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"Everything in your life will change except the Lord. He is always faithful."—Class of '52 

President's Message

Marching Confidently

I am most grateful that, with all of the uncertainties in our world and the many challenges facing us, our community worship and prayer was vibrant. From the daily feeding of meaningful chapel services, and the inspiration of the Sunday LOFT services, to the Scripture Memory Challenge from Chaplain Dale Cooper, and the creative new Jazz Vespers program, we were strengthened daily. With all of our allusions this year to "Crossing" (as in the name of the new pedestrian overpass, "Calvin's Crossing,") and "Stepping" (as in the "Stepping East" construction projects across the East Beltline), I am compelled to add one more active movement to that sequence: "Marching."

There's a catchy South African spiritual —"Siyahamba"— that when translated declares, "We are marching in the light of God." When we graduate our students—our "agents of renewal" —we expect them to be marching forward in God's light. The stories we hear almost daily from our alumni give us confidence that we are preparing them for just such a life of exciting service in many corners of God's Kingdom.

But this preparation for the march is not without its dangers and concerns. I am particularly concerned with our increased difficulty of competing with other schools that have far greater resources to recruit and keep the finest faculty members—a hallmark of Calvin's teaching-rich history. We need to do better, and that takes significant financial support from alumni and friends. And as we complete the first stage of the "Stepping East" endeavor, there are other pressing needs for student development—a new Wellness Center and a refurbished Commons to give us, at long last, a student union for building campus community.

We have enlisted a tremendously talented array of volunteers to partner with us on this journey. The 31-member Board of Trustees, capably led by Milwaukee businessman (and Distinguished Alumnus) Milt Kuyers, has been visioning for Calvin's future. The 23-member Alumni Association Board has been very hard at work developing new lines of communication between the college and its graduates. Recently, an emerging group of Regional Councils, developed along geographical lines and including friends of Calvin with specific personal and professional expertise, has been advising me about various aspects of the college's programs.

To continue the march, Calvin will need more assistance from a wider group of persons who hold the mission of the college close to heart. You can join us in many ways, by referring prospective students to our admissions office, providing student internships at your business and making Calvin a giving priority in the coming years. We are prayerfully considering a major campaign to make certain we are financially capable of maintaining our academic excellence—in teaching, scholarship, spiritual development and student life. We'll need every alum and Calvin friend to help.

We ended this incredible year with an inspiring Commencement address by communications professor Randy Bytwerk, who surveyed the 50-year Class of 1952 and then "predicted the future" of the graduating Class of 2002.

Dr. Bytwerk said to the seniors: "On a day in May in the year 2052, the Lord willing, many of you will return to Calvin College. You will wear the 50-year medallion. You will see the vigorous faces of the Class of 2052 and wonder how time passed so quickly. You will have raised families and will see some of your grandchildren in front of you. You will have served God and His church, built careers, traveled far and wide, taken pleasure in the Creation and much more. Some of you will have endured things you cannot now conceive of enduring. And most of you, like most of the Class of 1952, will be proudest not of what you have done for your own reputation or standing, but of what you have done to advance the Kingdom of God."

Amen. And so we march on, in His marvelous light.

Gaylen J. Byker
     Gaylen J. Byker


Three Calvin presidents lead the walk across the new overpass.
Three Calvin presidents lead the walk across the new overpass.
The new DeVos Communication Center opened this fall.
The new DeVos Communication Center opened this fall.
The new Prince Conference Center
The new Prince Conference Center
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