Dordt College News

Elementary education scholarships established

March 5, 2009

Dr. Douglas Ribbens and Henrietta (Miedema) Ribbens concluded careers at Dordt College in 1992, but their support for the mission of Dordt College and Christian education continues.

The Sioux Center couple has established a $100,000 scholarship fund to assist elementary education majors at Dordt College in financing their education. For the next five years, six Dordt College elementary education majors will be presented with Ribbens Scholarship Awards. Three juniors and three seniors will be selected to receive a total of $20,000 annually in scholarship funding, awarded primarily on need-based criteria. Juniors receiving Ribbens Scholarships will be eligible to apply for a second year of scholarship funding.

“Dr. and Mrs. Ribbens have had a long association with Dordt College, and it’s encouraging to see that they continue to believe in and support our mission,” said Dave Vander Werf, Dordt College’s Director of Planned Giving. “They are setting a great example in offering support to future classroom teachers and in helping them receive a quality Christian education.”

Dr. Douglas Ribbens was Dordt College’s first professor of education, teaching the first class when the college opened its doors in 1955. He served Dordt College for 37 years as a professor, registrar, academic dean, director of the library, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Henrietta (Miedema) was Dordt’s first secretary, and served for 34 years in various roles, culminating in her position as assistant registrar.

Dr. Ribbens said, “My background has been in elementary education: I served as an elementary school principal before I came to Dordt; my master’s degree and doctorate were both in elementary education; and in the earlier years at Dordt College I taught elementary education courses.” He added, “Over the years, Henrietta has dealt with hundreds of elementary education students in her position in my office—especially with teacher placement and teacher certification. Thus, it seemed to us to be the natural thing for us to provide the scholarships in that field.”

Dordt was founded as a teachers college in 1955, and  the education program (elementary and secondary) has the largest student enrollment, with a wide variety of fields of specialization, minors, majors, and special programs offered. To learn more call 1-800-343-6738 (option 1 – admissions) or visit

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