November 2015

One of the best things about last month is that I only boarded two airplanes. This meant that I had plenty of opportunities to see Calvin in action. I witnessed the work of countless alumni at ArtPrize; sat down to talk with the Chimes staff about journalism, including sharing with each other our favorite news sources; witnessed the Knights prevail against a series of MIAA opponents; and listened to students as they shared the results of their summer research. And at the end of the month, we recognized the achievements of alumni Nora Faber ’98, Anissa Eddie ’05, Kim Olthoff ’82 and Steven Wiersma ’83 during Homecoming Weekend’s Maroon & Gold Gala. Multiply these scenes by the thousands and you see Calvin in action. Thanks to all of you who help make a Calvin education possible for our students.


Calvin prepares the heart and mind for rigorous inquiry, always seeking God’s truth.

  • A new series on our website features insights from Calvin professors on some of the day’s most vexing topics, part of our mission to fearlessly engage with and boldly impact culture. In the most recent installment, social work professor Joe Kuilema explores the Syrian refugee crisis' impact on refugees and their sense of belonging.

  • A recent eclipse drew 170 people to the college’s observatory for a viewing party that included a look at an antique piece of equipment used to predict eclipses. The Botjes planetarium was built in 1868, donated to Calvin in 1992 and then restored by Clarence Menninga, professor of geology, emeritus. Calvin astronomy students use software to perform complex calculations, but professor Larry Molnar said software quickly becomes obsolete, unlike the Botjes planetarium. “This thing has run almost 150 years, and it still gives the right answer,” he said. “There’s something about a device that has that kind of longevity that is worth pondering.”

  • We have received official word that our bachelor of computer science program was reaccredited by our national accrediting agency with no deficiencies and no warnings. We also were honored last month to have professor Serita Nelesen and four of our female students attend the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, thanks to funding from members of the department’s Strategic Partners Council.


Calvin fosters communal connections that inspire wonder, curiosity and action.

  • Our Center Art Gallery has a new exhibition that will run through Jan. 16, 2016. “The Creative Process: Drawings, Plates, Prints and Watercolors by Reynold Weidenaar” features the work of one of Grand Rapids’ most talented and well-known artists, including more than 100 works of art that help illustrate his creative process. Concurrent with Calvin’s exhibition are a major retrospective exhibition at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

  • The Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve turned 30 last month and has a whole host of plans to celebrate that milestone. Since it began the preserve has expanded from 35 acres of old fields and a small landfill to 100 acres of forest and wetlands, and it has become a hub of extensive educational programming for people of all ages from near and far. Celebration events are ongoing and will culminate with an Earth Day seminar on April 22, 2016.

  • The Meeter Center for Calvin Studies is the recipient of a $135,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a three-week summer institute for college and university professors, to be held on Calvin’s campus from July 11–29, 2016. Program directors Karin Maag (Meeter Center/history department) and Kate van Liere (history department) will lead “Teaching the Reformation After Five Hundred Years” thanks to this government grant designed to foster excellence in undergraduate teaching in the humanities.


Calvin College equips students to think deeply, to act justly and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

  • Interested in what Calvin College on-campus worship looks like? All of our LOFT (Living Our Faith Together) worship services are archived online.

  • We have co-hosted neighborhood socials in recent weeks, including an ice cream social in the Ridgemoor neighborhood and a cider-and-donuts social in the Breton Village neighborhood. Calvin students and staff also pitched in to groom a trail near campus, work that had begun during StreetFest.

  • As part of National Campus Safety awareness month in September, our outstanding campus safety department provided all students and employees an opportunity to attend training on what to do in the event of an active shooter incident on campus. In this time of increased campus violence, we pray for peace, but we also prepare for all possibilities.


We are pursuing an environment of inclusive excellence, cultural competency and global awareness.

  • In early October our Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning hosted a conference at Calvin on “Faith and Teaching: Virtue, Practice, Imagination” with attendees coming from as far away as Australia and Indonesia. Almost 60 papers were presented on how to connect teaching and learning with a Christian imagination and with practices that foster virtues.

  • More than 400 Calvin students completed internships over the summer, not just in West Michigan or North America, but around the globe. Internship sites such as the Centers for Disease Control, Medical Team International in Uganda and HUB International gave Calvin students the opportunity to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.

Alumni and Parents

We are committed to building community among Calvin College alumni and friends around the world.

  • On November 12 I will speak as part of the Abraham Kuyper “Loving Every Square Inch” lecture series at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., at 8 p.m. in Council Chambers 111 Gilmour Hall on the McMaster campus. My talk is “The Idea of the University: Learning in a Broken World,” and Calvin alumni and friends are warmly invited to attend both the talk and a special reception. Before my talk my hosts have arranged for a semi-formal reception in the Great Hall at the McMaster University Faculty Club. Tickets are $30 each; the reception will begin at 6 p.m. and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Please contact Amanda Lemus at or 905-525-9140, x24207 for tickets.

  • Katelyn Beaty ’06 is Christianity Today’s managing editor, as well as the first female and youngest-ever to oversee the publication’s daily editorial operations. She’s also our nominee for the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities’ (CCCU) inaugural Young Alumni contest. I encourage you to read her story and the stories of young alums from our peer institutions in the CCCU. You can also cast your vote for the Young Alum of the year from Nov. 1-15.

  • The Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL) is an impressive organization of more than 2,000 senior learner-members (50 years or older) who wish to continue studying God’s amazing creation, from Shakespeare to iPads to flowers of the field. Any senior learner is welcome to become a member and have access to more than 50 courses per semester on the Calvin campus.
  • The Student Treat program is a great way for Calvin parents, grandparents and friends to encourage Calvin students. Orders for the Winter Exam Treat are due by Dec. 1.
  • Calvin’s alumni association is sponsoring an amazing array of travel experiences led by Calvin professors or alumni. Visit the cathedrals of England; the cities of Eastern Europe (Prague, Vienna and Budapest); Rome and the artistic cities of Italy with Calvin friends.


Our enrollment team is already hard at work recruiting the entering class for fall 2016, and you can help!

  • Once again, our admissions counselors are on the road visiting future Knights around the state, country, continent and the world. To see a schedule of regional events, or to find the counselor for your area, visit

  • What rising scholars do you know? Please recommend Calvin to these high school students, and recommend these students to Calvin! Our ReCommend One program has begun another season with strong participation from alumni, parents and friends. All you need to do is let us know who you’ve recommended to Calvin, and you’ll receive a free T-shirt as our way of saying thanks!

  • Join us in reminding high school seniors that NOW is the time to visit and apply. Students can apply for free until Dec. 1 (Jan. 1 for international and transfer students).

  • Wondering how to introduce Calvin to a student you know? Consider sending them to where a series of videos and stories will get them started thinking about their place at Calvin. Also prospective students are eligible for academic scholarships ranging from $8,000 to $18,000 annually, and we are introducing a $4,000 Legacy Award for incoming students who are Christian Reformed or children of alumni.


We will strengthen Calvin’s financial foundation for future generations.

  • The ongoing prioritization process at the college has involved cost reduction, reorganization and personnel reductions in every division of the college from the 2012-13 academic year to the present. One of the last steps in this process involved the academic division of the college, and a faculty task force submitted preliminary recommendations to Provost Cheryl Brandsen in late August. The provost then communicated the preliminary recommendations to the college's Planning and Priorities Committee (PPC) in late September and in mid-October our board of trustees held a special meeting and ratified the PPC recommendations. This final step includes the elimination of four majors (art history, Greek, Latin and theatre) and one minor (architecture). Calvin will retain minors in art history, Greek, Latin and theatre, and the Calvin Theatre Company will continue to be supported. The German department faculty were able to present to the provost a way forward using their allocated teaching resources that will allow the department to keep its major, contingent on the Educational Policy Committee’s approval of a revised plan for spring 2016 advising. We are thankful to be able to keep German as a major, but our gratitude is tempered by a sense of loss about what the reductions in programs will mean for us as a college. Please join me as you are able in praying for and supporting those directly affected by these decisions.


The fall 2015 sports season is in full swing with conference, regional and national championships on the line this month. Follow all of our teams, their schedules, their stories and more at

  • We have the privilege of hosting the 2015 NCAA Division III women's volleyball national championships from Nov. 19–21. Planning for championship week activities has included representatives from the NCAA, Experience GR, the West Michigan Sports Commission and various campus partners. Tickets are available through the Calvin Box Office or by calling 616-526-6282.

  • Six Calvin teams recently partnered with Cornerstone University on “Knight of Nets,” a fundraiser for malaria nets in countries where the disease is literally life and death. “Knight of Nets is one of the best things we do here at Calvin,” said men's soccer head coach Ryan Souders. Events included T-shirts for sale and a tailgater put on by our Calvin GameDay team.

  • Eight Calvin students were able to meet with NCAA president Dr. Mark Emmert recently. Those students included Ethan Brown (men’s lacrosse), David Dadzie (men’s track and field), Austin Parks (men’s basketball), Eric Brouwer (Calvin Game Day operations), Seth VanEngen (men’s basketball), Haley Frank (softball), Jessica Brasser (softball) and Lydia Gildea (softball). The athletes took part in a dinner conversation with Emmert, who was in town to speak to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

On a beautiful October day a small group of faculty, staff, family and friends gathered to plant a tree on campus in memory of Hessel “Bud” Bouma III. It was a day Bud would have loved. The brilliant, blue sky and the orange and red leaves of the surrounding maples all proclaimed God’s glory. As the rich earth was shoveled into place around the base of the redbud tree (a species many arborists hail for its splendid spring colors), biology professor Dave Warners read from an email he exchanged with Bud before his death about the selection of the tree. Bud had written: “Because I am likely to die in the spring, I’d like to have a memorial that captures just a little attention in the spring, a reminder of new life from the sodden soils of winter, just as we have new life in Jesus Christ.”

Bud’s words have stayed with me. They are a striking metaphor and a wonderful testimony to the promise of the resurrection. Fall is a time of harvest but also a time for planting, and even now Calvin faculty are planting seeds of knowledge, moral insight and wisdom. And while “the sodden soils of winter” can sometimes make it appear as though little is happening, in the spring, like witnessing the blooming of a redbud, we greet our graduates on the Commons Lawn, and the people our students have become captures our attention. This is the great joy of our service at Calvin. Thank you for supporting it.



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