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Calvin Wire - May 1, 2006 -- Volume 6, No. 9

The Calvin Wire newsletter is a bulletin of the Calvin Alumni Association sent to alumni and friends of Calvin College to inform them of the latest news from campus.

In This Issue:

Festival of Faith & Writing wraps up for 2006

Walter Wangerin, Jr.Calvin's Festival of Faith & Writing wrapped up on April 22, bringing together nearly 1,900 participants which included writers, editors, publishers, musicians, artists, and readers for three days of discussing and celebrating insightful writing that explores, in some significant way, issues of faith. This year's Festival line-up featured Jerry and Gloria Pinkney, Myles and Sandra Pinkney, Alice McDermott, Salman Rushdie, Marilynne Robinson, Walter Wangerin, Jr., and many more. Mark your calendars now with the dates for the next Festival: April 17-19, 2008. If you wish to stay up to date on the latest Festival news you can subscribe to the free e-newsletter on the Festival Web site.

Professor Randal Jelks awarded National Humanities Fellowship

Professor Randal JelksHistory professor Randal Jelks has been selected as a National Humanities Center Fellow for 2006-2007. The Center received over 500 applications for the 2006-2007 Fellowships, and selected just 40 academics to receive the honor. Jelks will spend the academic year in North Carolina where he will work on a research project in the humanities, and will share ideas in seminars, lectures and conferences. The National Humanities Center awards more than $1.4 million in fellowship grants that enable scholars to take leave from their normal academic duties and pursue research at the Center. Prior to heading to North Carolina, Jelks will spend four weeks this summer at Harvard University after having been selected as a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He will study African American Civil Rights Struggles in the Twentieth Century at Harvard's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute. Read more.

Calvin leads Michigan colleges in teacher certification exam

Calvin education dept photoThe Detroit News recently reported on how Michigan colleges are preparing prospective teachers by looking at the percentage of graduates who have passed the state teacher certification exam during the period from October 2001 to July 2004. During that period the Michigan college that claimed the highest percentage of candidates who passed the state exam for teacher certification on the first attempt was Calvin College! Calvin had 1,187 of 1,237 students pass the test during that period for a 96% pass rate. Next was the University of Michigan at 95.8% and Kalamazoo College, Michigan State University and Hope College rounded out the top five. Read more.

Calvin senior earns prestigious Fulbright grant

Laura Peterson '06A Calvin senior due to graduate in May, 2006 is the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Grant from the Institute of International Education. Laura Peterson, 22, a double honors student in both English and German from Aberdeen, South Dakota, will use her Fulbright teaching assistantship to teach in Germany and to study the literature written in German by the country's Turkish immigrants. The Fulbright Program, the largest international exchange program in the U.S., was established in 1946 by Congress to "enable the government of the United States to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Peterson is the third Fulbright recipient in two years from Calvin. Read more.

Unapproved Chimes "spoof issue" posted on the internet

The staff of Chimes, Calvin's student newspaper, traditionally publishes a "spoof issue" in late April. This spring a committee of faculty, staff and students met with Chimes staff members over the course of a month to agree on acceptable content for this publication. However, the committee was unable to approve most of the content and ultimately Chimes decided to not publish the spoof issue this year.

Subsequently some members of the Chimes staff decided to publish the spoof on a dotcom website outside of Calvin's boundaries. That decision resulted in a product that is not affiliated with Calvin, has not been approved by the spoof review committee and does not reflect a unanimous voice of the Chimes. While conversations are still in process to determine a response to this incident, the college is hopeful that this will provide a learning opportunity for the broader Calvin community. You can read more on the student life Web site.

Calvin, Cornerstone and the Global Night Commute

Global Night CommuteOn Saturday, April 29, a group of students from Calvin College and Cornerstone University made an eight-mile trek from the Calvin campus to downtown Rosa Parks Circle. There they spent the night. Why? They were taking part in the Global Night Commute, a nationwide effort which was planned by students in cities across the country (almost 150 cities at last count). The Global Night Commute is a re-enactment of the commute made nightly by the Acholi children of northern Uganda. Read more.

New book looks at religious symbols

Visuals for WorshipA new book from a member of the team at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship visits a sometimes provocative topic in Protestant worship circles - religious symbols. But "Visuals for Worship" is designed to help churches reintroduce the imagery, metaphor and motifs of Scripture's often-historical visual images back into modern-day worship. In the book author and artist Betsy Steele Halstead of Calvin combines images of 29 symbols with explanations of their theological and historical background as well as their biblical references. She expects that worship planners will use Visuals for Worship side by side with The Worship Sourcebook (a 2004 publication from the Worship Institute that offers a collection of calls to worship, prayers of confession, and other spoken prayers and litanies for use on particular Sundays and during specific seasons of the Christian year). The two books will complement each other as worship planners choose visual art for worship service bulletins, written liturgies or large screen displays. Read more.

Calvin junior wins prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Mark Vander WalA Calvin College junior recently won a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, an honor he credits to the research experience he's accrued as an undergraduate. Mark Vander Wal, a 20-year-old chemistry major, won $7,500 from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program to cover his tuition, books and living expenses for the upcoming academic year. The program recognized 323 Goldwater Scholars for the 2006-2007 academic year out of 1,081 nominated mathematics, science, and engineering students from across the U.S. "It's an amazing honor," Vander Wal says. "It's pretty much the premiere award that an undergraduate science student can win." Vander Wal gives the lion's share of the credit for his student research career to his mentor, Kumar Sinniah, a Calvin professor of chemistry who for three years has collaborated with Vander Wal on various research projects. Read more.

Engineering Senior Design Open House: May 6

Senior Design Open House 2005The Engineering Department will hold an open house in the Calvin engineering building from 4:30-6:00 pm on Saturday, May 6, 2006 (casual attire). The senior engineering project design teams have worked throughout the year to develop a detailed design and prototype of a product or system. The afternoon open house and evening presentations are an opportunity to see the final results of the year of hard work by the senior engineering students and to celebrate with them the completion of the engineering program. This event also provides an excellent opportunity for pre-college students to learn more about the field of engineering. After a dinner for engineering seniors and their families the design teams will formally present their projects from 7:30 - 9:00 pm in the Chapel Undercroft and Science Building. Read more.

Calvin Around Town: Detroit's Ford Field - Saturday, May 6

Calvin Around Town: Ford Field in Detroit,Calvin may not have a football team, but it does have a corner on the most recent NFL Football Capital of the World for its next edition of "Calvin Around Town: Ford Field in Detroit," site of the 2006 Super Bowl! Hosted by the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Alumni Association this coming Saturday, May 6, "Calvin Around Town" at Ford Field will include exclusive tours of the enormous facility, photo opportunities with Lions great and NFL Hall of Famer Lem Barney, a reception (with food and beverages) in the Hall of Legends room with a view of the playing field and a musical presentation by the Calvin Gospel Choir. The cost is only $15 per person; the registration deadline is Thursday, May 4. All Calvin families, alumni and friends are welcome! You can access the convenient online registration form on the Calvin Web site or simply call 616-526-6142.

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff '53 to speak at Commencement 2006

Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff '53Planning is underway for Commencement 2006 on Saturday, May 20 at 2:00 pm as 875 graduates prepare to receive diplomas in Calvin's Fieldhouse. Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff '53, Professor of Philosophical Theology Emeritus at Yale University and former philosophy professor at Calvin College (1959-1981) will address graduates and guests with a speech entitled, "You Need Two Eyes." Dr. Wolterstorff was originally scheduled to speak last year but agreed to reschedule for May 2006 when an opportunity was presented last April for President Bush to address the 2005 graduates. Commencement weekend highlights include a 50th reunion of the Class of 1956 and the opportunity to honor distinguished Calvin alumni, Dr. Gerald Gabrielse '73 and Mr. Charles Spoelhof '51. Read more.

Calvin Distinctive # 3: Spirited Community

Morning worship at chapelCalvin's thoughtful Christian community strengthens heart, soul, mind and body. Calvin students, faculty and staff value the task of serving God together through intellectual exploration, spirited interaction, worship and work. At Calvin there is an emphasis on applying discernment to learning. Across the curriculum, students and faculty analyze all aspects of culture and respond to God's call to make all things new. This begins with Calvin's first-year student program, which includes a series of classes called Prelude and an Interim class called Developing a Christian Mind. These courses provide new students with a framework for building a worldview - a framework of faith that supports their entire Calvin education.

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The Calvin Wire newsletter is a bulletin of the Calvin Alumni Association sent to alumni and friends of Calvin College to inform them of the latest news from campus.