Gary Van Zinderen is a seasoned Student Affairs professional who is passionate about helping individuals realize their full potential. As a educational professional, Gary has been responsible for cultivating a campus environment that fosters opportunities for students to exchange ideas and challenge themselves in meaningful ways.
With an understanding that personal growth requires both personal challenge and self-reflection, Gary is a major advocate for athletics, fitness, and the outdoors. He is particularly fond of golf, fishing, and hunting — three activities that he has enjoyed ever since he was a kid.
Growing up in Minnesota, Gary and his family would spend the summer at their lakeside cabin. During these beautiful summer months, he had the ability to really get in touch with nature. It became a place where he could recharge and be at peace. Gary and his father frequently bonded while fishing out on the lake, helping him to develop a real appreciation for the balance of life. He also credits his development into an independent thinker with strong interpersonal skills to the lack of television and internet access.
Nowadays, Gary Van Zinderen can frequently be found out on the golf course with family, friends, and colleagues. He was drawn to golf because the game perfectly mirrors the challenges, joys, struggles, and euphoria of everyday life. No two games of golf — and no two days of life — are ever truly the same.
- Competitive 100%
- Creative 90%
- Focused 95%
Fortune favors the prepared mind.Louis Pasteur
Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots— but you have to play the ball here it lies.Bobby Jones
Improving as a golfer is a lifelong affair that challenges you physically and mentally. Gary is driven by the internal competitiveness to improve each day and the educational process to learn how to approach new situations.
As a professional whose job is to help others maximize their full potential, Gary believes that athletics and the outdoors have allowed him to stay flexible and look at things from different perspectives. He always tells his students that they need to be prepared for when a life-changing opportunity presents itself. You do not know when it will arise, but you always need to be ready for when it does. That is why Gary is such a major advocate for his students to find these outlets for daily challenge and self-reflection — whether it is on the golf course, the lake, soccer field, basketball court, or some place else.
Furthermore, engaging with others through the common bond of athletics allows you to strengthen your network of friends. In addition to the inner competitiveness and reflection, Gary understands the importance of building emotional bonds with other humans.
Health involves much more than just physical ability; mental and emotional strength is equally important. Golf has allowed Gary Van Zinderen to develop as an individual in each of these three key areas.
The people who achieve the highest levels of success are the ones that open up about their problems and seek help from others. Athletics provide a natural environment where you can work off stress and open up about the challenges in your life.
In addition to the great appreciation of the outdoors, Gary has honed his skills in the kitchen ever since living on his own in college. There is a creative process that is associated with cooking that allows for imagination, experimentation, and balance that is revealed through the process of preparing and serving an elegant meal. Many dishes that Gary creates have basic recipes to begin with but the challenge and art of mastering a dish is the process of personalizing and growing a meal that is reflective of the cook themselves.
Gary appreciates the full process of meal preparation from deciding what to make, gathering the freshest ingredients, to experiencing the first aromas that develop. For Gary, cooking is a social endeavor that is best experienced as a team or group. The fun is in the creation and social connections experienced by all who part-take in the process.
New ideas and possibilities are developed when people work together trying new ideas that one may not have thought of alone. No dish is ever quite the same, and the memories that are associated become as individual as the meal itself. The culmination can be a delicious and satisfying meal that is shared best among friends.
If you are interested in learning more about my appreciation for cooking, please check out my cooking blog here!