Grateful to Our Ancestors,
Faithful to Our Heirs
As a vehicle to recognize and thank those who have made a planned gift to the college (included Calvin College in their estate plans or made a gift of real estate, life insurance, IRA or a charitable gift annuity), the William Spoelhof Society has become invaluable. Every year, those who have made planned gifts receive member newsletters and attend an event at which they see Calvin’s impact in the world today and the legacy in which they are investing.
The society’s name came as the result of a contest initiated by Calvin’s development office. “We received input from faculty, staff, emeriti and board of trustees members,” said Sally Vander Ploeg, director of planned and major gifts. It turned out that naming the society for the former president seemed a natural fit. “His longevity with the college and his vision for building the college tie in with the kinds of gifts associated with the society. People are making gifts that lay the foundation for the college, and that was the focus of his work with the college for so many years.”
The William Spoelhof Society was formed in 2001. The society’s adopted identity, “Grateful to our ancestors, faithful to our heirs,” first appeared on a banner created by Calvin professor of art emeritus Edgar Boevé that was commissioned for President Spoelhof’s 90th birthday in 1999.
The William Spoelhof
When Stanley ’52 and Harriet van Reken endowed Calvin College’s first academic chair in 1994, they expressed a keen interest in creating a resource for Calvin that would attract exceptional teacher-scholars to the institution while honoring the college’s faithfulness to its Reformed Christian roots.
It came as no surprise, then, that they also wanted to name the chair in honor of the former Calvin president whose legacy was characterized by that same vision.
The goal of the William Spoelhof Teacher-Scholar-in-Residence Chair has been to bring gifted faculty to Calvin whose presence will enrich the ethos of the college. Its success is stunning; more than half of the teacher-scholars who were brought to the college by the Spoelhof Chair have stayed at Calvin upon completion of their tenure as chair holder.
Angeline Nydam Spoelhof
Throughout her life, Angeline Nydam Spoelhof served the causes of Christian education in her community, church and alma mater. In addition to her career as Christian school teacher, Angeline Spoelhof provided faithful support to her husband, William Spoelhof, during his years as president of Calvin College. In honor of her life and work, Spoelhof family and friends established a scholarship in Angeline Nydam Spoelhof’s name.
This scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior student who is pursuing a program in education, has demonstrated active involvement in volunteer activities and plans to teach at the elementary or secondary level.