Ninety Years Old at Menlo College

Menlo College Professor Emeritus Jan Dykstra celebrated his 90th birthday on January 14, 2015! Still a campus resident, he attributes his longevity to the influence of students at the College. “It’s all due to the youthful influence of the students,” he smiles. He was hired in 1963 as a professor of language and social sciences. “I was given a little apartment on campus,” he remembers, “and dorm supervision was assigned as part of my duties. I had to stop a party more than once!”

Dykstra recalls that even in the 60s, Menlo was very much a family. “Our philosophy was in loco parentis, meaning ‘instead of parents,’ and so we managed everything from broken love affairs to discipline problems.”

Michael Lilly ’66 remembers Professor Dykstra as one of the best professors Menlo College has ever produced, and a peerless student mentor.” Lilly and Dykstra have worked closely together to establish a generous scholarship endowment for Menlo College students.

Professor Dykstra continues to mentor, tutor and advise students. At his birthday party on campus, his stories had us captivated.  The tales included descriptions of the 17th and 18th century Anglo-Dutch, his 20th century encounter with actress Elizabeth Taylor, his 21st century interactions with Menlo College students – and more.

Hats off to Professor Dykstra!