Higher Education, Human Resources, and Lakeshore

College appoints interim president

June 1, 2017
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Dennis Voskuil
Dennis Voskuil. Courtesy Hope College

A college in the region has promoted the director of an on-campus institute to be its interim president.

The Board of Trustees at Hope College in Holland said today it selected Dennis Voskuil to fill the temporary post at the college for up to two years, effective July 1.

Voskuil has extensive leadership and teaching experience at Hope College and at neighboring Western Theological Seminary.

He replaces John Knapp, who served as the college’s president since 2013 and is leaving at the end of July to become president of Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Knapp expressed support for the appointment.

“Dennis has been a great friend to Hope College and the Holland community,” Knapp said. “With his guidance, the college will continue to thrive and build momentum in every area. In the coming weeks, we will work together to create a seamless leadership transition.”

The board’s leadership said they chose Voskuil for his experience and commitment to the college.

“Dennis’s love for Hope College is boundless,” said Karl Droppers, chair, Hope Board of Trustees. “A servant-leader at heart, Dennis has a history of leading with candor, collaboration and compassion. He is especially enthusiastic about Hope’s commitment to academic excellence, global engagement and ecumenical invitation into the Christian faith. Dennis will be a thoughtful and attentive steward of Hope College.”

Voskuil’s background

Voskuil earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966, his B.D. at Western Theological Seminary in 1969 and his doctorate at Harvard University in 1974.

He was a member of Hope’s religion faculty from 1977 to 1994 and has been director of the college’s A.C. Van Raalte Institute since 2015. He was president of Western Theological Seminary from 1994 to 2008 and continued to teach as the Marvin and Jerene DeWitt Professor of Church History until 2014, when he became a senior research fellow with the Van Raalte Institute.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to be appointed as the interim president of Hope College,” Voskuil said. “My affection for this community and my devotion to Hope’s unique mission have remained undaunted since I stepped onto the campus as an assistant professor in 1977.”

During his time on Hope’s faculty, Voskuil chaired the Department of Religion for several years, served two terms as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, was on the president’s advisory committee, chaired the Athletic Committee and was a representative to the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association.

While he was president of Western Theological Seminary, the seminary adopted a new curriculum, launched a distance-learning master of divinity degree, restructured a continuing education program called Journey and initiated a Certificate in Urban Pastoral Ministries program.

Also during his tenure, the seminary built the DeWitt Theological Center, added student townhouses and the Friendship House and renovated existing facilities. Enrollment tripled from 59 to 177 master of divinity students and the endowment more than tripled, from $11 million to $43 million.

Before joining Hope as a faculty member, Voskuil served at churches in Watertown, Massachusetts and in Kalamazoo. While at Hope, he was interim senior pastor of Third Reformed Church in Holland for two years.


Founded in 1862, Hope College is a liberal arts school in downtown Holland with an enrollment of 3,300 students.

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