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Donald Bouma Passes Away
August 14 , 2006

A former Calvin College professor passed away on August 8 in Sun City, Arizona.

Donald H. Bouma, 88, was both a graduate of the college and taught at Calvin from 1946 to 1960, during which time he was instrumental in establishing the Calvin sociology department all the while serving as the new department's chair!

Today Calvin continues to honor his contributions to the college with an annual Bouma Lecture, sponsored by the sociology and social work department. That lecture honors the memory of a man who made a mark at Calvin during his 14-year tenure and who made a mark in his work apart from his alma mater.

Born February 9, 1918 in Grand Rapids, Bouma earned a B.A. from Calvin, then an M.A. from the University of Michigan and finally a Ph.D in sociology and anthropology from Michigan State University.

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 (on a mine-sweeper in the Pacific!) and then began a long career in academia that included not only his time at Calvin, but also an almost 25-year career in sociology at Western Michigan University.

He was the author of Dynamics of School Integration in 1958 and Kids and Cops: A Problem of Mutual Hostility in 1969, and also authored over 50 monographs and articles in professional journals. From 1974 to 1984 he was an associate editor of USA Today magazine, and for over 20 years was a writer for the Grand Rapids Press.

Bouma was extremely active in the West Michigan community prior to retiring to Arizona in 1984. Among his involvements were the Kent County Juvenile Court, Bethany Christian Services, the Grand Rapids Board of Education, the Urban League and numerous others.

Calvin colleagues note that his career was marked by a commitment to contemporary social issues and human needs.