Three Dordt students receive substantial scholarships through the Verberg Prize

Dordt University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lambertus Verberg Prize for Excellence in Kuyperian Scholarship, one of the largest scholarships made available to Dordt students.

Dordt University is pleased to announce the recipients of the Lambertus Verberg Prize for Excellence in Kuyperian Scholarship, one of the largest scholarships made available to Dordt students.

Eoghan Holdahl, a junior from Watertown, South Dakota who is studying agriculture: missions and community development, will receive a one-year $15,000 scholarship.

And, for the first time in the history of the Verberg Prize, two students were selected as runners-up and will each receive a one-year $10,000 scholarship, thanks to the generosity of the Barnabas Foundation and the estate gift of Rimmer and Ruth de Vries. The two runners-up are Audra Kooi, a sophomore from Bellflower, California who is studying psychology and health and human performance, and Jaelyn Dragt, a junior social work and community development major from Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Holdahl’s winning essay is titled “The Earth as an Altar Place: Understanding Humanity’s Place and Duty in Creation through Neo-Calvinism.” The essay examines ideas from theologian Abraham Kuyper’s Common Grace and weaves them together to provide a framework for how Christians can deal with environmental concerns, says Holdahl.

“Kuyper wrote extensively on subjects that modern Christian authors often ignore, and his writings on the ontology, purpose, and stewardship of the natural world have great depth,” he adds. “As creation care has been a passion of mine for most of my life, I appreciate what Kuyper had to say and how it could be applied to the lives of modern-day Christians.”

Kooi’s essay “Materialization of Science to Denying God: A Pipeline,” looks at the nature of the soul in terms of monism and dualism. “I used the way Abraham Kuyper looked at science and the changing world around him as a baseline to consider how much the Bible, traditional beliefs, and advancements in neuroscience should influence the Christian’s understanding of the soul,” she explains.

“A Christian Response to the Restrictions on Girls’ Education in Afghanistan under the Taliban Regime: How Kuyperian Insight Requires Theological and Embodied Engagement” is the title of Dragt’s essay.

“In writing this essay, I sought to understand and wrestle with the reality that millions of girls in Afghanistan have recently had the opportunity of education taken away from them, which is a grave humanitarian crisis that has increased the oppression women and girls are already facing under the Taliban regime,” she says. “I was heartbroken and angry for this injustice that disregards the dignity and rights of Afghan women. I felt a sense of responsibility in my own limited capacity to ‘do something,’ which led me to take the opportunity to write this essay as a way to learn and lament as I recognize the great privilege it is for myself to study.”

Donald Roth, co-director of the Kuyper Honors Program, is thankful for the opportunities that this donor-funded scholarship has created. “This award creates significant incentives for students to dig deeply into the tradition that animates Dordt, and we’re impressed and excited by the excellent work that has come from it,” he says.

Receiving the Verberg Prize allows Holdahl to enter his senior year with a “comfortable financial plan,” he says. “I have usually worked two or three jobs at a time to keep up with tuition payments and other bills, and being able to regain some balance through this prize is extraordinary,” he says. “I’m grateful for Rimmer De Vries’ funding of this scholarship and his passion for the Kuyperian tradition, which I hope to carry on in some way throughout my life.”

The Lambertus Verberg Prize for Excellence in Kuyperian Scholarship is funded by an estate gift from Rimmer and Ruth de Vries, in memory of Rimmer's great-grandfather, who settled in Sioux Center, Iowa, in the 1890s.

About Dordt University

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. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Education,, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

A picture of campus behind yellow prairie flowers