lived out a calling to public service. Before beginning his role as the College’s president in July 2015, Dykstra served as mayor of the City of Holland, Michigan, and as the senior vice president and community president of Mercantile Bank of Michigan. Melding his experience as an attorney since 1997 with his passion for higher education, Dykstra shared his expansive knowledge and expertise as a part-time member of the faculty at Hope College for more than a decade, teaching upper-level courses in the Department of Economics and Business and the Department of Political Science. In addition, he has mentored and offered career guidance to students. He has also served on the board of Northwestern College (Iowa), his alma mater.
His professional roles have given Dykstra myriad opportunities for interacting with diverse people, from top leaders in government and industry to everyday families. Dykstra also possesses a deep understanding of business realities and management acumen, as well as a successful history of fundraising based on building relationships, a hallmark of his career in law, politics, nonprofits, education, and business.
Dykstra grew up in Oostburg, Wisconsin, and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) at Northwestern College, and his Juris Doctor at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduating first in class (Summa Cum Laude). While at Marquette he also was elected the editor in chief of the Marquette Law Review. He is a former judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ann Walsh Bradley of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and practiced law for 15 years at two National Law Journal 250 firms.
Dykstra and his wife, Leah, have two daughters, Juliana and Emma-Elisabeth. Leah most recently served as the assistant director of admissions at Hope College. The family has been active in Pillar Church, a dual-affiliation congregation of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Leah has served as the vice president of the council at Pillar.
Read more about President Dykstra’s appointment and view the welcome reception video.