For nearly a decade, Brent Kooi has worked with Belhaven students, first as Resident Director and then as Dean of Student Life. Through a series of events, including a gospel choir mission trip to Japan in 2007, Brent is leaving BC for the mission field. He says, “I thought I’d retire in Student Development–being a missionary was never in the plans.” Over a period of about a year, it became clear to Brent that being a missionary was indeed in God’s plans, and his time at BC drew to a close.
Brent laughs when asked what makes BC unique. Since he knows the campus well, I’m sure he’s had his share of unique BC moments. But he doesn’t say “Dr. Kenyon’s mono-syllabic laugh” or even “the craze that comes over the campus during ‘Gotcha.’” He surprises me with this: “Belhaven’s unique because it is solidly Christian in curriculum and programs, yet there are so many opportunities for outreach and ministry on campus.”
As an RD, Brent had the opportunity to reach out to the Resident Assistants, as well as the students in his residence hall. He says his favorite memories are of “the late night talks at one or two a.m. that I’d have with guys in the residence hall.”
One of the RAs that Brent influenced was Greg Hawkins, class of 2005. In fact, Greg returned to BC shortly after graduation to work as an RD for Brent, who was Dean of Student Life by then. Three more years led to the culmination of Brent’s impact and Greg’s heart for students: Greg was named Dean of Students upon Brent’s departure! Greg says that he learned a lot from Brent, and he hopes “to foster an environment where students are able to grow in wisdom and awareness while discovering their calling.”
As Brent passes the torch to one of his own former RAs, his work has come full circle, and to me, it’s the embodiment of the Belhaven mission to prepare students academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers, in human relationships, and in the world of ideas.
To follow his journey to Japan, check out Brent’s blog.