Oct 21, 2020

Local Couple Recognizes College Influences on Family and Community

A Local Couple addresses the influences that college has on family and community.

Gregg and Shari Boone of Sioux Center, Iowa, recognized the impact that both Dordt University and Northwestern College have had on their family's lives. Three of their parents graduated from Northwestern, several of their children took classes at Dordt while in high school, and one daughter obtained her undergraduate degree from Dordt in 2011. They have also seen how the two institutions have made a difference in the local community.

“Having lived our entire lives in the Sioux Center/Orange City area, we readily recognize the advantages and rich culture Dordt University and Northwestern College offer to their surrounding communities,” says Shari Boone. “We've had family members attend both academic institutions and had reached a point in our lives where we wanted to give back.”

They decided to create a music scholarship for a student at each of the schools. Though the two institutions are often viewed as competitors, the music scholarship offered an opportunity for a unique partnership, supporting the common goal of supporting students as they pursue a Christian college education.

At Dordt, the scholarship is awarded to a sophomore or junior student in the Dordt University music program who has demonstrated leadership and respect for faculty and peers. As a violin/viola instructor and member of the Sioux City Symphony, Shari Boone wanted to encourage others to continue participating in music at the college level. Their daughter Kiley ('11) was able to participate in music while earning her undergraduate degree at Dordt, even though she did not major in music.

The recipient of the Dordt University scholarship is Jaclyn Vander Waal, an alto in Dordt’s Concert Choir and a junior secondary education major from Sioux Center, Iowa.

“Music has always been integrated into each aspect of my life,” says Vander Waal. “I grew up singing—at home, at church and everywhere in between, and I am thankful that Dordt University and families such as the Boones have blessed me with the opportunity to pursue this love of mine throughout college.”

Northwestern’s scholarship recipient is Ashley Van Ravenswaay, who plays tenor saxophone and participates in band and choir, and is a junior secondary education music major from Brookings, South Dakota.

Van Ravenswaay shares, “I would like to thank Gregg and Shari Boone for being willing to donate their hard-earned money to help me further my education through the Boone Music Scholarship. Music has been such an important part of my life ever since I was a child. I am enjoying my music ensembles this year and looking forward to what God has in store for me in the future.”

Both Dordt and Northwestern value partnerships with families like the Boones.

“Dordt and Northwestern have similar missions, and the Boones recognize that both institutions are vital to the cultural, spiritual, and economic prosperity we enjoy in Sioux County,” says Lyle Huisman, director of development at Dordt University.

Scholarships like these not only help with student financial aid, but can encourage students to participate in programs outside their major, recognizing the time and effort they put into co-curricular activities such as music.

“It recognizes the importance of music-making and the richness it brings to life, the opportunity to worship God and bring him glory through music, and the important role our colleges in Northwest Iowa have in promoting and supporting the arts,” says Corky Koerselman, Northwestern’s associate director of the alumni network. “It also rewards our students who pursue music at the college level. And anytime our institutions can work together, students and our communities benefit!”

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers