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Cornelius Jaarsma (1897-1966) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Cornelius Jaarsma (1897-1966)


Historical Note:

Cornelius Jaarsma was born the providence of Friesland in the Netherlands on May 5, 1897.  At the age of eleven, Jaarsma and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Racine, Wisconsin. Jaarsma furthered his education while attending Calvin Preparatory School. After his graduated in 1918, Jaarsma began to teach at Christian Schools.  During this time, he was also continuing his own education. He attended New York University where he graduated with a B.A. degree in 1928. Jaarsma accepted a teaching position at the Paterson Teachers College as well as earning his M.A. degree in 1930.  Jaarsma moved on to teach at the Montclair Teachers College.  In 1934, he went on to receive his Ph.D. from New York University in 1934.

Jaarsma’s teaching career continued as he served as an instructor at New York University, as dean at Slippery Rock Teachers College, as dean at Taylor University, and as chairman of the Education Division of Wheaton College.  It was not until 1947 that Jaarsma became faculty at Calvin College. While at Calvin, Jaarsma first served as the Professor Education and then moved on to Chairman of the Education Department from 1958 until his retirement in 1964.  Throughout his career and retirement, Jaarsma was an active writer of books, pamphlets, and magazine articles. Jaarsma was also very involved in his church community. He served as a Bible teacher and as an elder at Burton Heights Christian Reformed Church. On May 12, 1966, Jaarsma suffered a massive heart attack, and two days later, he passed away.  His wife, Tillie, and their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren survived him.






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