Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

December 10 , 2003

Dordt College Presents Distinguished Alumni Award to Whitworth Professor

Describing her as a role model for how students can live out their faith in all aspects of their personal and professional lives, Dordt College recently selected Whitworth Professor of Political Studies Julia Stronks to receive its 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award will be presented in February at a banquet in Stronks' honor at the Dordt campus in Sioux Center, Iowa. She also will be giving a series of lectures as well as speaking in chapel and in several classes.

"The purpose of the award is to recognize people who have caught the vision of what Dordt College is all about and are living that out in all aspects of their lives," says Dordt Director of Alumni and Church Relations Judy Hagey. "The vision for our students is that faith should be part of everything (they) do and Julia has consistently modeled that through the grassroots work she's done in public policy, service to the community and her academic work."

Stronks, who graduated from Dordt College in 1982, is quick to point out that her alma mater played a vital role in forging the very convictions for which she is now being recognized. She says she transferred to Dordt in her sophomore year because she was impressed by the faculty's commitment to examining everything from public policy and the role of government to relationships and financial management from a worldview framed by Christian faith and values.

"Learning how to think about our responsibility to redeem all of creation and not just individual souls is the greatest gift Dordt College gave me," Stronks says. "My professors at Dordt helped me see that faith should be part of everything we do, not just what happens at church. That gave me the freedom to pursue law with the same conviction that my friends were pursuing seminary and ministry."

After receiving a degree in political science from Dordt, Stronks completed law school at the University of Iowa in 1985. She practiced law for several years before returning to graduate school to complete a doctorate in political science at the University of Maryland in 1995.

Stronks is in her 10th year on the faculty at Whitworth College, where she teaches American government courses with an emphasis on the role of law in society and the relationship between faith and public policy. She also directs the college's initiative to serve homeless youth in Spokane and the Lives of Commitment program, funded by a $1 million grant from the M. J. Murdock Foundation. In its third year, the Lives of Commitment program provides courses, mentoring, guest lectures and other resources to help students connect their worldview convictions to the personal and professional decisions they make after graduation.

Stronks has authored Law, Religion and Public Policy: A Commentary on First Amendment Jurisprudence (2002, Lexington Books) and co-authored with her mother, Calvin College Professor of Education Gloria Goris Stronks, Christian Teachers in Public Schools (1999, Baker House). She is working on a new book, So, You Want to be a Christian Lawyer?

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Judy Hagey, director of alumni and church relations at Dordt College, (712) 722-6000.

Julia Stronks, professor of political studies, (509) 777-4577 or jstronks@whitworth.edu.

Greg Orwig, director of communications, (509) 777-4580 or gorwig@whitworth.edu.

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