As one of eleven children, Jacob Eugene Nyenhuis, PhD turned to his aunts and uncles for inspiration, who took an interest in him and saw his passion for learning. As a child, he was mainly influenced by his uncle Harold Pluimer, who attended college after serving in the army. To prepare for his own career in education, Dr. Nyenhuis earned a Bachelor of Arts in Greek from Calvin College in 1956, a Master of Arts in classics from Stanford University in 1961, and a Doctor of Philosophy in classics from Stanford University in 1963. With an expertise in classics and Dutch-American heritage, he began his career as an assistant in classical languages at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. He then went on to become an assistant professor, then associate professor, and finally, full professor at Wayne State University from 1962 to 1975. While at Wayne State University, he also served as the director of the Honors Program and as chairman of the Greek and Latin department.
In 1975, Dr. Nyenhuis joined the faculty at Hope College in Holland, MI, where he has spent the remainder of his career. He has held positions such as professor of the classics, dean for arts and humanities, and provost. Also at Hope College, he worked at the A.C. Van Raalte Institute as a senior research fellow and director. Today, he holds the titles of provost emeritus and professor emeritus at Hope College.
Throughout his career, Dr. Nyenhuis has also extended his expertise to his field outside of his primary appointments. He was a visiting associate professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a visiting professor at The Ohio State University, a visiting research professor at The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and a visiting scholar at Green Templeton College. He was also a consultant for the Michigan Department of Education, Gustavus Adolphus College, Northwestern College, Whitworth University, Albion College, and Kalamazoo College. In addition, he was a reviewer for the Michigan Humanities Council, the United States Department of Education, Lilly Endowment, Inc., and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Nyenhuis has also been an active member of his community through the Calvin Theological Seminary, the Open Housing Committee, and the Christian Reformed Church. In his spare time, he enjoys photography and carpentry. Looking toward the future, Dr. Nyenhuis plans to retire soon in order to spend more time with his wife and his family, including his seven great-grandchildren.
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