September 2012‎ > ‎

1 - New President

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Wolthuis and Ms. Dawn Wolthuis have been appointed to the position of President of the Institute for Christian Studies. They succeed Mr. Chris Gort on Jan. 1, 2013. “We went into this search process in a posture of faith and discernment, not really knowing what would happen,” said Bob Sweetman, a faculty representative on the search committee. “What happened is rather remarkable. Tom Wolthuis brings to ICS a grounding in the Kuyperian theological and worldview tradition, an entrepreneurial can-do ethic to be seen in a past life as a church planter, an easy manner with people that allows him to communicate effectively across a broad religious and intellectual spectrum, and last but not least – a wide open embrace of the adventure laid before him. Dawn brings an energetic, forthright and systematic mind and imagination, a history of business and marketing experience (and enthusiasm) now focused on using her academic training in mathematics and computer science in service of academic institution building.

“Together, they combine a range of abilities one couldn’t reasonably expect to find in a single applicant. The chance to have all that talent and energy in ICS’s corner just had to be an answer to our prayers.”

As professor of theology at Dordt College, Iowa, for the past 10 years, Tom served as department chair and taught a range of courses from biblical foundations and Christian perspectives to worship, youth ministry and spiritual formation. He previously taught New Testament theology at Northrise University in Ndola, Zambia, and religion and theology, as well as communications arts and sciences, at Calvin College, Mich. Tom is also an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. He has a PhD in religion from Duke University, a master of theology and a master of divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary. Dawn is an experienced information technology and higher education consultant with more than 20 years experience. She has a master’s degree in mathematics from Michigan State University and taught mathematics and computer science at Calvin College. She’s currently President of Tincat Group, a consulting company.

The appointment of the Wolthuises comes as ICS actively explores new institutional collaborations in research and teaching with academic partners in North America and Europe. “Tom and Dawn’s vision and experience in promoting Christian higher education, and their excitement about active involvement in the Canadian context will be clear assets as they contribute to the strengthening of institutional partnerships, support the ICS’s teaching and mentoring of students in interdisciplinary philosophy and theology and engage in public outreach,” said Henriette Thompson, Chair for ICS’ Board of Trustees.

Tom describes his goal as “helping people and organizations grow in the Gospel and ministry in the world by inspiring them to envision possibilities and develop new ways to serve.” Dawn has “a passion for identifying patterns that help anticipate future trends…and to help organizations direct their partnerships and projects toward the future.”

ICS’s appointment of Tom and Dawn as President is the result of an extensive search process that began in August last year and was conducted by a search committee of eight. “Committee members had the privilege of talking about the ICS and its educational mission with several people who were interested in the position,” said Aileen Van Ginkel, search committee chair. “Our conversations with them about a strong and vital role for ICS into the future encouraged us to believe in the importance of that mission and the community that supports it.”

The Wolthuises begin their orientation for the presidential role on Oct. 1 with Chris Gort. In the fall, they will begin to meet faculty, students, staff, senate and board members, supporters and academic partners in Canada in preparation to assume the presidency in the New Year. Tom and Dawn have two grown daughters and two grandchildren residing in the U.S.