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Plantinga, Alvin C. (1932-) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Plantinga, Alvin C. (1932-)

Historical Note:

At the end of 11th grade, Plantinga's father urged Plantinga to skip his last year of high school and enroll in college and in 1949, a few months before his 17th birthday, he enrolled in Jamestown College, in Jamestown, North Dakota. When his father joined the faculty at Calvin College in January 1950, the younger Plantinga enrolled in Calvin College. During his first semester at Calvin, Plantinga was awarded a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where her spent two semesters but returned to Calvin in 1951 to study philosophy with William Harry Jellema In 1954. Plantinga began his graduate studies at the University of Michigan with William Alston, William Frankena, and Richard Cartwright, and in 1955 transferred to Yale University where he received his PhD in 1958.

Plantinga taught philosophy at Yale, 1957-1958; Wayne State University, 1958-1963; Calvin College (replacing the retiring Jellema), 12063-1982; and the University of Notre Dame, 1982-2010. He has honorary degrees from Glasgow University (1982), North Park College (1994), the Free University of Amsterdam (1995), Brigham Young University (1996), and Valparaiso University (1999). He was a Guggenheim Fellow, 1971-1972, and elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. In 2006 the University of Notre Dame's Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship. In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy Department, History and Philosophy of Science Department, and the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science awarded Plantinga the Rescher Prize.

Plantinga was born on 15 November 1932, in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Cornelius A. Plantinga (1908-1994) and Lettie G. Bossenbroek (1908-2007). Plantinga's father, an immigrant from Friesland, the Netherlands, earned Master's Degree in psychology and a PhD in philosophy from Duke University. Alvin Plantinga married Kathleen De Boer in 1955 and they have four children: Carl, Jane, Harry, and Ann. Both sons are professors at Calvin College, Carl in Film Studies and Harry in computer science; daughter, Jane Plantinga Pauw, is a pastor at Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Seattle, Washington, and his daughter, Ann Kapteyn, is a missionary in Cameroon working for Wycliffe Bible Translators.

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