Dispatches > Human Race
Shirley Hoogstra
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Shirley Hoogstra

Human Race


Issue: "Into thin air," Aug. 23, 2014


The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities announced Shirley Hoogstra will become its seventh president on Sept. 29. Hoogstra spent the last 15 years as the vice president for student life at Calvin College, following a 13-year legal career. She will assume office 11 months after the CCCU fired its president, Edward Blews, 10 months into his tenure. She faces major challenges, including sagging financial support and increasing government encroachment on Christian higher education.


President Barack Obama on July 29 tapped David Saperstein, a Jewish rabbi, to become the new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, a post vacant since October 2013. Saperstein, the first chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, would be the first non-Christian to serve in the role—pending approval by the Senate. Most Christian and conservative leaders praised the nomination, but some expressed concern that Saperstein, who is pro-abortion, supports President Obama’s domestic agenda. 


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Residents of Toronto, Canada, have rallied to support the parents of 7-month-old triplets who were born with a rare form of eye cancer. Richard and Leslie Low learned they would need regular access to SickKids Hospital in Toronto—more than 1,600 miles from their home in Edmonton, Alberta—so they posted online a request for affordable housing. Two days later, they’d received more than 1,000 responses. The Low’s three boys, Luke, Mason, and Thomas, have retinoblastoma.


The last living crewman of the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima died on July 28 of natural causes. Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, 93, died at his Georgia home almost exactly 69 years after he navigated the Enola Gay on the day it catapulted the world into the nuclear era. The 9,700-pound bomb killed more than 140,000 persons and led to the Japanese surrender nine days later. Van Kirk said he had no regrets about the mission. After the war Van Kirk earned an engineering degree and worked for DuPont until 1985. 


Former President George W. Bush, 68, shocked the political world on July 31 when he unveiled a new book about his father, former President George H.W. Bush, 90. To ensure secrecy, the younger Bush worked without a contract on the book and told only family and friends about the project. The biography, which releases Nov. 11, marks the first time a U.S. president has written about another president. 


Former White House press secretary James Brady, who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan, died Aug. 4 at the age of 73. In 1981 John Hinckley opened fire outside a Washington hotel, injuring Brady, Reagan, and two others. Brady, along with his wife, Sarah, spent decades pushing for greater gun control and inspired the 1993 Brady Bill, the law requiring background checks for gun purchases.


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