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Wiersma, Stanley (1930-1986) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Wiersma, Stanley (1930-1986)

Historical Note:

Stanley Wiersma was born 15 Jul 1930 in the rural town of Middleburg, Iowa.  Wiersma attended Calvin College and earned his BA in 1951. After graduation, Wiersma became an instructor at the Western Christian High School in Hull, Iowa. From 1953 to 1954, Wiersma entered the United States Army serving as corporal, Central Command, Tokyo, Japan. Wiersma then entered the University of Wisconsin earning his MS degree in 1956. During this time, Wiersma married Irene Hanenburg on 11 Jul 1955. Together they had two sons.

In 1959, Wiersma accepted an instructor position at Calvin College. Wiersma furthered his own education even more by earning his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin. Eventually he was promoted to professor of English at Calvin. Beloved by students and faculty alike, Wiersma was awarded the title of "Teacher of the Year" in 1967.

Next to teaching, Wiersma's other passion was poetry. He often wrote poetry with a nostalgic twist about the Dutch experience in America. He was a member of the International Poetry Society. Wiersma was also a member of the Modern Language Association of America and an active church member of the Mayfair and Calvin Christian Reformed churches. Wiersma also found time to write. He authored several books including More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry, 1983 and Style and Class, 1982.

Wiersma was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to analyze the works of Patrick White of Australia. During the last few weeks of his sabbatical, while in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, he went in for emergency abdominal surgery. He passed away during surgery on 21 Jun 1986. His burial took place in the Netherlands.

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