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Donald Cronkite

Obituary for Donald Cronkite

December 10, 1944 - March 15, 2017
Holland, Michigan | Age 72


Dr. Donald Cronkite, 72, of Holland, MI passed away on March 15, after many years of living with Parkinson's disease.

Professor Cronkite taught at Hope College for 32 years, offering classes in cell biology; embryology; genetics; introductory biology; evolution; history of biology; science and human values.

He was also known as the Academic Director of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation summer institutes for high school biology teachers at Princeton, University; Director of Hope College Howard Hughes programs for minority access to the sciences; Co-Principal Investigator for National Science Foundation high-school/college partnerships to enhance secondary school science education; and a science curriculum consultant to 21 different colleges.

Dr. Cronkite was a Member of the Hope College Board of Trustees, Campus Life Board, Religious Life Committee, Student Life Committee, and Library Planning Committee, and was founder of the Hope College A.J. Muste Memorial Committee to promote issues of peace and justice.

He had previously taught at the University of Redlands, Redlands, CA, and had been a visiting researcher at University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, San Juan Island, WA; Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, CO; University of Wisconsin Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Madison, WI; Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA; University of Maryland, College Park, MD; University of California, Santa Barbara, CA; Biological Institute of Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.

He was the author of several textbooks, including "Cells and Heredity," and "A Problem Based Guide to Basic Genetics." He published extensively in scientific journals, most notably regarding his paramecium research. He also wrote a popular series of articles for "Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought."
Awards and honors include: highest honor of National Association of Biology Teachers—Honorary Membership Award, 2008; National Evolution Education Award, 2006; Michigan Science Teachers Association, College Teacher of the Year, 2005; NABT Four-Year College Biology Teaching Award, 1995; Sears Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award, 1990-1991; Hope Outstanding Professor-Educator Award, Hope College, 1988; Commencement Speaker, Hope College, 1988; Distinguished Faculty Award, University of Redlands, 1976. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, an Eagle Scout, and belonged to the Order of the Arrow.

He also served as a member of a committee of the National Council of Churches working on issues of human genetic technology; Moderator of the Christian Action Commission of the Reformed Church in America; Elder and Vice President of the Consistory, First United Presbyterian Church, Redlands, CA and Third Reformed Church, Holland, MI.

Dr. Cronkite was the child of Altha and Charles "Ted" Cronkite, of Colorado Springs, CO.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, of Holland, MI; son Ethan, daughter-in-law Amy, grandchildren Ramona and Henry, of Oak Park, MI; son Joel, of Holland, MI; daughter Emily, son-in law Michael Coronado, and grandchild Lucy, of Belmont, CA.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 21, 7 pm, at Third Reformed Church, 111 West 13th Street, Holland, MI. Visitation is scheduled for Monday, March 20, 4 – 7 pm, at the Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home, 315 E. 16th Street, Holland, MI. Memorial donations may be made to the A.J. Muste Lecture Fund at Hope College, or to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • A.J. Muste Lecture Fund at Hope College
    141 East 12th Street
    Holland, MI 49423

Arrangements By

Langeland-Sterenberg Funeral Home

315 E 16th St
Holland, MI 49423
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