Hope College Austria

Matt VanderBorgh ’84 Donald Battjes ’68

Bringing the college’s new Kruizenga Art Museum from vision to fruition is a team effort, beginning with the generosity of the building’s donors and drawing heavily on the talents of Matt VanderBorgh ’84 and Donald Battjes ’68, art alumni whose career paths have led them to unique roles in shaping the facility. Vander Borgh has gone on to a career as an architect who has completed projects around the world, and is bringing his internationally acclaimed expertise back to Hope as designer of the museum. Battjes, newly retired from a career in corporate facilities and real estate administration, most recently as chief of operations and facility planning with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is playing a leadership role in guiding the museum’s programmatic needs from the drawing boards to realization.

Building Hope on Experience

Equipped with their Hope art degrees, they realized their dreams.

Today, Matt Vander Borgh ’84 of The Hague, the Netherlands, and Donald Battjes ’68 of Los Angeles, Calif., bring their individual talents and training back to the college, applying career expertise honed through decades of experience. They are helping make the new Kruizenga Art Museum a place that will enable new generations of students to achieve their dreams, too.

An architect internationally acclaimed for his work, Vander Borgh is director of C Concept Design, which has developed projects in 19 countries on four continents. He has worked closely with Hope in designing a building that will not only provide a home for the college’s magnificent Permanent Collection but will itself serve as a work of art that will express in form its purpose in function, and will become a hive of activity that extends itself into the campus and engages students and community alike.

Battjes is playing a leadership role in aiding the college to guide the museum’s programmatic needs from the from the drawing boards to an enduring structure as an outstanding center for learning— a complex journey given its specialized nature. Recently retired, he is highly respected in his profession for having done the same for major corporations, such as Hughes Aircraft and 20th Century Film Corporation, and for the past 14 years as chief of operations and facility planning with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Although they attended 16 years apart, their Hope journeys share some parallels. Each came to the college with generational ties, Vander Borgh the son of Clarence ’60 and Joann Barton ’58 Vander Borgh, and Battjes the son of Donald, Sr. ’46 and Maxine Van Zylen ’44 Battjes. Each also pursued an art major because of a strong interest in architecture, planning and design.

Matt Vander Borgh has more reason than most to love the college’s art program.

Without question, he valued his Hope experience in general and his art faculty mentors in particular.

“Academically, it was a great school, ” Vander Borgh said. “And it had a great art department—people like Billy Mayer, Bob Vickers, Del Michel and Jack Wilson.”

It happens, though, that it’s also why he met his wife, Me Hyun (Cho ’88). He was in the De Pree Art Center working on a project when she came into the front entryway to hang a poster for the college’s International Night. That same entryway offers an ideal view of the space that will soon house the Kruizenga Art Museum.

Yes, I did. and planning to do it again.

by djinna

I planned for maybe 10 months or so...saved money, did research.
Told my parents the plan - I thought they would freak out but had decided that I was going. (I had already graduated from college and was supporting myself in a city far from where they live.) In fact, my mom was so happy she said "I hope you have even a better time than you imagine."
Then I quit my job, tied up loose ends, and got on a plane to Europe.
I had traveled before to Asia and Central America, but had not seen much of Europe.
Used my ATM card and online banking - spent more time in Spain than anywhere else and varying amounts of time in Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany, and the Netherlands

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