The Voice: Winter 2002

The Voice

Our alums make a difference in today's world

It happened again recently. This time the request came from a granting agency from which Dordt was seeking support. It said, “Briefly describe the accomplishments of your alumni.”

“How do I begin to tell the accomplishments of 12,000 alumni in this two-inch space?” I wondered. My answer could determine whether or not we were awarded the grant. It was obvious that a representative sampling of alumni accomplishments would have to suffice_and was probably what was being asked for. Having determined that, I was still at a loss as to how to choose which alumni and their accomplishments best represented Dordt's alumni body.

I could mention some of our education graduates who've been honored as teachers or principals of the year. But what about all the others who may be just as competent and committed, but who haven't been recognized beyond their classroom?

I could refer to the handful of clergy whose accomplishments have gained national prominence for them. But are the accomplishments of our graduates in the pastorate who quietly and faithfully minister to their congregations any less noteworthy?    Are the achievements of someone who builds a successful business or occupies a strategic leadership position in a large multi-national corporation more significant than the accountant or assistant whose reliable work is critical to the business's success? Or what of the graduate who brings his business expertise to the non-profit agency that serves people in need? Aren't those accomplishments worth noting?

Perhaps the alumni who are making an impact in their profession as physicians, surgeons, optometrists, dentists, ought to make the list. But what of those professional social workers whose efforts among the neediest of needy often go unnoticed? Or the graduate who takes a break from a career, or sets it aside entirely to give full attention to family? Which of these accomplishments ought to be described to the granting agency?

In the end, space permitted me to submit only a short list of alumni accomplishments. I wish I could have listed more, but I was encouraged and grateful that it represented in a small way some of the ways that Dordt alumni are making a difference in the world.