Academically Accomplished, Community-Focused

If you ask those in the Kuyper Honors Program (KHP) who might be considered the face of KHP, they’ll likely tell you “Eoghan Holdahl.”

“He is very friendly and high performing,” says KHP Co-Director Donald Roth, who teaches criminal justice and business administration at Dordt. “He’s a very talented student, and we’re thankful to have him as part of the program.”

Holdahl, a senior community development and agriculture double-major from Watertown, South Dakota, says that there are “a lot of faces of KHP, including the directors and the students, and due credit should be paid to all of them. Without all the great people in the program, I do not think KHP would be what it is. At larger universities, an honors program might be more of a list of requirements than a community. I’m glad that’s not the case at Dordt.”

The Kuyper Honors Program, which seeks to prepare Christian leaders while advancing the academic atmosphere at Dordt, introduced Holdahl to Kuyperian scholarship, the world of research, and many of his closest friends.

“KHP is one of my favorite parts of college. The friendships, the immense amount of reading, and the co-directors make KHP what it is to me,” he says. “There is something special about tackling 50 pages of dense philosophy late at night alongside friends, then trying to connect it with a myriad of majors.”

Holdahl’s intensive scholarly work with KHP helped secure the Lambertus Verberg Prize, a one-year $15,000 scholarship he received his junior year for an essay titled “The Earth as an Altar: Understanding Humanity’s Place and Duty in Creation through Neo-Calvinism.” Holdahl says he usually worked two or three jobs at a time to keep up with tuition payments, but earning that scholarship helped him “regain some balance,” he says.

“I was knocked off-guard when Prof. Roth told me I had placed first,” he says. “It’s still one of the best days of my life. For months afterward, I would spontaneously remember what had happened, and I’d just stop and thank God.”

Holdahl is thankful for many of the experiences he has had at Dordt. There was the time when, during his freshman year, his R.A. created a hall event “to push my dead pickup truck three miles back to campus in the frigid November weather.” He is glad that he worked hard during his junior year to develop strong friendships and to focus on his academics.

“My favorite place on campus is probably the Academic Enrichment Center, which is where I’ve worked for the past two years,” he says. “It’s a great place to learn how to teach others as a tutor and a proofreader.”

What he appreciates most about his education at Dordt is the “incredible level of grace in the coursework.”

“The classes I took deepened my understanding of the world, made me love others more, and helped me to worship God with my entire life,” he says. “The Gospel, which percolated through my coursework, was always grounded in truth, peace, and justice. Dordt is inspired by the nature of Christ rather than the world or resentment of the world, and I could not be more grateful for that.”

After graduating, Holdahl plans to work in West Africa as a Global Programs intern with Samaritan’s Purse. As he wraps up his senior year, he has enjoyed taking time “to reflect on all the ways this place has shaped and grown me, and there is very little I regret.”

“Even the nights when I went to bed at 3 a.m. and woke up at 6 a.m. because of schoolwork had a purpose, and God has used it all in so many beautiful ways,” he says.