Tributes Pour in for Dr Jan-Albert Dop Who Received Royal Decoration for Services to Education
Tributes pour in for Dr Jan-Albert Dop Who Received Royal Decoration for Services to Education
Dr Jan-Albert Dop, Vice-President Corporate Affairs at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, decorated for his decades-long service to Dutch education, has passed away at the age of 75. Dop, who was a highly regarded intellectual in the education sector, received a royal decoration last spring in the run-up to King's Day. Colleagues at Wittenborg have expressed their condolences to his family.
Dop was born on 2 April 1945 in Rotterdam. He passed away on Sunday, 31 January, after a short illness. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Myrna, their two children and four grandchildren.
The sad news was announced to colleagues by Wittenborg's chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, who said: "We have known Jan-Albert since the time that we were still in Deventer, after Maggie Feng and I became members of the executive. At the time he advised us about our future development, as member of the Commission for International Students in the Netherlands, during our restructuring of the school. JA, as we knew him, was instrumental in bringing Wittenborg to the attention of Apeldoorn's council, which led to our move here and the founding of Wittenborg as it is today. Over the years, Maggie and I have become firm friends with Jan-Albert and his wife Myrna, and JA has been involved in numerous accreditations and education developments at Wittenborg. He was always enthusiastically involved in social events with students and staff and present at graduation ceremonies. Jan-Albert was always a most correct and ethically minded person; however, he would also be sharply critical, especially of decisions by 'officialdom' in the Netherlands that he perceived (often correctly) would have a detrimental effect on Dutch Higher Education. We will miss Jan-Albert greatly, and I think that his passing is a loss for all of Dutch Higher Education, and especially internationalisation."
Professor Ron Tuninga, Wittenborg's Vice-President: Academic Affairs, said: "It is sad to lose such a wonderful colleague. I enjoyed working with him and will remember his positive outlook. We wish his family and friends strength in this difficult time."
The Director of New European College, Wittenborg's partner institute in Munich, Sasha Liebhardt, said: "His tranquillity and wisdom was very inspiring. My sincere condolences to his family."
Dop, who has been involved with Wittenborg since 2009, was appointed as Vice-President: Corporate Affairs two years ago. He worked largely on how Wittenborg is profiled vis-à-vis the Dutch government, other authoritative bodies in the education sector, as well as other institutions of higher education. At the time he said: “As an education institute, you get all sorts of information thrown at you by government authorities and you have to formulate a response to that. For example, changes in the regulatory environment.” As part of his job he also penned opinion pieces on education.
At the end of April last year, Dop received his second national honour - as Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau - after being made a Member of the Order 15 years ago. Something he was very proud of, calling it "pretty amazing".
While his first decoration was for various volunteer work, the second one was for his work in education – among others for the National Commission for the Code of Conduct for International Students (representing the private higher education organisation NRTO) as well as various universities like Webster in Leiden and universities of applied sciences like Wittenborg, the University of Applied Sciences of The Hague and the Hogeschool voor Tolken en Vertalen (a higher education institute for official translators).
Life as a Student and Early Career
Dop, who was born in the Netherlands and lived in Leiderdorp near Leiden, started his own university career as an international student in the US as a Fulbright student at Ursinus College in Philadelphia as part of a select group of foreign students. He spoke six languages – Dutch, English, French, German, Russian and a little Swedish.
After the US, he obtained his doctorate in Cultural History from Leiden University and started his career mainly in the business sector. He worked for many international companies, such as Heineken and McKinsey & Company, representing the company in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris. At Heineken he worked from 1992 – 1996 as Head of Internal and External relations as well as Change Manager, forming part of the management and the corporate strategy team.
About halfway through his career, Webster University opened a branch campus in Leiden where Dop lived and eventually he became a director at Webster and also actively involved in the NRTO (Netherlands Council for Training and Education - sector representative for private Higher Education in the Netherlands).
A Funeral service will be held for Dop on Friday 5th February.
by Anesca Smith