Video: President-elect Kurt D. Dykstra Introduced
Trinity Christian College is pleased to announce the appointment of Kurt D. Dykstra, J.D. to the position of president, effective July 1, 2015.
With a calling to public service, President-elect Dykstra brings years of leadership experience to the role of college president. He currently serves as mayor of the City of Holland, Michigan, and as the senior vice president and community president of Mercantile Bank of Michigan. In addition, he teaches law and political science-related courses at Hope College in Holland and has been an attorney since 1997.
“We are very pleased and excited that the Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Kurt Dykstra as the next president of Trinity Christian College,” said Marty Ozinga III, chair of Trinity’s Board of Trustees. “Into the role of president, he brings many talents, along with a commitment to the Lord and to Christian higher education and impressive professional experience as a lawyer, banker, Christian college instructor, and public servant. We thank God as we look forward to supporting Kurt as we begin a new chapter at Trinity.”
“Kurt Dykstra is a dynamic individual who has been a leader in every organization with which he has been affiliated,” said Terry Van Der Aa, chair of the presidential search committee. “He has a love for Christian higher education and will bring a new energy to Trinity Christian College.”
Dr. Liz Rudenga, former provost, has been serving faithfully in the role of interim president since June 1, 2014. She will continue her committed leadership of the College through June 30, 2015, the end of this academic year, a year in which Trinity has been blessed with excellent preliminary enrollment figures for Fall 2015. Rudenga was appointed as interim following the departure of former president Dr. Steve Timmermans, who had accepted a position as executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected as Trinity’s eighth president,” said Dykstra. “Leah and I know that God has guided Trinity throughout her history and trust God has great things planned for Trinity’s future. We both consider it a special privilege to join the Trinity family and are excited to begin the work before us.”
Dykstra said he looks forward to bringing his passion for Christian higher education to the role of president. For the past seven years, he has served on the board of Northwestern College (Iowa), his alma mater. In the college classroom setting, he has 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.
As Holland’s mayor since 2009, Dykstra has provided visionary leadership for this prosperous and successful lakefront city, known for its world-class industry, award-winning downtown, and Lake Michigan beaches. This role and that of an attorney have given Dykstra myriad opportunities for interacting with diverse people, from top leaders in government and industry to everyday families. Dykstra himself grew up in Oostburg, Wisconsin, and was the first in his family to graduate from college. Dykstra earned his Bachelor of Arts (Magna Cum Laude) at Northwestern College, in Orange City, Iowa, 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.
While Dykstra’s work as mayor has contributed to a profound understanding of financial health and a vibrant economy, his expertise in the financial arena stems primarily from his professional experience in the private sectors of law and banking. He brings with him a grasp 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.
“Kurt is an extraordinary leader and will serve Trinity Christian College with distinction,” said Dr. James Bultman, president emeritus of Hope College and former president of Northwestern College. “His appointment is a great loss for the city of Holland and Hope College, a tremendous gain for Trinity, and an exciting opportunity for an exceptional family. A bright future awaits the Trinity community.”
The Trinity community welcomes not only an exceptional leader, but his lovely family as well. Dykstra’s wife of 22 years, Leah, is the assistant director of admissions at Hope College. The couple has two teenage daughters, Juliana and Emma-Elisabeth. The family is active in Pillar Church, a dual-affiliation congregation of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Leah serves as the vice president of the council at Pillar.
“I have long admired and cared for the work that Trinity Christian College has been called to do, and hearing the announcement that you have chosen Kurt Dykstra as its next president feels like a marriage made in heaven,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Brown, president of Western Theological Seminary, in Holland. “Kurt Dykstra will be a great college president. Kurt and Leah Dykstra together will be a terrific gift to Trinity, the students, the faculty, and the staff.”
“Authenticity, integrity, and faithfulness to the Reformed tradition are words I would use to describe Kurt Dykstra,” said Rev. Dr. Matthew Floding, director of ministerial formation at Duke Divinity School, in Durham, North Carolina. “Kurt possesses a wonderful skill set that will make him an effective and consummate leader.”
About the selection process
In July 2014, the executive committee of Trinity’s Board of Trustees announced the formation of a presidential search committee, chaired by Terry Van Der Aa, former Trinity Board of Trustees chair. Rob Buikema, Board of Trustees vice chair, served as the committee’s vice chair and Board of Trustees liaison to the search committee. The Board also engaged Price Harding, partner at CarterBaldwin Executive Search. The committee was composed of representatives from Trinity’s diverse constituencies, including the college’s current and former Board of Trustees members, alumni, faculty, staff, administration, and student body.
“I thank all the members of the search committee for the hard work involving many hours of phone calls, meetings, and interviews, culminating in a unanimous recommendation to the Board,” said Ozinga.