The Success Story of John Van Hook '64
"There is never a day gone by that I do not realize the value of my MacMurray education. I had some wonderful mentors at Mac. I saw their hard work and devotion for us and have strived to pass that same devotion on to students."
John Van Hook started his college career at a large school in Texas and later transferred to MacMurray College. He remembered one of his high school teachers talking about her alma mater of MacMurray College. While at MacMurray, Van Hook was editor of the yearbook, on the Kendall House Council, and President and Student Director of the choir. He graduated in 1964 with a bachelor of music degree.
He obtained his master of arts in Music Education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1965. Van Hook then went to work for the Township High School District 211, Palatine, Illinois, before being drafted to Vietnam.
After serving his country, Van Hook returned to District 211 and in 1992, Van Hook was the recipient of the KOHL International Award for Exemplary Teaching. Van Hook was also awarded the Illinois Directors of Student Activities Distinguished Service Award in November 2000. This state-wide award recognized his commitment to academic excellence and his dedication to the school's activity program.
Van Hook retired in 2001 as the Department Chair of Music and Curriculum Coordinator of Music, which included five high schools in the District 211: James B. Conant, William Fremd, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, and Schaumburg. When he retired, the music suite at Schaumburg High School, Schaumburg, Illinois, was named after him and the mayor of Schaumburg declared it to be, "John Austin Van Hook Day."
In retirement, Van Hook has traveled to China, Spain, Norway, and has enjoyed an Alaskan cruise. For the last five years, he has served as the Minister of Music at Our Saviour's United Methodist Church in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Van Hook has sponsored the John Van Hook Award for Outstanding Campus Leadership at MacMurray College which is awarded each spring at the Honors Convocation to the overall Student Leader of the Year.
John has served as a member of the MacMurray College Board of Trustees since 2000 and was a former president of the MacMurray Alumni Association Board.