Kuyper College Appoints New President

August 21, 2017

The Kuyper College Board of Trustees announced Monday, August 21, that Dr. Patricia Harris will become its fifth president, effective October 12.

Dr. Harris, Kuyper’s provost since 2013, will replace Dr. Carl Zylstra, who has served as interim president since January 2017 upon the retirement of former president Dr. Nicholas V. Kroeze.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am honored to present Dr. Harris as the next president of Kuyper College,” said Matthew Nelson, chair of the Board of Trustees.

“Dr. Harris has a passion for and strong commitment to Kuyper’s historical mission, an understanding of its current strengths, and,” noted Nelson, “a strong record of collaborative leadership; her leadership is characterized by vision, innovation and excellence.”

As provost for the past four years, Dr. Harris has provided leadership to the faculty and has administered an innovative redesign of the academic structure and programs of the College.

Prior to Kuyper, she spent 15 years in cross-cultural mission work in the Philippines with Christian Reformed World Missions, in partnership with Asian Theological Seminary (ATS) in Manila. During that time, in addition to her responsibilities as a professor of biblical studies and Christian education, Dr. Harris also served as deputy officer in charge and vice president of administration at the Seminary.

“For 80 years God has affirmed the mission of Kuyper College,” said Nelson.  “After an extensive search with much prayer, and after considering various candidates, God made it clear to the Board that Dr. Harris was the person uniquely gifted to lead the College into a new era.”  

Commenting on her appointment, Dr. Harris said: “I’m grateful to the Board of Trustees for the confidence they’ve shown in me. I value the fervency of Kuyper’s mission to prepare the next generation of Christian leaders to serve Christ and His kingdom, and the dedication of our staff and faculty in carrying out that mission.  I count it a humble privilege to be able to serve in this new leadership role to help the Kuyper community fulfill its mission and vision.”

Dr. Harris holds a Doctorate in Education from George Fox University, a Master of Theological Studies from Calvin Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Calvin College. Dr. Harris and her husband, Rev. Robert Harris, are the parents of one daughter and three sons.

Founded in 1939, and accredited by various regional and national agencies, Kuyper College is a leading Christian College focused on effectively training students to make a difference in God’s world. Kuyper offers bachelor and associate degrees in a variety of professional and ministry fields. The College is located on a beautiful and tranquil campus a few miles from downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan—one of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the United States.