Five honored as distinguished Northwestern College alumni

Five Northwestern College alumni and Northwestern College logo on a red background

Northwestern College will present five of its alumni with awards recognizing their accomplishments and service during Raider Nation Celebration, the college’s Homecoming weekend. The recipients will be honored during a banquet Saturday evening, Sept. 18.

Dr. Bob Boerigter of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will receive the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award; Donna (Heerspink) Bunce of Zeeland, Michigan, the Distinguished Service to Humankind Award; Karen (De Boer) and Dr. Earl Woudstra of Orange City, the Distinguished Service to Northwestern Award; and Dr. Michael Holm of Ovid, Michigan, the Standout Young Alum Award.

Boerigter taught and coached at the collegiate level for 45 years and served as athletics director at five institutions. Most recently, he was commissioner of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, an NCAA Division II conference. He was named the NAIA National Athletics Administrator of the Year, presented with a lifetime achievement award by the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association, and named Kansas City’s Sports Executive of the Year. A 1970 graduate of Northwestern College, he earned his doctorate from the University of Utah. He also taught and coached at Northwestern for six years, including one year as the Raiders head men’s basketball coach.

Bunce is the founder and executive director of Compassionate Heart Ministries, which provides a Christ-centered place to meet the social and relational needs of people with disabilities. She has also served as a medical social worker for Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, Indiana; a bereavement coordinator for Hospice of Holland, Michigan; and a youth director for Maplewood Church in Holland. Her work won her Zeeland, Michigan’s Community Service Award and the Ability Award for the Disability Network of the Lakeshore. Bunce graduated from Northwestern in 1984 with majors in sociology and Christian education.

The Woudstras met and married while they were students at Northwestern. Earl’s teams won four national championships during the 17 years he served as Northwestern’s women’s basketball coach. He also served as director of athletics for the Raiders for five years. Karen was Northwestern’s alumni director from 2001 to 2006. All of their children attended NWC, and the couple established a scholarship for Northwestern students. Earl graduated from Northwestern in 1978 and earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota; Karen is a 1979 NWC graduate with a degree in elementary education.

Holm is the recipient of Northwestern’s Standout Young Alum Award, which was established in 2019. He serves as chief data scientist for Covenant Eyes Inc., a company that provides accountability software and content to help people quit using pornography for good—or never start. He is an expert in artificial intelligence and previously worked as an intelligence officer at the U.S. National Security Agency. An Orange City native, Holm graduated from Northwestern in 2006 and holds a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.