Death of DAA Recipient Douglas Neckers, Formerly of Chemistry Faculty

Dr. Douglas Neckers ’60 of Perrysburg, Ohio, a 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient whose accomplished career as a photochemical scientist included several years on the Hope College faculty, died on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. He was 84.

Doug Neckers ’60 receives the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. Pictured with Brian Gibbs ’84 (right).

He was retired from the faculty of Bowling Green State University, where he had established the Center for Photochemical Sciences. He was also the founder, and had been the longtime CEO, of Spectra Group, a photochemical sciences company specializing in materials for three-dimensional printing.

Neckers taught at Hope from 1964 to 1971, and in addition to teaching led an active research program involving students. He remained actively involved with the college and Department of Chemistry in the years that followed. In 2016, he wrote the book “Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope,” celebrating Hope’s eighth president — who led the college from 1963 to 1970 — for emphasizing Hope’s academic quality and the model of collaborative faculty-student research for which the college continues to garner national acclaim.

“Doug left Hope to do big things and did, but he held Hope close to his heart as an alum and as a former faculty member,” said Dr. Elizabeth Sanford, professor of chemistry and current department chair. “He was personally invested in the Chemistry Department and the success of Hope as an institution. He loved the liberal arts and doing science in the context of the liberal arts.”

Doug Neckers in 1970

Former colleague Dr. Michael Doyle — who taught at Hope from 1968 to 1984, went on to other positions including the presidency of Research Corporation, and is now on the faculty at the University of Texas, San Antonio — credited Neckers with drawing him to the college.
“His success as a scholar at an undergraduate institution was a beaming example of the power of liberal arts colleges in using undergraduate talent to make new discoveries in science,” Doyle said. “He was a recognized national leader in the emerging field of photochemistry in the late 1960s, having not only published scientific papers in the area but also authoring a definitive book on organic photochemistry.”

Neckers, who majored in chemistry at Hope, attended the college as a third-generation student, the son of M. Carlyle Neckers ’35 and Doris Van Lente ’36 Neckers and grandson of Albert Neckers Jr., who graduated from the Hope Academy high school in 1891. He and his wife, Suzanne (Evans), a Hope classmate who majored in history, both came to Hope as transfer students, from Bucknell and Rochester, respectively.

Douglas Neckers returned to Hope as a member of the faculty after completing his doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Kansas, He subsequently taught and conducted research at the University of New Mexico until joining the chemistry faculty at Bowling Green State University as chair of the Department of Chemistry in 1973.

He was at Bowling Green for the next 36 years, retiring as the McMaster Distinguished Research Professor emeritus in 2009. Under his leadership, the Center for Photochemical Sciences, which he founded in 1985 and directed until retiring, became the only Ph.D. program in the photochemical sciences in the United States. Across his tenure, he directly mentored 39 Ph.D. student graduates from 37 foreign countries, approximately 50 post-doctoral fellows and numerous undergraduates.

His research interests were in photochemical polymerization, additive photo assembly and three-dimensional printing. He founded Spectra Group — originally named Stereo Graphics Limited Partnership — in 1990 to develop the then-new technology of stereolithography in medical imaging. His labs were the first in the world to print MRI and CT data as 3D models using additive 3d printing. Other distinctive applications included having assembled three “near authentic” models of centuries-old mummies for the Toledo Museum of Art. He became Spectra’s CEO when he retired from Bowling Green.

Neckers won numerous awards, including several from the Inter-American Photochemical Society and Bowling Green State University. He was a Fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, received a National Science Foundation Creativity Award in 1994, was Morley Medalist of the Cleveland Section of the American Chemical Society, and was an Honorary UNESCO Professor at Mendeleyev University in Moscow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His work was supported at Bowling Green by the NSF; DARPA; Office of Naval Research; Petroleum Research Fund; and the State of Ohio, Office of Economic Development.

His community involvement included serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and as the founder of St. Tim’s Discovers, a music series at his church, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, dedicated to discovering new and unknown musical talent for the Toledo community. He was also Henry T. King Fellow, and from 2015 to 2017 chaired the Board of Directors, at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, New York. Jackson had served as United States Solicitor General, as United States Attorney General and as a Supreme Court justice, and was the chief U.S. prosecutor of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg following World War Two.

His research and scholarly publications included hundreds of papers, a dozen books and more than 90 patents. In recent years he began writing columns on topics including education and social issues that were printed in publications including The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, and The Holland Sentinel.

He was preceded in death by his parents, M. Carlyle Neckers ’35 (July 24, 2009) and Doris Van Lente ’36 Neckers (Nov. 20, 1996); his wife, Suzanne Evans ’60 Neckers (June 17, 2021); and a brother, Craig Neckers ’71 (Oct. 7, 2021). Survivors include his daughter, Pamela Neckers; his son, Dr. Andrew Neckers; two granddaughters; his brother and sister-in-law, Bruce Neckers ’65 and Susan Sonneveldt ’67 Neckers; and sister-in-law, Joan Hendricks ’74 Neckers.

Visitation and funeral services had not been finalized as of this writing. The family suggests tributes to either the Suzanne and Douglas Neckers Fund at Hope or the Albert Neckers Jr. Endowment at the Robert H. Jackson Center.

More about his career, interests and impact is available in an article published in The Blade newspaper in Toledo on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022.

In addition, the Fall 2012 issue of BGSU Magazine, also available online, includes a feature story about him.

A Hope feature about his book “Cal VanderWerf: Anchor of Hope” is available online.

10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipient | Alexandra Vroom ’19

Alexandra Vroom ’19

In 2019 Alex graduated from Hope College with a degree in nursing. From August 2019 to March 2020, she volunteered as a maternal and child health promoter in the Peace Corps in Zambia. Unfortunately, she was sent home early because the global pandemic caused a worldwide evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers. Once back in the United States, Alex became a registered nurse for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital where she continues to work. She has also continued her education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she will receive her master’s in nurse midwifery in April 2023. Striving to improve women’s health both domestically and globally, she also actively participates in academic research. In her free time she volunteers for HOPE Free Health Clinic where she addresses patients’ needs. “While I am consciously aware of a multitude of ways in which my education at Hope College has affected me, I do not doubt that more meaningful contributions remain yet undiscovered,” says Alex. Her impact on women and health is remarkable, and she will continue to share her passion and service with the world.

Alexandra Vroom ’19 receives the 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award from nursing professor Dr. Anita Esquerra-Zwiers
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Scogin.
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Matt Scogin

Hope College is proud to honor Alexandra Vroom ’19 with the 2022 10 Under 10 Award. The 10 Under 10 Award honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaging in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and using their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity. Award recipients also communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, these awards are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today.

10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipient | Allix Hutchison ’17

Allix Hutchison ’17

In 2017 Allix Hutchison graduated from Hope College with a degree in elementary education with a focus in English language arts and English as a Second Language. She worked as a kindergarten teacher from 2017 to 2019 at Georgetown Elementary School, Hudsonville Public Schools, and then moved to a first-grade classroom where she currently teaches. Allix continues to be involved with Hope College as she opens her classroom to student teachers and provides guidance in her field. She also is deeply involved in her church’s leadership team, volunteering her time to support children’s worship programming and outreach opportunities. “I credit Hope with shaping me into a better teacher, mentor, advocate, leader, friend, colleague, encourager and Christ-follower,” she said. Through teaching and mentoring, Allix brings hope and joy to others.

Allix Hutchison ’17 receives the 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Scogin.
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Matt Scogin

Hope College is proud to honor Allix Hutchison ’17 with the 2022 10 Under 10 Award. The 10 Under 10 Award honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaging in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and using their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity. Award recipients also communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, these awards are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today.

Allix Hutchison ’17 at the 10 Under 10 Soirée

10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipient | Nicholas Leonard ’12

The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Nicholas Leonard ’12

In 2012 Nicholas Leonard graduated from Hope College with a degree in art education. Following graduation, Nicholas earned a master’s in art education from the University of Nebraska Kearney. He is currently working on his doctorate of art and design education from Northern Illinois University while serving as an art and design visiting lecturer. Through his publications and presentations at the regional, national and international levels, Nicholas has been able to help individuals engage with images and objects in a more intentional way as a form of culture care. Hope College equipped Nicholas to lead a life with a calling and “recognize the glory of God and his creation,” he said. Nicholas will continue to impact the lives of many through his dedication to students. 

Nicholas Leonard ’12 received the 10 Under 10 Alumni Award from Art History Professor Dr. Anne Heath.

Hope College is proud to honor Nicholas Leonard ’12 with the 2022 10 Under 10 Award. The 10 Under 10 Award honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaging in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and using their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity. Award recipients also communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, these awards are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today.

The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Scogin.
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Matt Scogin

10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipient | Isabel Morris ’15

The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients
Isabel Morris '15

In 2015 Isabel Morris graduated from Hope College with degrees in civil engineering and classics. Following graduation, Isabel received her doctorate from Princeton University in 2020, focusing on civil and environmental engineering. During that time, she worked as a geophysics program director for ArchaeoTek. Isabel then became an assistant professor of civil engineering at New Mexico Tech where she currently teaches. Beyond the classroom, Isabel is the faculty advisor of the climbing club where she organizes local climbing competitions and builds a welcoming community of climbers. Reflecting back, she said her time at Hope was instrumental in preparing her for the future. “A Hope education is indistinguishable from where I found my calling and readied myself to follow it,” she added. Morris serves as an excellent example of an emerging leader in her career and personal life.

Isabel Morris ’15 receives her 10 Under 10 Alumni Award from Engineering Professor Dr. Courtney Peckens.

Hope College is proud to honor Isabel Morris ’15 with the 2022 10 Under 10 Award. The 10 Under 10 Award honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaging in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and using their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity. Award recipients also communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, these awards are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today.

The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award recipients with President Scogin.
The 2022 10 Under 10 Alumni Award Recipients

DiscoverWork Reflections

As a freshman at Hope, I knew I was going to pursue social work because of my passion for meeting individuals where they are and walking alongside them through their unique life circumstances. Being given the opportunity, as a freshman, to participate in the DiscoverWork Program was a blessing that added so many unforgettable memories to my Hope experience.

My very first DiscoverWork opportunity, I was able to travel to Atlanta, Georgia where I shadowed Lindsay Allward-Theimer ’11 at Junior Achievement of Georgia. Shadowing Lindsay at JA Georgia showed me what educational social work looks like. Being able to connect with the youth that benefited from their programming and seeing the relationships built between students and staff was inspiring. I spent four days with Lindsay so outside of shadowing her at work I got to know her dog, her husband, and her city. Lindsay took me downtown Atlanta, got me to try new foods (which is very rare because I am so picky!) and shared so much wisdom pertaining to my life at Hope and beyond. Lindsay has supported me throughout all four years at Hope. Lindsay traveled to Holland twice a year while I was a student and made it a priority to see me, catch up and treat me to a meal. My relationship with Lindsay has gone far beyond my DiscoverWork opportunity and into every year at Hope and now into post-grad. 

My second DiscoverWork opportunity, I was able to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to shadow Tawny Brooks ’00 of Brooks Law LLC for three days. Tawny is an attorney who specializes in children’s law which includes: delinquency, termination of parental rights, guardian ad litem and so much more. I was so thrilled to see how social workers operated in the courtroom on behalf of youth and families. I was inspired by Tawny’s passion for advocating for children/youth and her dedication to each individual case but also to growing her business. Shadowing Tawny assured me that I do want to pursue macro social work to continue making large-scale change and improving some of the heart-wrenching systemic issues that affect so many people. 

Last, but not least, I had my final DiscoverWork opportunity at Hope College where I traveled to Washington, D.C. to shadow Robert Bradford ’02 at Sheridan School. Rob is the Middle School Head at Sheridan, so for the first time ever I got to see how an independent school operates. My passion for youth and social justice sort of exploded at Sheridan. I was like a sponge soaking up every ounce of information I could but also asking the tough questions that came to mind. Rob, Sharon and their two children were a joy to stay with for the week. This opportunity showed me where I could fit in at an independent school as a social worker as well as the intricacies of operating a school as the Head. 

All of my DiscoverWork opportunities allowed me to shadow different aspects of social work, youth, social justice and education… all of my passions! I was able to get to know each individual more deeply, understand their path to their current role and take in the wisdom they had to pass along. I got to learn things that I like and will pursue in the future but also things that I do not like and will avoid in the future… all while exploring new cities, new foods and growing my network! DiscoverWork was a blessing to my Hope experience and all of the hosts that welcomed me are individuals who continue to cheer me on as I chase my dreams outside of Hope College. 

STUDENTS and HOSTS! SIGN UP TODAY FOR THE JANUARY 2023 DISCOVERWORK CYCLE!

  1. Create a Hope College Connection account
  2. Click “DiscoverWork” on the blue navigation bar and follow the registration prompts

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? Please reach out to Amanda Root at discoverwork@hope.edu.

The HOPE COLLEGE CONNECTION LIVE! EVENTS

THREE Hope College Connection LIVE! events are happening this fall and we couldn’t be more excited! These events bring together alumni and friends of Hope with current students for a time of networking, sharing expertise and asking/answering questions.

The Hope College Connection LIVE: H-Club

The first event this fall is The Hope College Connection LIVE: H-Club. It is designed to provide an opportunity for meaningful connections between current student-athletes and our large community of alumni athletes, otherwise known as H-Club.

WHEN: Monday, October 3 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm | Brief Remarks at 6:30 pm
WHERE: DeVos Fieldhouse

Register at: hope.edu/hclubconnection. There is no cost to attend but registration is requested

This event is sponsored by: LVZ Financial Planning

The Hope College Connection LIVE: Grand Rapids

The second event is The Hope College Connection LIVE: Grand Rapids. This event will bring together alumni and friends of Hope from all different industries to network with students interested in working in the Grand Rapids area.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 1 | 5:30-8:00 pm
WHERE: Founders Brewing Company

Register at hope.edu/grconnection. There is no cost to attend but registration is requested.

This event will be hosted by Kyle Sutton ’13 and Sara Yockey ’15 Sutton.

This event is sponsored by: AMDG Architects

The Hope College Connection LIVE: Balancing Purpose and Passion

The third event is Hope College Connection LIVE: Balancing Purpose and Passion. This will be a virtual event with a panel discussion featuring Hope alumni and a student moderator.

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 | 11:00 – 11:50am
Virtual Webinar on Zoom

Register at hope.edu/balance. There is no cost to attend but registration is required for the Zoom link.

This event is sponsored by: Versiti Blood Center of Michigan.

This event is a collaboration between Hope College Alumni & Family Engagement, the Boerigter Center for Calling & Career, and the Alumni of Color Advisory Council.

If you have questions about these events, please contact Amanda Root at roota@hope.edu. If you are interested in sponsoring a future event, please contact Tricia Cranmer at cranmer@hope.edu.


GOING, GOING….GONE!

WOW! The Kletz Garage Sale was a HIT! Most items were sold out within 24 HOURS. That’s amazing!

When we first came up with the idea of a Kletz Garage Sale, we weren’t sure how it would go. Some of us were convinced we’d see an outpouring of interest while some thought it would be a slower trickle. <ENTER AWESOME ALUMNI WHO LOVE HOPE COLLEGE> Clearly, memories of the Kletz hold special places in the hearts of many because “outpouring” ended up being an understatement!

One of the best parts of the sale is getting to meet the alumni and friends of Hope who purchased items. We asked everyone to tell us a little more about where the items would be heading. Many people have a specific spot in mind for their Kletz memorabilia and others aren’t quite sure where it will end up – but they just had to have that special item! 

We met Wayne ’96 and Jennifer ’99 Barrett who were purchasing chairs for their family campground on the east side of the state. They drove over, loaded up their items and drove home. Fun fact: they met at Hope!

We also met Gregory Daniels ’73 who purchased a booth and a table (with an intentional missing corner). His sister sat in the Kletz booths when she was at Hope, he sat in the Kletz booths when he was at Hope and his daughter and son-in-law both sat in the Kletz booths when they were at Hope! Now that’s generational! Note: they did flip the table over and tied everything down before they drove home.

This sale was a fun project for our office and an amazing way to interact with alumni! It also proves that alumni of Hope LOVE Hope College! We truly believe we have the best alumni! This sale helps prove that theory!

WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING THAT WAS RAISED IN THIS SALE?

All funds will go towards creating an Alumni Lounge within the renovated Kletz space, which will continue the legacy of the Kletz being a space for meaningful connection.

WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE KLETZ SPACE?

The lower level of DeWitt is being transformed to house an innovative and collaborative space which will house the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement, The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, and The Center for Leadership. The future is bright for that space and we are looking forward to all the opportunities it will provide students and alumni alike!

For more information on the renovation, please see this blogpost.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email alumni@hope.edu

Kletz Garage Sale

The lower level of DeWitt is being transformed to house an innovative and collaborative space that will house the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement, The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, and The Center for Leadership. The future is bright for that space and we are looking forward to all the opportunities it will provide students and alumni alike!

But while we are excited about the future, we know that The Kletz’s history is full of special memories for our alumni. Curly fries, open mic nights, Hope-themed lattes, tuna melts, late-night study sessions…the list goes on. Some of you may have gone on a date with your future spouse in those purple booths. Or maybe you worked at Cool Beans. Or watched the final episode of “Friends” with your own friends on the clunky big screen. Or perhaps you lost your frisbee on the top of the glass ceiling while playing disc golf outside. Did you have your CD signed by Dee-1 after his SAC Series performance? So much life was lived under that glass!

So, if you still crave the quesadillas or if you lost your Kletz cup three moves ago, we have an opportunity for you to own a small piece of the magic that was The Kletz. Before construction began, we saved the iconic furniture and fixtures to offer to you! Take a look at our Kletz “Garage” Sale at hope.edu/kletzsale – maybe a purple booth is exactly what your basement is missing! All funds will go toward creating an Alumni Lounge within the renovated space, which will continue the legacy of the Kletz being a space for meaningful connection.

Note: the sale ends at 5:00 pm on Friday, August 19, 2022.

Questions? Contact us at alumni@hope.edu.

Introducing the 10 Under 10 Award Recipients for 2022

The 2022 10 Under 10 Award Recipients

Every year, the Holland Bowl Mill creates beautiful wooden bowls that are used as our physical awards for the 10 Under 10 award recipients. Below the recipient’s name and graduation year, the bowl states that they are “an agent of Hope living faithfully into their vocation.” While this year’s recipients’ vocations range from social work to art education to medicine, they have all used their unique talents and passions and their Hope educations to impact their local and global communities.

The 10 Under 10 Awards are designed to highlight our young alumni and demonstrate the amazing things they are able to accomplish in the short amount of time since their graduation. The 10 alumni who are honored with this award represent the many, many more graduates who are serving as amazing role models for current Hope students.

We are so proud of the 2022 cohort and look forward to celebrating them during One Big Weekend at the 10 Under 10 Soirée on October 21, 2022. It will be a special evening to highlight their accomplishments and celebrate their contributions.

We are delighted to announce that the 2022 recipients are:

Sara Duhr ’12 Bazydlo | Licensed Clinical Social Worker at John D. Dingell VA Medical Center
Eden Collins ’12 | Assistant Professor of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University
Josh Cooper ’17 | Voter Protection Director – Democratic Party of Illinois 2022 Coordinated Campaign 
Allix Hutchison ’17 | First Grade Teacher at Hudsonville Public Schools
Alecia Ivery ’13 | Midwest Lead Consultant & National Trainer at The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport
Nicholas Leonard ’12 | Art and Design Education Visiting Lecturer at Northern Illinois University
Isabel Morris ’15 | Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at New Mexico Tech 
Samantha Poon ’14 | Attorney, Department of Homeland Security
Marco Tori ’12 | Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / LCDR, United States Public Health Service
Alexandra Vroom ’19 | Registered Nurse at Trinity Health – St Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

To learn more about awards and make a nomination, visit hope.edu/alumni/awards.