On February 3, 2023, when Provost Gerald Griffin announced promotions approved by the Board of Trustees, one of the faculty members promoted to the rank of professor, Dr. Chad Carlson ’03 (kinesiology, since 2014), was the third generation in his family to achieve this distinction. His family’s legacy on the Hope College faculty spans 95 years.
His grandfather, Dr. Lamont Dirkse ’50, had been promoted to professor of education in 1975. Dirkse joined the faculty in 1964 as assistant professor of education, after a career in public education; he was promoted to associate professor in 1968. He chaired the Department of Education from 1968 to 1975 and from 1987 to 1992; he also served as dean of students from 1983 to 1987. Lamont’s wife, Ruth De Graaf ’50 Dirkse, served on the staff of the Academic Support Center from 1986 to 1992.
Chad’s great-grandfather, Dr. Clarence T. De Graaf, had been promoted to professor of English in 1942, and held that title for the next 30 years, when he became professor emeritus. De Graaf had begun his teaching in 1928 at The College High School (known as the Holland Academy from 1855 to 1900, and as the Preparatory School from 1900 to 1928). At the time, he had an A.M. degree in English from the University of Michigan; he continued his graduate studies there for the next nine summers, until he earned an Ed.D. degree in English.
Carlson’s research is focused broadly on the socio-cultural aspects of sport. His areas of specialization and interest include the philosophy of sport, the history of sports and their role in cultural trends, and the connection between sports and Christianity. During the 2021-22 academic year, he conducted research on the origins of the Hope-Calvin men’s basketball rivalry through a Visiting Research Fellowship from the college’s A.C. Van Raalte Institute. The institute will sponsor a lecture by him about the rivalry on Thursday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Education. Admission is free.