In Memory of Former President Rev. Dr. Gerard Van Groningen
Trinity Christian College celebrates the life of Rev. Gerard Van Groningen as it also mourns the passing of its friend and former president. The College extends its sympathies to his family and to his son, Dr. Willis Van Groningen, Trinity’s chaplain and dean of spiritual formation. Van Groningen was 93.
“Dad was a large and powerful figure to many people. His legacy spans the globe,” wrote Chaplain Van Groningen to Trinity faculty and staff. “Mom celebrated her 90th birthday two weeks ago, which provided an occasion for all eight children, and the grandchildren and great grandchildren, to celebrate life together, even as we began to say farewell to Dad.”
Van Groningen served as Trinity’s president from 1980-84. During his presidency, Van Groningen used his experiences at Reformed institutions of higher learning nationally and internationally to articulate a distinctly Reformed worldview. Under his leadership, the business administration and computer science programs were strengthened and the Metropolitan Studies program (known today as Chicago Semester) experienced growth.
Prior to that, Van Groningen served for 14 years as a missionary to Australia, earning his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne. He served 11 years as a professor of Old Testament and homiletics at the Reformed Theological College in Geelong, Victoria, and also held positions at Dordt College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary. He loved to teach and students regularly sought his counsel long after graduation.
On two separate occasions, Van Groningen served as a seminary planter in Brazil and Latvia. He is the author of several books, including The Covenant Family and the three-volume From Creation to Consummation.
He is survived by his wife Harriet; their eight children Betty (Herman) Westendorp, Rev. Jerry (Sherri), Jay (Laura), John (Patti), Rev. Dr. Willis “Bill” (Connie), Beverly (Bob) Jonkman, Dave (Dawn), and Dr. Chuck (Laura); and 34 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren.
Visitation and a memorial service were held at Colonial Funeral Home in Orland Park.
Memorials to Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL for the Gerard and Harriet Van Groningen Presidential Scholarship Fund.