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Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope by Doug Neckers

Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope, a biography of Doug Neckers' mentor, Cal VanderWerf, is available now! 

Calvin VanderWerf was the most transformative president in the history of Hope College, a small liberal-arts institution in Holland, Michigan. Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope is the biography of the man as he encountered a college at a crossroads during the turbulent 1960s, as Hope and other colleges dealt with war, race, generational conflicts, church influence, and political agitation, and helped Hope College reach its potential. Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope provides a comprehensive look at Hope College and its history, Calvin VanderWerf’s foundational training as a chemist and administrator, and the way VanderWerf’s hand guided Hope College into the future. 

This page will also contain some primary source documents, included in the manuscript's writing but available here!

 

Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope is available NOW! We are proud to share our book will also be available for purchase at the Hope College Bookstore, Reader's World in downtown Holland, and the Haworth Center!  

 

Why Cal VanderWerf?

Why write about Cal VanderWerf? Find out here! 

 

Talking About Cal VanderWerf at Hope College and Holland!

Photos from Doug Neckers' trip to Holland to talk about Cal VanderWerf in May!

 

Appendices and Archival Materials

Available with purchase of the book!

 

 

Press on Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope

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Review ofCal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope by Mike Doyle

Former Hope professor and current Distinguished University Chair in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Texas-San Antonio Mike Doyle recently reviewed Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope! From his review: 

"As a person who lived through the times described in this book, and from 1968 to 1984 at Hope College, I was delighted to read the history and interpretation of the era by Doug Neckers.  The central theme is the life and times of a highly influential, and often forgotten, chemical scientist, insightful administrator, and strong proponent of liberal arts colleges, Cal VanderWerf.   However, this is not a traditional biography. It presents background and history, mainly of post-WWII science, education, and academic experiences seen through the eyes of the author.  For those who were at Hope before and during the VanderWerf years, this book is a 'must read.'  This book will resonate with those who were engaged in science during the 1950s and 60s.  And there will be interest in this book for all Hope faculty, students, and administrators." (Read more

 

Review of Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope by Larry Ter Molen

Hope Alumni Larry Ter Molen recently reviewed Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope! From his review: 

"At last, a highly knowledgeable book on a critical historical period at Hope College has been written.  Furthermore. I do not know of any other person with the intelligence, insight and scientific knowledge who could have written such a profound book about Hope College and its eighth president, Cal VanderWerf. Douglas Neckers weaves a fascinating story, not only about VanderWerf and his leadership, but the critical and powerful role of the sciences, particularly chemistry, at a small liberal arts college in Michigan, Hope College, and the wider world." (Read more)

 

 

Hope College's Feature on Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope and Doug Neckers

A new book by former faculty member Dr. Douglas Neckers celebrates Hope’s eighth president, Dr. Calvin VanderWerf, for enabling the college not only to survive in the research-focused era of Sputnik, but to become the nationally recognized institution which continues to thrive today.

Dr. Douglas NeckersNeckers’s book “Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope” credits VanderWerf, who led the college from 1963 to 1970, with transforming Hope into an institution that provided an exceptional education for students of the space age and years since.  Published in June by BioSolar Publishing, the book explores how VanderWerf, who had a distinguished career in higher education as a chemist before becoming Hope’s eighth president, emphasized enhancing the college’s academic quality, particularly in the physical sciences.  It was a move, Neckers notes, that was absolutely essential as private colleges and state-supported universities began to compete ever more not only for students but also external funding for their programs—especially for research—resources that were and continue to be crucial. (Continue reading on Hope College's website)

Holland Sentinel's Article on Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope!

Name of book: "Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope"
About the author: Doug Neckers is a retired chemistry professor and founder of the Center for Photochemical Sciences at Bowling Green State University. He began his career at Hope College, and taught at Hope from 1964-71. He currently serves as C.E.O. of Spectra Group, a photochemical company in Millbury, Ohio, and is writing other books about innovators in higher education.
Synopsis of the book: Calvin VanderWerf was the most transformative president in the history of Hope College. "Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope" is the biography of the man as he encountered a college at a crossroads during the turbulent 1960s, as Hope and other colleges dealt with war, race, generational conflicts, church influence, and political agitation, and helped Hope College reach its potential. "Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope" provides comprehensive look at Hope College and its history, Calvin VanderWerf's foundational training as a chemist and administrator, and the way VanderWerf's hand guided Hope College into the future. (Read more)
Robert Donia's Review of Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope!

Talking About Cal VanderWerf at Hope College and Holland!

Doug Neckers returned to Hope College and Holland during Tulip Time to talk about Cal VanderWerf at two speaking engagements! 

The Hope Chemistry Department warmly welcomed, Dr. Neckers, a former student and faculty member, to the Science Building on Tuesday, May 10th. The engagement had to be moved to a larger room to accommodate the large crowd of VanderWerf's friends and students. President John Knapp was even in attendance!