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Minds in the Making: Frequently Asked Questions

Why not "Christian Minds in the Making"?

Calvin does not intend to underplay its Christian affiliation or commitment—nor should it. But in the wider marketplace, "Christian" as an assertive first identifier can throw Calvin's emphasis out of balance. The genius of Calvin is that at this institution Christian education and academic excellence are indivisibly intertwined. In preparing young people to be agents of renewal, Calvin delivers an education simultaneously rigorous and Christ-infused—because, according to the Reformed perspective, being a faithful Christian means giving to every task one's unstinting best.

Although including all three terms—Christian, minds (i.e. academics), and making (i.e., forming/reforming) in the tag line might seem to be one way of conveying the "whole" of Calvin, to lead with Christian would make Calvin sound much more like a Bible college (which Calvin isn't), less like a seriously academic institution (which Calvin is), and probably more like the colleges that many within Calvin's broader target audience have already ruled out.

Doesn't the emphasis on "minds" undercut the "heart" emphasis of Calvin's motto?

My heart I offer to you, Lord, promptly and sincerely"My heart I offer to you, Lord, promptly and sincerely" is actually a state of mind that Calvin hopes to foster in all its people. Mind in fact, is a remarkably flexible word. Although it certainly denotes the intellect or reason, it also connotes a person's entire consciousness: thought, intention, desire wishes memory, philosophy. Synonyms for mind begin with such words as intellect and mentality, but rapidly progress to others such as temperament, nature, proclivity, sentiment, feeling, affection, and even faith. Many of these synonyms bring one back to heart. In many ways, then, heart and mind intersect at Calvin in a way they do at no other college. We are in the business of the mind, mindful of the heart.

Does Minds in the Making replace the Calvin motto?

By no means. Minds in the Making is a tagline meant to communicate Calvin efficiently and effectively to external audiences while resonating with internal audiences. "My heart I offer to you, Lord, promptly and sincerely" does not serve the purpose of a tagline—it is a motto—a motto that sums up the Calvin experience to an internal audience while portraying Calvin obliquely to an external audience. The two serve different purposes but complement one another beautifully in meaning and honesty. In fact, the motto and the tagline have been and will continue to be used in both internal and external publications.

Why do we need a new rendering of the Reformed perspective?

A fresh restatement best ensures clarity for all of Calvin's audiences. In the past, Calvin could reasonably expect that its students—the great majority of whom had grown up in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC)—knew well the main points of Reformed theology. Now half of the students on campus come from other church traditions; within the CRC, too, young people may be less steeped in Reformed vocabulary and thought than were students of previous years.

God has created all things, and they were good.
All things have fallen from their original goodness.
Christ, who has redeemed all things, eventually will restore them.
We aid the Spirit's work of restoration by seeking to make all things better.

Furthermore, a simpler rendering of a complex idea makes that idea more accessible and memorable. For traditional constituencies, a new rendering can provide fresh words that enliven well known concepts; for people less conscious of the Reformed perspective, a simplified version lends focus and lodges quickly in the mind.

Why not Calvin College Minds in the Making?

Calvin has made an intentional decision to remain an undergraduate college and has no desire to seek university status. And, of course, the seminary next door is also called "Calvin." But Calvin College desires a more national reputation, and a truth of the marketplace is that the one-word version of an institution's name not only implies wider repute; it also carries greater distinction.

How often do people say Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, rather than simply Harvard, Stanford, Yale? Imagine one prospective student announcing, "I'm going to Calvin" and another saying "I'm going to Calvin College." Which student sounds as if he or she knows the school well? Which student assumes that the listener of course knows this school? Which name sounds more like a college of national reputation?

How does this tagline fit with the Calvin nameplate?

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