Three Pioneers Return to Redeemer
2 min. read
February 12, 2010

Three pioneers of the Redeemer’s English department recently returned to their academic home turf. Bill Fledderus and Irene Grace Bom are teaching part time in the English department, and Michael John Kooy, on sabbatical from the University of Warwick in England, returned to lead a presentation to current Redeemer students about graduate studies overseas. The three alumni, all of whom graduated with Honours degrees in English in 1992, each pursued graduate studies immediately upon graduation. Fledderus headed to the University of Alberta for a master’s program in creative writing. He returned to Ontario to become news editor of Christian Courier (CC), a biweekly Christian newspaper published out of St. Catharines; he now edits Faith Today, the magazine of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Bom undertook both master’s and doctoral work at Queen’s University at Kingston, taking a year off to follow in Fledderus’ footsteps as news editor of CC. Kooy headed directly to Oxford to begin doctoral research. For the last three years he has overseen graduate studies for the department of English at the University of Warwick. In addition to pioneering the Honours English program, Fledderus, Kooy and Bom were also among the first Redeemer students to study French abroad. The three studied at the University of Paris at the Sorbonne under the auspices of Redeemer’s French department before such foreign study was formalized. The French department later incorporated into its program a semester of foreign study and now sends up to six students to France every year. The response of Dr. Van Til Rusthoven, Associate Professor of French, to the reunion at Redeemer was “La boucle est bouclee,” a French expression which refers to events coming full circle (literally, “the belt is buckled”). The three alumni reflected on their extensive involvement with the Crown, concert choir, and numerous mainstage theatre productions. Noted Fledderus, “Redeemer in those days was a place where you were free to fly by the seat of your pants. You could create your own opportunities. You could take something on and do it your way.” Kooy agreed that Redeemer provided an environment that fostered creativity: “There is something to be said for studying in good company.” But all agreed that early freedom is offset by the breadth that has come with increased enrolment. More courses and extracurricular activities have given Redeemer “the feel of a larger university” said Bom, adding that the increase in student numbers “has brought a lot of energy” to the campus.

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