Gordon Alderink retired in December after 37 years at Grand Valley.
After nearly four decades of service, Gordon Alderink, associate
professor of physical therapy, retired in December.
In addition to teaching, Alderink volunteered as the Laker baseball
team’s pitching coach for 23 years. He said he loved it so much he
didn’t need to be paid, and was grateful his teaching schedule allowed
him time to coach.
“It was unbelievable that I could coach and teach," he said.
"I was so lucky because I did two things that I really like to
do, and I could do it in the same place.”
In 2003, Alderink was named director of the biomechanics research
lab, when the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences building opened.
He remained the lab director until stepping down a few months ago.
Alderink said his colleagues were a big part of what made his time at
Grand Valley so enjoyable.
“We have such a collegial group of faculty,” Alderink said. “I feel
like they're my best friends. It’s sort of funny to say that, I mean
we’re professional colleagues, but I consider them my best friends.”
Alderink also has respect and admiration for his students.
“The students are unbelievable. It’s hard to get into our program.
Our students are amazingly gifted, academically,” Alderink said. “They
work so hard. We get feedback from our clinical sites, and our
students represent themselves and the university unbelievably well.”
Before teaching at Grand Valley, Alderink worked as a physical
therapist for four years at the University of Michigan Hospital and
then for two years at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti.
That experience prepared Alderink for teaching orthopedic and sports
physical therapy, with a secondary expertise in manual physical
therapy. He also taught biomechanics and assisted in education
courses. Alderink has been a part of Grand Valley for nearly as long
as the physical therapy department itself.
“When I came here in 1984, the program was only in its second year,”
Alderink said. “We were a baccalaureate program at the time, but then
that turned to a master's and then a doctorate program. Our first
doctorate class was in 2003.”
Alderink also taught general education courses for the Frederik
Meijer Honors College and several humanities courses.
“It was a really refreshing time because I met other people on campus
in the arts and humanities,” Alderink said. “When you're teaching in
the health science programs, you don’t have time to interact with
anybody. It was really a breath of fresh air, and I made lots of new
friends over here on the Allendale Campus.”