Dordt College News

Faber, Rylaarsdam, Wissink retire at Dordt College

August 18, 2004

Three long-term Dordt College employees will be retiring from their campus positions at the beginning of the academic year. Cornie Rylaarsdam, Jo Faber, and Sherm Wissink represent a combined 66 years of service to Dordt College. Jo Faber

Rylaarsdam has not only worked at Dordt College for 32 years, he was also an alumnus with the second graduating class, the class of 1958. Over the years his job description has evolved from “controller” to “assistant to the vice-president for business affairs” to his current title: director of purchasing and bookstore manager. Throughout the past three decades he has overseen purchasing, inventory and accounts payable at the college; supervised the National Direct Student Loan Program; and done everything from fixing typewriters to supervising the print shop.

Jo Faber has also served Dordt College in a trio of capacities during 24 years employment at the institution. She was a circulation desk clerk in the college library before a stint as music department secretary, followed by 14 years as the placement coordinator.

Sherm Wissink has been the print shop assistant for a decade, and following his “retirement” August 20 has begun working part-time for Carrie Foods.

Each of the three said interacting with staff and students will be what they miss most in the upcoming academic year, though Faber will be return to campus to teach a seminar for first year students. Cornie Rylaarsdam

“I have really enjoyed working with the students,” said Faber reflecting on the 24 years she spent at the college. “Each student has gifts, and my job was to help them find a place to use them. It was always exciting when graduates saw that what they learned here translates into being valuable in the world.”

During her years as placement coordinator, the job placement rate for graduating students escalated to the current 97-99 percent of all Dordt graduates finding jobs or being accepted into graduate school within six months of graduation.

Faber also assisted about 150 alumni per year, helping them network with business friends of Dordt who post job openings to locate quality Christian employees. No stranger to the classroom, she also made 25 class presentations per year, teaching students the important skills of job searching, writing resumes, and job market training.

Jo’s husband, George, was on the faculty at Dordt College before retiring three years ago. The couple plans to spend some of their retirement time doing mission work in Mississippi. They have three children (all Dordt alumni) and seven grandchildren: son Rick teaches math at Dordt College; Rob is an attorney at Sunnyside, WA; and daughter Jodeen Bolkema is a nurse in Sioux Falls.

Cornie Rylaarsdam also has strong family ties with Dordt College: he met his wife, Dolores (Van Otterloo) at Dordt, though they didn’t begin dating until both started teaching at Pella Christian High School. In the ensuing years, all four of their children have graduated from Dordt: Tim, Sioux Center, is employed at Gateway; David, Grand Rapids, MI, taught at Dordt for two years before taking a position at Calvin Seminary; Doug, Chicago, IL, is an electrical engineer; and daughter Faith Reitveld, Bellflower, CA, is an at home mom who plays/teaches piano, violin and organ.

The Rylaarsdams have eight grandchildren, whom they look forward to seeing more of during retirement. Cornie also hopes to have time to catch up with projects at home and do some volunteer work.

Rylaarsdam was in charge of purchasing and inventory during a time of rapid expansion on campus. He recalls frugality was a necessity because of limited resources, so he had to make every dollar count. Sherm Wissink

For Sherm Wissink, retirement from one job is merely the pathway to another. After 10 years running the campus printing presses, Wissink has moved across campus to the commons, where he’ll help out part-time during the school year at Carrie Foods.

Wissink was a printer with the Sioux Center Shopping News for more than 28 years before coming to the Dordt campus in 1994. Sherm said he enjoyed the atmosphere of the college community, but is looking forward to more free time for camping, vacations and volunteering. He and his wife, Goldene, have two daughters, Dawn (Steggerda), Orange City, and Beth (Disselkoen), Cedar Rapids. Dawn is a teacher’s aide, while her husband, Greg, is a Dordt grad who is now plant manager at Vogel Paint. Beth is a mom and volunteer, while her husband Brent is an engineer with Rockwell. The Wissinks have four grandchildren, one of whom is a theater major currently attending Dordt (Amber Huisenga).

With Wissink’s departure, the print shop at Dordt College is undergoing significant changes, with printwork being outsourced or output on digital copy machines.

The campus community conducted farewell events to thank each of the retirees for their contributions to the college during their years of service.

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