Distinguished alumni

Darlene Vander Aarde Distinguished Service to Humankind

A 1952 Northwestern junior college graduate, Darlene (De Beer) Vander Aarde is the recipient of the Distinguished Service to Humankind Award. She and her husband, Stan, a physician, served as missionaries in Andhra Pradesh, India, from 1961 to 1987. While her husband practiced medicine at a hospital in Madanapalle, Vander Aarde pursued her own ministries.

Trained as a teacher, she taught English and Bible classes for nursing students and supervised a community nursery school. She organized a feeding program for undernourished children that served as a model for programs throughout Andhra Pradesh. She also oversaw an industrial institute that taught individuals how to make and market hand-crafted items.

Eventually, Vander Aarde became administrator of the American Arcott Mission Elementary and Middle School and the C.S.I. (Church of South India) High School for girls. In that capacity, she developed a scholarship program that enabled 100 girls from outlying villages to board at the schools.

Now retired, Vander Aarde volunteers at Orange City’s Bibles for Missions thrift store and participates in a quilting group at her church. She and her husband contribute to a scholarship named for Stanley’s parents, Bernard and Christine Vander Aarde. The scholarship supports Northwestern students pursuing full-time Christian service, especially missions.

Award year: 2009