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Donald Bouma Lecture Series: Donald Bouma Biography

Donald Bouma (1918–2006)

Donald BoumaDonald Bouma (1918–2006) was a graduate of Calvin College who earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Michigan State University. After serving in the United States Navy from 1944–46, he joined the faculty at Calvin. He was instrumental in establishing the sociology department and served as its first chair for fifteen years. After leaving Calvin, Dr. Bouma held a similar position with Western Michigan University for another 25 years.

Professor Bouma was a scholar. During his tenure, he did groundbreaking work in civil rights, community organization, and developing Christian perspectives on many social problems. He published books on school integration and on juvenile/law enforcement relations, in addition to more than 50 monographs and articles in professional journals.

Professor Bouma worked hard to promote public discourse on pressing social issues. He wrote for the Grand Rapids Press for more than twenty years and served for a decade as an associate editor of USA Today Magazine. He spoke and wrote passionately and incisively on contemporary social issues and human needs.

Professor Bouma performed substantial community service in the area of social justice. He was extremely active in the civic life of west Michigan, and served with numerous organizations, including the Kent County Juvenile Court, Bethany Christian Services, the Grand Rapids Board of Education, the Urban League, Kent County Mental Health Society, the Kent Council of Social Agencies, and others. 

By highlighting excellent scholarship on contemporary social issues, the Donald Bouma Lecture Series honors the legacy of our mentor, colleague and friend. We hope it will inspire our undergraduate students to follow his fine example.