Board meeting includes announcement of $2 million gift

Northwestern College’s spring Board of Trustees meeting, April 14–15, was highlighted by an announcement of a major gift to the college’s Imagine Campaign. President Greg Christy shared with trustees, faculty and staff that Jack and Mary DeWitt of Holland, Mich., have pledged an additional $2 million toward the new learning commons.

The gift brings the DeWitts’ total learning commons commitment to $3 million. Northwestern has now received gifts and pledges of $9.3 million toward the facility’s goal of $15 million.

The DeWitts revealed their additional gift to President Greg Christy while making a campus visit with a grandson and some of his high school friends. “Their incredible generosity stems from their passion for the Christ-centered education we offer,” says Christy. “Mary told me, ‘We can see in the eyes of students on campus that there’s something different about this place.’”

Christy says the gift affirms the work done several months ago to revise the plans and cost of the learning commons, which will include the library, classrooms, writing center, archives, a coffee shop and a community room with views of the campus green.

“This gift is the catalyst we’ve been praying for that puts us in place to work hard over the next 12 months to complete the project’s fundraising and look toward groundbreaking. We believe this can inspire others to follow the DeWitts’ lead in giving sacrificially to make this long-desired project a reality.”

With the DeWitts’ additional commitment, board members voted to move into the design/development phase of the learning commons project.

Trustees approved new board leadership. Dave Van Engelenhoven of Orange City, former vice chairman, was named chairman. He is joined by Marty Guthmiller of Orange City as vice chairman and the Rev. Roger Voskuil of Sioux Center as secretary. They replace Drew Vogel of Orange City, former chairman, and Doug Boone of Sioux Center, former secretary.

The board recognized the service of three retiring members: Bob Haveman of West Olive, Mich., who served 16 years; the Rev. Jon Opgenorth of Orange City, who served 12 years; and the Rev. Irving Rivera of Bronx, N.Y., who served 10 years.