March 21, 2001
Hillegonds to Deliver Henry Lecture
Paul Hillegonds, former member and Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, will speak at Calvin College on Monday, April 30 for the school's fifth annual Paul B. Henry Lecture.
The talk, sponsored by the Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Gezon Auditorium and is free and open to the public.
Hillegonds talk is simply titled: "Faith in Politics." In that address Hillegonds will touch on his own experiences as a Christian in the political realm, experiences that he had first as a politician and continues to have now as one whose work often brings him into political circles.
Hillegonds also will reflect on his personal interactions with former U.S. Congressman Paul Henry. Hillegonds and Henry were in state government together for half a dozen years between 1978 and 1984.
Hillegonds, a native of Holland, Michigan, was in politics from 1971 to 1996. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1971 he began work as a Congressional legislative assistant and chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Philip Ruppe in Washington, D.C. In 1978 he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives from the 88th District. He was reelected to eight consecutive terms and spent 17 years in Lansing. In 1986, the same year in which he was named leader of the Republican caucus, he received his J.D. degree from Cooley Law School. He was Republican Leader from 1986 to 1993, Co-Speaker of the House in 1993-94 and Speaker of the House in 1995-96.
During that time he served with Paul Henry who was elected to the State House in 1978 and then elected to a seat as a State Senator prior to becoming a U.S. Congressman in 1984.
Henry served in Congress from 1984 until his untimely death from cancer in July 1993. Henry was known as a person of conviction, credibility and courage. His book, Politics for Evangelicals, provides a blueprint for his own involvement in public service. His academic and political careers were characterized by a constant search for justice, providing powerful evidence that politicians can be principled and effective.
Hillegonds has made that search for justice a central theme in his career as well. After leaving politics in 1997 he became President of Detroit Renaissance, a nonprofit, civic organization that brings together business community leadership and resources to facilitate the physical and economic revitalization of Detroit. Hillegonds is a board member of Grand Valley State University, the Michigan Strategic Fund and the Michigan Nature Conservancy. He and his wife Nancy have two children.
NOTE: The new book, "Serving the Claims of Justice: The Thoughts of Paul B. Henry," will be available for sale at the April 30 lecture at Calvin.