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Alumni Association Awards

2014 Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to alumni who have made significant contributions to their field of endeavor and manifest a Christian commitment, thus honoring Calvin.

Silas and Helen CheukDr. Silas Cheuk '62, a medical doctor who established a free clinic in the city of Detroit's Chinatown district and served there for 20 years, receiving Spirit of Detroit and International Hall of Fame honors for that work. He was also a leader in the Chinese Church of Detroit, serving a translator in worship services for over 25 years. In retirement, he has worked with a number of ministries in China. Dr. Cheuk has used his gift of singing in a variety of choirs and companies. His wife, Helen, now deceased, was also a Calvin graduate and taught kindergarten for 36 years in suburban Detroit.

"Silas found various outlets to express his Christian commitments. He sought to act on this faith by promoting social justice and civil rights for vulnerable Chinese. In retirement, he organized numerous short-term mission trips to rural China to provide health services and also to teach English. Way beyond his days at Calvin, medical career in Detroit, and more recently, taking care of Helen, it was Silas's faith that animated him the most to serve God in so many unique ways."  

Silas is pictured with his late wife, Helen, in Carlsbad, Calif. Read more about them in Spark.

Michael MantelDr. Michael J. Mantel '83, is the president and chief executive officer of Living Water International, based in Houston, Tex., starting there in 2008. His organization is a global implementer of water solutions in 23 developing countries. Prior to joining Living Water, he led World Vision's regional, area and metro teams in the central U.S. for 17 years. Before World Vision, Dr. Mantel was a management team leader and then executive assistant to Tom Monaghan, the president of Domino's Pizza, Inc.

"Mike is a great husband, father, son and community member. He is full of hope, love, joy and compassion. He has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to reconciling relationships and transforming communities by bringing people together in ministry in the name of Christ. Mike is an innovator, a hard worker and an exceptionally bright strategic mind who has dedicated his career to bringing safe, sustainable water and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to thousands of poor communities worldwide."


Dr. Mike Mantel is pictured offering a helping hand in Kenya.

The Basis of the Selection

  • Anyone who is an alumna or alumnus of Calvin College is eligible, excluding any person who is on the staff of the college or seminary or who has attended the school within ten years of the time of consideration. Alumni are those who have attended Calvin College for one year or its equivalent.
  • The "significant contribution" of the alumna or alumnus may be in any field of endeavor. The nature of the contribution and the extent to which it is deemed worthy of consideration is to be determined by the Selection Committee.
  • The person selected for the award will be one who manifests a Christian commitment that reflects honor on Calvin College.
  • The Selection Committee will present its recommendation(s) to the Board of the Calvin Alumni Association for approval.
  • Once the Selection Committee has made its recommendation to the Alumni Board, the information will be considered confidential until such time as the Board and the College deem it appropriate to be made public.

The Selection Committee

  • The selection of recipients for the award will be made by a Selection Committee which includes:
    • The president of the college and spouse;
    • Two college faculty;
    • All members of the Alumni Association Board;
    • The executive director of the Alumni Association serving ex-officio as a non-voting member

See Past Recipients | Make a Nomination (due by September 20)