The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities Names First Woman, Shirley Hoogstra, as New President

(Photo: DeJonge Studio) Shirley Hoogstra has been named the seventh president of the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities.
(Photo: DeJonge Studio)
Shirley Hoogstra has been named the seventh president of the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities.

The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities has named Shirley Hoogstra as its seventh president, following a tumultuous year under which they fired her predecessor after serving less than a year on the job. Hoogstra, a former practicing attorney turned vice president of student life at Calvin College, will become the first female to hold this position.

“I’m excited for this opportunity because I am passionate about Christian education generally and Christian higher education specifically,” Hoogstra said in a statement. “The world is increasingly complex, and the liberal arts education that CCCU institutions offer prepares students to understand why faith deeply matters to people. And the Christian faith gives hope and meaning when hope and meaning in life can seem illusive.”

Hoogstra’s predecessor, Edward Blews was fired from his position in October, with little explanation from his former employer, aside from releasing a statement that said the decision had been made after “careful investigation and prayerful consideration.” Blews had been named CCCU president in 2012 following an 18 month search process.

In February, he sued the organization, accusing it of tarnishing his reputation and giving the appearance that he had been fired with cause in order to save $2 million. In a World Magazine report, his former colleagues described his term as “nightmarish,” and alleged that the former Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan administrator berated staff, ” tracked which employees complimented him, and during his first staff meeting laid out on a table dozens of congratulatory letters to himself. The Spring 2013 issue of the CCCU’s ‘Advance Magazine’ had 18 photos of Blews.”

Hoogstra told The Christian Post on Tuesday that prior to her tenure in higher education, she worked at a firm where she specialized in families and personal injury litigation. Prior to moving to Calvin, she had served on the Board of Trustees and as the first alumni endowment chair.

“It was a calling,” Hoogstra said of her transition in 1999 to higher education. “I had a sense that perhaps God was deploying me to be used as a leader in my alma mater.”

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Source: Christian Post | Morgan Lee

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