For nearly seven years, Calvin alumni Elsa Prince Broekhuizen and Milt Kuyers helped guide the Campaign for Calvin College. They initially offered ideas and strategy for campaign planning and implementation, and during the “leadership gift” phase—from 2003 to 2007—they worked behind the scenes, encouraging major gift support for the college.
Following the September 2007 public launch of the campaign, however, their roles were evident. Beginning in February 2008 they attended regional campaign events throughout the country in cities where there are concentrations of Calvin alumni. At 19 regional campaign events, from February 2008 to June 2009, either Milt or Elsa, and often both—along with Milt’s wife, Carol Winkelhorst Kuyers—participated in campaign programs coast to coast. Their travels were a contribution to the college reflecting their appreciation for Calvin and desire that it remain a strong, Christ-centered, liberal arts college.
Milt and Elsa’s dedication to campaign leadership significantly affected the success of the comprehensive campaign for Calvin. This achievement is evident in new campus facilities; increased endowment for scholarships and financial aid, faculty research, centers and institutes; and campus sustainability—all components of the campaign for Calvin.
June 30, 2009, marked the conclusion of the second comprehensive fund-raising campaign in Calvin’s history, titled No Greater Task: Hearts and Minds Renewing God’s World. With gratitude we acknowledge God’s rich blessings on the college throughout the several years of the campaign. We also acknowledge the faithful support of hundreds of Calvin alumni and friends who offered prayers, volunteer assistance and financial gifts and served as ambassadors for the college. And we especially acknowledge Elsa Prince Broekhuizen and Milt Kuyers’ extraordinary campaign leadership as they devoted many years helping to ensure the health of the college for generations to come.
The February 2009 dedication of the new Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex featured hymns and speakers; free hot dogs, popcorn and potstickers; and greetings from Joust, the new Calvin mascot. Visitors toured the 4,500-seat arena, looked over the 50-meter pool, wandered the new classrooms and locker rooms, and climbed the 40-by-80-foot climbing wall. And President Byker quoted Psalm 127:1: “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
“We know that it was the Lord who provided for this new fieldhouse complex,” Byker told the crowd of around 1,000 people gathered in the arena. “Building this fieldhouse complex was a massive undertaking, but it was undertaken with prayer from the start.”
Then he shared a little history on the project, a key component of the Campaign for Calvin College. Before construction even began on the $50 million facility, members of the health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport department prayed in various corners of the original fieldhouse. “Their prayers reflect the mission of this college,” he said. “This fieldhouse isn’t just about basketball, volleyball and swimming. This fieldhouse is about the whole community.”
Glen Van Andel, the recreation professor emeritus who co-chaired the fieldhouse committee, was grateful to a particular group in that community: the donors whose gifts created the fieldhouse. “The thing that struck me was the satisfaction that they had in seeing their gifts developed and used,” he said. “It was a very special occasion to celebrate their gifts with them.”
At some point during the May 9 concert, Calvin orchestra conductor Robert Nordling realized something about the musicians gathered on the Fine Arts Center auditorium stage: “There were people sitting on that stage who were on that stage when the Fine Arts Center first opened,” he said, “and there were people sitting on that stage who will be in the Fine Arts Center when it reopens—and they were sitting next to each other.”
Nordling conducted four ensembles that night: the Calvin Orchestra, the Calvin Alumni Orchestra, the Campus Choir and Capella. The event, titled “A Concert of Covenant,” was a farewell to the venerable auditorium, which has hosted myriad concerts, plays, recitals, January Series lectures and other events since it opened in the fall of 1966. “For over 40 years, this building has been the front window of Calvin College,” Nordling said of the center.
The concert title referenced the future name of the venue, which is due to open in fall 2010 as the Covenant Fine Arts Center. The re-envisioned center will encompass a new recital hall, practice spaces, instrument storage, a music library and a new art gallery within its 124,000 square feet. Renovations will significantly enhance the auditorium’s décor and its acoustics.
The final concert, Nordling said, celebrated the old auditorium and looked forward to the new one: “There are a lot of people who have powerful memories and associations with that space.”
In the DeVos Communication Center television studio, a clip of the student-produced sports interview show Beyond the Game plays on the monitors. “You can see the threads on Bruce’s sweater,” comments communication arts and sciences professor Brian Fuller, pointing at on-screen host Bruce Van Baren. “There’s no escape from a high-definition camera.”
Fuller, professor of the “Advanced Media Production” class that created the show, said that producing video capable of such meticulous detail has forced the class to a new level of sensitivity: “I keep asking myself, and I keep asking my students, ‘How do we charitably shoot people in HD?’”
This sensitivity is necessary because in the summer of 2008, the DeVos studio underwent a high-resolution upgrade, adding HD cameras, switchers, graphics generators, disc recorders, monitors, servers, routers, fiber equipment, editing software and a projector. “We are using broadcast-quality HD,” said Fuller. “This isn’t something you just go to Circuit City and buy.”
The upgrade, funded by the technology portion of the Campaign for Calvin College, allows Calvin to air its programs—both student-produced shows and programs such as Inner Compass—to PBS stations around the country. The nationwide digital conversion, said DeVos chief engineer Jake Bosmeijer, has made the transformation necessary. “There’s a giant hunger for television stations to find high-definition material,” he said.
Students helped install the HD equipment, Fuller said: “Which is good because a career in media production is about constantly updating yourself and your production.”
An art education professor originally from Canada and a communications professor originally from Peru joined colleagues from Christian colleges and universities last summer for a trip to Indonesia. The excursion was part of a new collaboration between Calvin College’s Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Calvin’s Jo-Ann Van Reeuwyk, art education professor and a fiber artist, and Daniel Garcia, communication arts and sciences professor and filmmaker, participated in the pilot project, called Christianity and the Visual Arts.
In Indonesia the North American artists connected with leaders of the Asian Christian Artists Association, learning more about each other as artists and Christians.
“Meeting the people was the highlight: seeing how they navigate their culture as Christians, but also seeing how they struggle,” Garcia said. “They live in vastly different circumstances from us. Yet you come together to realize each others’ differences and to be enriched by each others’ differences. But we also have a common faith and a common passion for art.”
Van Reeuwyk agreed: “I think some were a little nervous about putting a bunch of artists together, but I think that’s actually the best group of people you could put together. We bonded on a faith level—we could openly talk about our religion as artists—but we also were all visual artists in orientation, so we responded to each other and to what we were seeing.”
Nagel Institute director Joel Carpenter said the goal of the project was to push North American Christian scholars into the new Christian frontiers of the global South and East. The hope, he said, in sending North American Christian artists to work with their Asian counterparts was to inspire artists on both continents to express the new global character of Christianity.
Carolina Martinez first attended Calvin in the summer of 2004. She was a high school junior enrolled in the Entrada Scholars Program, and she took a psychology course. “I thought it was one of the most interesting courses I’d ever heard of—just to be able to learn about people and how they interact with each other,” Martinez said.
This spring Martinez graduated from Calvin. Though she has been accepted to medical school, her career path is undetermined. “I know I’ve always had a passion for working with people,” she said.
She nurtured that passion during her four years at Calvin, studying both psychology and the sciences. Martinez has a particular interest in the study of depression. “I’ve known quite a few people who have suffered from depression,” she said. “There definitely is that stigma attached to it. People don’t always realize it’s a medical illness.”
Martinez’ four years of tuition were funded, in part, by three of Calvin’s 550 endowed scholarships: the Arvin and Pearl Tap Family Scholarship, the Dr. and Mrs. Harvey J. Bratt Medical Missions Scholarship and the Dr. Glenn Van Dommelen Family Medical Scholarship.
Alumni and friends of the college establish endowed scholarships, which last year accounted for $2.4 million in aid to 1,200 Calvin students. They are a vital part of the Campaign for Calvin College, said Lois Konyndyk, Calvin’s director of foundation relations. “It’s a wonderful thing for the college because it allows us to reach out to all sorts of students,” Konyndyk said. “And it’s a wonderful thing for donors.”
One of the current Calvin students who landed a National Science Foundation (NSF) Scientific Computation Scholarship will create a 3-D, Web-based model of Umm el-Jimal, an archaeological site in Jordan. Another will work in biocomputing and a third in bioengineering.
Several of the incoming Calvin students who have won the scholarships, however, are undecided about their fields of study. “They don’t know if they’re going to be biologists or chemists or physicists,” said Randall Pruim, the director of the Calvin’s Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI), which grants the awards. “And even the ones who think they know will have a chance to change their minds if they find something that interests them when they get here.”
The scholarships—drawn from a $581,000 NSF grant—enable the ISRI to create a cohort of students who will combine computation with one of the traditional sciences. “The folks at the National Science Foundation are interested in funding these things because it’s a national need,” said Pruim of integrating science with computation. “And we think Calvin is well- positioned to meet the need.”
The ISRI was founded in 2008 through a $1.1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to provide these types of interdisciplinary opportunities in the sciences. Though the scholarship program is being used to recruit incoming students with a scientific bent, Pruim said, plenty of current science majors are interested as well: “We’ve had students come to us and say, ‘That’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to do.’”
“There are seven panels, and that’s Honduran mahogany,” Larry Gerbens ’69 told the visitor who was scrutinizing Prodigal, a wooden vase created by artist Charles Smalligan then on display in the Center Art Gallery. Gerbens was in the gallery with his wife, Mary ex’67, for a preview tour of the exhibition “The Father and His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness.”
Until recently, the 37 works in the collection—paintings, linoleum cuts, ceramics, serigraphs (silk screens), ink drawings and other pieces, all based on the biblical theme of the Prodigal Son—belonged to the Gerbenses.
“I’m getting older, and we have a lot of art,” said Larry Gerbens, a major gift officer in Calvin’s development department, “and you start asking the question, ‘Where do you want this to go to reside someday?’ We decided Calvin was the best place for it to be seen and appreciated.”
Henri Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming inspired the Gerbenses’ Prodigal Son collection. Not long after Larry read the book (in the early ’90s), the couple purchased a serigraph—one of three in the collection—by John August Swanson. That purchase led to more.
The Gerbenses’ donation is a significant one for Calvin, said Joel Zwart, Calvin’s director of exhibitions. Their gift and others provided impetus to give the visual arts a larger presence on campus. A significant part of that presence will be the new art gallery opening in 2010 in the remodeled Fine Arts Center.
“The new gallery will be such a great addition to the campus because it provides us with a showcase for larger and multiple traveling exhibitions and also provides space for the college’s permanent collection to be displayed,” said Zwart. “And the Gerbens donation is now a great part of that collection.”
It’s almost impossible to look at the Calvin swimming and diving records board and miss the listing E. Deur. It’s posted four times—behind every existing diving category.
“I didn’t ever imagine that I would break any records when I came here,” said senior Erica Deur, the diver behind the record-board postings. “I just wanted to be part of a sports team because I loved it.”
Twice named NCAA III National Diver of the Year (2007, 2009), Deur wasn’t the only Calvin diver making a splash this year, however. She was accompanied at nationals by teammates Casey Herman, also named an All-American, and Jeena Velzen.
“It’s unusual to have three divers qualify for nationals; two sometimes happens, but three is rare,” said Calvin coach Aaron Paskvan, who was named the 2009 Division III National Coach of the Year. “I think it says a lot about the program here and how hard the divers work.”
Paskvan believes the national recognition of the program, along with the new facilities, will translate into further success. The completion of the new Venema Aquatic Center earlier this year made a difference in the team’s ability to successfully train.
Without a home practice facility for 18 months, the team welcomed the opportunity to practice and compete in the state-of-the-art facility for a portion of the season this year.
“Having a home for our friends and family to cheer for us in—and coaches and teammates that continued to push us harder than before—made it all happen,” said Velzen. “I am grateful.”
For eight decades William Spoelhof was integrally linked to Calvin College. In 1927 he enrolled at Calvin as a young freshman from Paterson, N.J., son of immigrant parents from the Netherlands. He served the college as a professor of history and political science from 1946 to 1951 and then president of his alma mater from 1951 to 1976. After retiring—and nearly until his death on Dec. 3, 2008, at the age of 98—he was a visible figure on campus as he participated in campus activities, maintained an office and met often with students, faculty and staff.
During the quarter century Spoelhof served as Calvin’s president, the college moved from its Franklin Street location to the current Knollcrest campus. Student enrollment more than tripled, and academic programs increased. Spoelhof is remembered for his vision for the college, and especially his strong and compassionate leadership. “He taught us that leadership is best expressed by those who show they love those whom they lead,” said former Calvin chaplain Dale Cooper.
It is Spoelhof’s legacy that inspired the name for Calvin’s gift planning initiative. His dedication to the mission and work of the college and vision for its future resonated with the college’s gift planning goals. Now hundreds of Calvin alumni and friends who have made planned gifts to Calvin are recognized as members of the William Spoelhof Society. Their commitment reflects Spoelhof’s desire that Calvin College remain a strong leader in Christ-centered, liberal arts education—faithful to its mission.
Early pregnancy is a critical period for normal fetal development. Within the first four weeks of conception, the heart begins to beat. By week eight, all the major organs have formed.
A woman who confirms her pregnancy within six weeks of conception has a much lower risk of adverse birth outcomes, said nursing professor Adejoke Ayoola. “As nurses, we need to understand how women, especially in low-income neighborhoods, recognize the early signs of pregnancy and how they might modify their behavior immediately to increase the health of their unborn child.”
Ayoola teamed with nursing professor Gail Zandee to research the process of pregnancy recognition among African-American, Caucasian, Native American and Hispanic women. The Pregnancy Recognition Project, funded by an endowment from the Marian Petersen family, used focus group discussions in Grand Rapids neighborhoods to identify the experiences women used to recognize pregnancy and what factors helped them to do so.
“The community knows that our goal is to do research with the neighborhood, not on the neighborhood…We don’t just gather data and leave when the research is done. Rather, we want to share the results with the neighborhood and collaboratively design and implement action plans that will promote healthy pregnancies,” said Zandee. “Residents typically have the best ideas for solutions.”
Three Calvin nursing students also served as research assistants, conducting the literature review, attending the focus group sessions and transcribing data. “Working on the pregnancy recognition project was a wonderful learning experience,” said senior Melissa Chuprinski. “I was able to gain insight and knowledge about pregnancy recognition and play a role in the research aspect of the study. I found this to be a very positive, educationally rewarding experience.”