Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

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

Posted Jun. 25, 2016 at 3:01 PM Holland, Mich.

Name of book: "Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope"
Author: Doug Neckers
Where does the author live? Perrysburg, Ohio
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.
Book genre: Historical; non-fiction
Publisher: BioSolar Publishing, Toledo, Ohio.
Where can it be purchased? Hope College Bookstore; Reader's World; and the Haworth Center. You can also purchase online at
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.
Why did you write the book? "Hope was in my blood. My parents met and married here; my uncle and aunt met and married here; my grandfather went here; my brothers are alumni as are the majority of their children; my wife went here, and I went here, too. I wrote this book on Cal VanderWerf’s Hope College because he, to me, embodied the academic values of teaching, research and service to one’s fellow man that I believe the great liberal arts college deans in the sky would see a college to be. Cal wasn’t hung up on titles, procedures or protocol. His beliefs were in service, excellence, achievement, and balance. Young students from Holland, Michigan know how to work hard; what the VanderWerf administration provided them with were the tools they needed to compete with the best in the world. I wrote 'Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope' to honor that legacy."
Any other thoughts? This book has something for everyone: There's plenty of local history, on Holland and Hope College, during this formational period, and a real opportunity to view leadership in action on a smaller level. Cal VanderWerf made the difficult decisions about how a small liberal-arts college could compete with growing state universities and provided an identity that informs the Hope College of today.