Kate (Van Weelden, '18) De Vries explains how Dordt's education impacted her
Dordt has had a profound impact on Kate (Van Weelden, ’18) De Vries as a wife, a friend, and a church member.
“Because of my time in Dordt’s education program, I am a more effective Christian educator at Des Moines Christian School,” she says. “I have a passion for Christ-centered teaching, and I’m more prepared to answer questions like, ‘What do fractions have to do with my faith?’”
She and her husband, Derek, stay connected with Dordt by regularly attending alumni events in the Des Moines area.
“We wanted to stay connected to Dordt and its mission because it connects with our life mission—living our lives to the glory of God,” she says. “I am so thankful we found other Dordt graduates in our local area and been able to form connections that are so valuable to our lives today.”
“Dordt alumni continue to share that they are grateful for their Dordt experience and are amazed at how Dordt has grown yet remained the same in many ways,” says Alicia (Groen, ’05) Bowar, director of alumni and parent relations.
Every year, the Alumni and Parent Relations Office conducts an alumni survey. This year, one data point that stands out to Bowar is that 93.4 percent of alumni who responded to the survey say they attend church on a weekly basis. To Bowar, this fact shows that Dordt is a place where many students strengthen their faith and dedicate themselves to growing their faith after leaving Dordt.
“Dordt desires to develop effective kingdom citizens to lead in lives of service to God and neighbor, and this data point helps us better understand if we’re fulfilling that calling,” says Bowar
Tony Louters (’96) has a daughter, Alexis (’21) who just started graduate school at Florida Atlantic University. His son, Bryce, is a Dordt senior studying agribusiness. As Louters considers his Dordt education and his children’s experiences, his prayer is that Dordt continues to stay true to its Reformed, biblically based Christian education.
“I see many Christian institutions losing their way, and that’s my biggest fear. It’s important that Dordt stays true to our mission and that we have strong, Christ-centered education and stay biblically sound,” he says.
He is grateful for strong friendships he formed at Dordt, too.
“Even if my roommates, friends, and I didn’t stay in close contact, when we do get back together—even if I haven’t seen them in 25 years, it’s just like we left off when we were in college,” he says.
That’s also true for Bruce Groenendyk (’81). Every three years, Groenendyk, his wife Lisa (Vander Wal, ’80), and 13 other Dordt couples reunite. It’s a tradition that started in 1988 and has taken them all over the country, from California to Michigan. This year, they got together for the 12th time at a lodge in Tennessee. Couples take turns planning each reunion; when they gather, they reminisce, share blessings, and provide encouragement.
“The friendships that we formed as students at Dordt are strong and mean so much to us,” he says. “When we get together after three years, it feels like we get right back into the conversation.”
“We were at Dordt because of the Lord’s leading,” adds Groenendyk, “and we stay connected with Dordt as alumni because we want our university to be successful and train our youth for years and decades to come.”