Dean and Ruth Koldenhoven, honorary alumni of the year
Dean and Ruth Koldenhoven’s connection to Trinity began with Ruth’s uncle Dr. George DeJong, who was one of the original board members, while Dean walked door to door in the neighborhood collecting donations to start the College. Dean recalls one neighbor who retrieved a Koops Mustard jar from her cupboard that contained $8.76 that she had saved for Trinity from her social security checks.
Since those early days, Dean, who was the mayor of Palos Heights from 1997-2001 and worked in the bricklaying industry for 42 years, has maintained close ties with Trinity. Besides gifts to the College, the Koldenhovens attend events on campus, and Dean has spoken to students in communication arts, psychology, and sociology classes.
Dean is a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and received a special recognition award from the Arab American League. He will be presenting “Religious Tolerance: The Mosque Controversy” on October 31 at 7 p.m. in the Ozinga Chapel as part of Trinity’s annual WorldView series.
Ruth worked as a job coach at Elim Christian Services for 15 years and has worked at their church library and with a church program for mentally disabled students. The Koldenhovens have been members of Palos Christian Reformed Church for 39 years.
Dean appreciates Trinity’s various levels of involvement with Palos Heights. “Trinity has done a great job of witnessing to the community,” he said.
From President Steve Timmermans, Ph.D.
“Dean and Ruth have been long-time friends of the College. Ruth’s work at Elim was a natural bridge to Trinity and our special education program. Dean’s association with the College has been multifaceted. One of the best memories I have of Dean is the time he was part of a Campus Compact grant award whereby Trinity students worked in partnership with the city of Robbins, Illinois, seeking to strengthen its infrastructure. Dean’s awareness of the political structures and his passion for helping people proved to be indispensible to the project.”