The summer of 2015 brought hundreds of visitors to Dordt College. Within four weeks, the General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Synod of the Christian Reformed Church, Dordt Discovery Days, and a new faith-development camp program called “Never The Same” gathered on campus. Many commented that Dordt College is a wonderful campus in a wonderful town. Many first-time visitors to our campus offer such comments with a tinge of surprise. Preconceived notions about Iowa, rural America, and Dordt College often disappear when people spend time here. I know from meeting alumni at 50th class reunions that Dordt College and Sioux Center have changed in good ways over the years. Giving thanks to God for Dordt College, here, in this place, I’m reminded of the Psalmist’s words from 16:6—“The boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places.” As Dordt celebrates its 60th anniversary and as Sioux Center gets ready to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2016, it’s a good time to reflect on our relationship and to thank God for his providential care and goodness to both of us. It’s also appropriate to say thank you to the city and surrounding community for their participation and support. Some highlights of our relationship include:
- The mutually supportive and encouraging relationship between our founder, the Rev. B.J. Haan, and then-mayor, Maurice Te Paske. The vision of “Progress Through Cooperation” of these two men and their shared faith in God helped make amazing things happen over the years. The cooperative relationship continues today.
- A diverse and growing local economy and employers who are eager to partner with us to provide off-campus employment and internships for students. And we help give firms and organizations ready, willing, eager, and educated employees.
- Welcoming churches of different denominations and worship styles open their doors and hearts to Dordt students. I know of many students who invite their “Sioux Center parents” to their weddings. Some families are now hosting the grandchildren of students they hosted in our early days.
- Strong partnerships with local Christian schools and collaborative efforts with community schools have led to joint-use athletic, art, and child development facilities.
As we mark these milestones together, we give thanks to God that Dordt College landed here and pray that he will continue to guide and bless our efforts.