When Illinois native Tim VanDoorn chose Lakeland College, he decided to embrace the private school experience and participate fully in student life.
He joined track and field as a thrower, participated in music as a trombonist and served on the executive board of the student activities committee. He reached out to the football coaching staff, asked how he could help and was named team manager.
“Whatever was going on, I tried to get involved,” says the 2015 grad. “Lakeland College was a great fit for me. Had I gone to a bigger school, I wouldn’t have experienced all of the things I did at Lakeland.”
VanDoorn is still experiencing new things. Earlier this week, the Howards Grove High School assistant track and field coach guided the school’s throwers at a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association regional meet.
“All of our kids improved and all of them met their personal goals, so I’m really proud of them,” says VanDoorn. “I’ve really enjoyed helping them discover that reaching their potential in athletics will provide them with life lessons that will help them down the road.”
As an undersized thrower at Lakeland, the 5-foot-8-inch, 215-pound VanDoorn competed against much larger men. He took that disadvantage in stride and continually improved over four years.
VanDoorn, who graduated with a degree in exercise science and sport studies, is also passionate about Special Olympics. His sister, Sara, is autistic, and for the past four years, he has helped coach her Special Olympics track and field team.
“I want to be involved with this organization until the day I die,” VanDoorn told The Mirror, Lakeland’s student news publication, earlier this year.
VanDoorn’s career goal is to become an athletic director. In the meantime, he’s got a couple of solid summer jobs lined up as he continues to look for a full-time career. Graduating from Lakeland was “bittersweet,” he says, because he’s proud of the accomplishment but nostalgic about his time here.
“I really enjoyed the great camaraderie with my peers at Lakeland, and I had a great connection with my professors. My advisor, ‘Coach A’ (April Arvan, associate professor of exercise science and sport studies), is like family. And that’s how Lakeland is – one great big family.”