February 2016

Almost every day in January I hustled from meetings on and off campus to the 12:30 p.m. January Series lecture in the Covenant Fine Arts Center. Hearing from nationally and internationally recognized speakers such as David Brooks, Jill Dougherty and Eboo Patel as well as homegrown faculty talent like Kurt VerBeek, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Alvin Plantinga, Richard Mouw and George Marsden made for a very rich month for me.

By the second week of the series I noticed a student, Jana Dykhuis, sitting in the same seat every day! I met Jana a few years ago when she served as a worship apprentice, and it was great to catch up with her again as she made the time to attend each day. Indeed she told me that her January goal had been daily attendance so that she could continue to deepen and broaden her learning. Jana is a great example of the motivated and engaged students we are privileged to serve every day, and the January Series helps our students to establish patterns of curiosity and conviction for lifelong learning. Thanks to our speakers, sponsors, faculty and staff who make this series possible!


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

  • Interim is an amazing time on and off the Calvin campus with a wide variety of intriguing educational offerings available to our 4,000 students. During interim we celebrate the spirit of intellectual curiosity that permeates the Calvin campus and curriculum, and in 2016 we marked 50 years of such exploration. Already back in 1966 when a committee was formed to discuss and approve interim programs the group agreed that the objective of interim was to create a time during which students and faculty could “study materials, topics, problems and relationships which usually remain unexplored in the semester courses… and to study them in ways in which the formal structure of the semester usually precludes.” Now, half a century later, interim continues to provide such opportunities to our students and faculty.
  • Focusing on today’s headlines through a Reformed lens is the way Calvin thought leaders fearlessly engage with and boldly impact culture. Ahead of the Iowa Caucus, political science professor Doug Koopman offered his thoughts on who will emerge as the GOP’s nominee and what ultimately will make the difference. His insights are worth reading.


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

  • A new book, Teaching and Christian Imagination, emerged from four years of rich discussions among an interdisciplinary team of our faculty: David Smith (education), Susan Felch (English), Barbara Carvill (German), Kurt Schaefer (economics), Tim Steele (music) and John Witvliet (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship). It encourages teachers to ask questions, and it asks teachers to think deeply about their vision for education.
  • Stephen Monsma, senior research fellow at Calvin’s Paul B. Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics, saw his recent book, Free to Serve, recognized by the editors of Christianity Today as one of the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought and culture in the new year. The book presents a principled pluralist vision for religious freedom for faith-based organizations of all religious traditions.


Student life at Calvin is a journey where students engage in experiences that broaden the mind, strengthen the body and inspire the spirit.

  • How do we know God’s will? This is a question asked regularly by college students, but for many Christians it’s a lifelong query. This spring, Campus Ministries is sponsoring a six-session study of the topic using All the Places to Go: How Will You Know? by John Ortberg. The study guides are online and the study began this week. Please join us!
  • In January our Bob Crow, dean of student development, was inducted into the Mercer County Hall of Fame in Pennsylvania. A profile of Bob in the local newspaper said simply: “Bob Crow was one of the top high school and college all-around athletes ever at Grove City High School and Grove City College,” noting that after college he played two summers of basketball with Athletes in Action and then played professionally in France where he was named Player of the Year. Congratulations Bob!


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

  • There and Back: Living & Learning Abroad by Calvin’s off-campus program director Donald DeGraaf is the latest release from the Calvin College Press. Featuring stories from Calvin students who have participated in interim and semester study-abroad programs, as well as practical advice and interactive questions, the book helps readers become pilgrims rather than mere tourists as they prepare for and experience the joys and challenges of travel.

Alumni and Parents

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

  • We often joke about the Calvin-Hope rivalry on campus. In reality there are many partnerships and collaborative efforts that mark the relationship between the schools. However, there are a few occasions during the year when we delight in the competition. The 193rd edition of the men’s basketball contest (“The Rivalry”) will be shown at 75 locations in North America on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. EST. I enjoyed my time with fans in Bradenton, Fla., last year and know how fun these gatherings can be. Check out www.calvinhope.com to see where you can catch the game live near you.
  • I am a big proponent of learning through study abroad, and I encourage our students to “get global” while at Calvin. The Calvin Alumni Association and CALL (the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) sponsors a series of exciting travel experiences each year, and they are open to all Calvin friends. In 2016, there are opportunities to tour the cathedrals of England, the cities of Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and some of the U.S. national parks.
  • Our graduates have accomplished impressive things as they serve as “agents of renewal” in God’s Kingdom. If you have a Calvin graduate to nominate for one of our annual awards—someone you think we should know about as they serve God and others, living out the college’s mission—email the alumni office at alumni@calvin.edu and share with us. We want to tell their stories!


Calvin is a community that thinks deeply, acts justly and lives wholeheartedly.

  • The start of the new year also marks a change in focus for our enrollment management team. Our efforts to date have been to build the applicant and admit pool for fall 2016, and we rejoice in record numbers. So far, nearly 4,000 students have applied to Calvin and more than 2,000 have been admitted! It is especially encouraging to see significant growth in the number of applications from Christian Reformed Church members, sons and daughters of alumni, and AHANA (Asian, Hispanic/Latino, African and Native American) students. Now our focus begins to shift to encouraging deposits from those who have been admitted. To that end, we are moving forward with an extensive slate of communications and events to encourage prospective students to make Calvin their college choice. We take no one for granted in this process. Andrea and I are actively involved in hosting student groups at our home and meeting them where they are. Here is how you can help: A word of encouragement from family or friends can make all the difference to a student on the fence. Please recommend Calvin!


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

  • Through classes, exams, essays, research projects, dorm outings, late-night conversations, LOFT worship, Bible studies, service projects, internships, interim trips and semesters abroad, God is telling an incredible story through every student at Calvin. This year, more than 11,000 Calvin College alumni, friends and supporters have given gifts to the Calvin Annual Fund to help make those stories possible—and it’s not too late for you to join that supportive community. Give a transformative gift today.
  • Dr. Bernard Klamer, a 1950 graduate of Calvin, went on to earn a PhD in biochemistry at Michigan State and then had a long career that included pharmaceutical research and clinical drug trials in many countries around the globe. His wife, Lorraine Goris Klamer, was a graduate of the Calvin nursing program and spent many years working as a nurse and as a strong advocate for those with rheumatoid arthritis (which she had most of her adult life before she passed away from ALS at the young age of 59). Now, via a $1 million estate gift, their family has set up scholarships at Calvin for students in nursing, biology, and chemistry and biochemistry, established endowments to support research opportunities for students and faculty and provided significant support for programs that will create meaningful experiences for our students as they prepare to be agents of reconciliation and renewal in our world. We are so grateful to be able to pay tribute to Bernard and Lorraine in this way as we seek to make a Calvin education affordable and accessible to future generations.


The winter 2015-16 sports season is in full swing. Follow all of our teams, their schedules, their stories and more at calvinknights.com.

  • If you want to stay up-to-date on Calvin College athletics, the most timely way to do so is to sign up for the Calvin Sports Report, a regular recap of Calvin games, awards and more that comes straight to your email inbox.
  • In a recent piece on our News & Stories website, Calvin kinesiology professor and men’s golf coach Brian Bolt, one of the thought leaders behind the "Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life," was interviewed about the role sports should play in the Christian life.
  • If you’ve ever wondered who the people behind the scenes in the Calvin athletics department are, or wanted to find out more about a coach, the Calvin Athletics Directory is a great source of info with phone numbers, email addresses, descriptive biographies and much more.

As I rushed in and out of our house during January my eyes kept falling on a fragment of a prayer by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that Andrea keeps posted near her computer: “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” As I rushed from one thing to another last month this prayer both encouraged and chastened me. We live in an age of immediate gratification and instant communication. Trusting in the slow work of God is actually the antithesis of the way that most of us live. And yet, the work of a Reformed Christian college—renewing minds, shaping character, cultivating deep faith and building community—depends on the slow work of God. We overlook an important truth when we forget that. The slow work of God makes rough stones smooth, grows the mighty redwood and forms all of us as followers of Christ. I am grateful to you all for your prayers, support, patience and encouragement as we participate in this slow work.



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