Skip Navigation
Return to the Calvin homepage
 Return to the Alumni homepage

Calvin Wire - June 15, 2006 -- Volume 6, No. 12

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:
50 Years on the Knollcrest Campus

Knollcrest Farm, circa 1956Calvin College will celebrate 50 years on its Knollcrest campus this summer with a variety of events, the first of which is slated for this evening as part of the Christian Reformed Church's annual Synod which is meeting from June 10-17. Calvin's purchase of the Knollcrest campus was authorized by the 1956 CRC Synod on June 22 of that year. A week later - on June 29, 1956 - Calvin and property owner J.C. Miller signed a formal sale agreement. The $400,000 price included 166 acres of land, what then was called the Manor House (Miller's personal home), two smaller furnished homes and several out buildings. The only provisions which Miller wrote into the agreement were that the Knollcrest name he had given to the estate be retained in some manner and that the Manor House and the surrounding area be left as it was. Calvin agreed and on August 1, 1956 the college took physical possession of the property. Read more.

Professor Van't Hof Awarded Grants to Study Dance Arts in Alaska

Professor Ellen Van'tHofA Calvin College professor has earned a pair of grants that, combined with a trio of Calvin grants, will help fund a project that will take her to Alaska for a five-month journey. Ellen Van'tHof, a dance professor at the college, earned $6,000 from the Alaska Humanities Forum and $6,000 from Alaska's CIRI Foundation for a documentary film she plans to produce called "Finding Their Own Dance: Reawakening the Alutiiq Arts." Van'tHof will work on the project from July through November 2006, based on the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island (located south and west of Anchorage). She plans to partner on the documentary with Calvin graduate Rob Prince, a professor at University of Alaska Fairbanks. Their 55-minute documentary will illuminate the art of the Alutiiq people who have lived primarily in south central Alaska and Kodiak Island for over 7,500 years. Read more.

Calvin senior Nathan Tonlaar wins Henry Award

Nathan TonlaarA Calvin senior recently won the Congressman Paul Henry Integrity Award scholarship from the Founding Values Initiative. Nathan Tonlaar, a biology major from Tamaly, Ghana, received a $500 scholarship, a plaque and an engraved pen from the organization at a May luncheon at the Peninsular Club. The theme of the luncheon, which Tonlaar attended with Calvin president Gaylen Byker and Jeff Bouman, director of the college's service-learning center, was "Celebrating the Era of Gerald R. Ford," a time when individuals of high integrity "came to aid in re-instilling trust in public servants." The initiative recognized three individuals with awards named for local public servants. State Senator Bill Hardiman was given the Congressman Paul Henry Integrity Award. Mike Jandernoa garnered the Ambassador Peter Secchia Heartfelt Commitment Award and Grand Rapids Police Chief Harry Dolan was recognized with the Congressman Hal Sawyer Justice Award. Read more.

Minds in the Making e-collection: new edition is now online

Minds in the MakingThe new edition of Minds in the Making,an e-collection of articles and multimedia by Calvin authors, is now available online. This edition includes items on the upside of typewriters, Oscar Wilde, third-world artisan goods, the importance of Christ's Ascension, the legend of Saint James in Spain, intentional community, intellectual racism, and Derrida's worldview, among other topics. Enjoy this interdisciplinary sampler platter of intellectual goodies!

Professor DeYoung Awarded Grant to Study Seven Deadly Sins in Cambridge

Professor Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoungA Calvin College philosophy professor has earned the chance to spend five weeks in England studying the seven deadly sins. Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities which will pay for her participation in a seminar at Darwin College at the University of Cambridge called "The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages." For DeYoung the seminar, which will take place July 12 to August 13, will be a chance for her to dig even deeper into a topic that she has made a passion since her Ph.D. days at the University of Notre Dame. She is working on a book about the seven deadly sins - which she prefers to call the capital vices - and will be teaching a senior seminar on the topic at Calvin this fall. Read more.

Calvin Professor Netland participates in Bible literacy study

Professor John NetlandCalvin English professor John Netland was one of dozens of professors at the nation's top colleges and universities to take part in a recent study on what educated people need to know about the Bible. The study, entitled Bible Literacy Report II: What University Professors Say Incoming Students Need to Know, surveyed 39 English professors at 34 top U.S. colleges and universities. Their conclusion: knowledge of the Bible is a deeply important part of a good education. The Bible Literacy Project believes the Bible should be studied in public schools and created the first student textbook for public high schools: The Bible and Its Influence, which can be used with the Bible itself as core text in English or Social Studies electives. Read more.

Calvin junior Eric Beach completes White House internship

Nathan BeachA Calvin junior spent the spring 2006 semester working as an intern in the nation's most famous white house. Now Eric Beach, a 20-year old native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is regularly asked how much the real West Wing resembles its television counterpart. "I can't say because I never watched The West Wing," he says laughing. "I think I'm going to have to watch it." Approximately 100 interns are chosen each spring, summer and fall for the White House Internship Program. The interns, who serve without pay, work in a White House office, attend lectures, volunteer at special events, participate in tours and contribute to a community service project in the Washington, D.C. area. Beach, a business and communications major, spent January through May working for the White House on an analysis of social service spending. Read more.

Project Connect Bridges Digital Divide

Project Connect Calvin CollegeFor the sixth straight summer an innovative program from Calvin College called Project Connect is helping bridge the digital divide, the gap between those who have access to and the skills to use technology and those who do not. Project Connect is providing both basic computers and information literacy to people in the Grand Rapids area via technology training classes and computers for all participants. Calvin professor Keith VanderLinden is one of the instructors, all of whom are volunteering their time and talent to the project. He says the computer science department at Calvin takes its Christian calling to serve seriously and that Project Connect fits perfectly into that mission. He says too that the community partnerships that the college and the department have forged make the program work. Calvin students are involved in the project through a cross cultural engagement course at the college that sees them help teach the classes in early summer and then maintain contact with the Project Connect students through Christmas, helping with system problems, fixing machines, answering questions and more. Read more.

Calvin's fiscal year ends June 30: please consider a gift to the Calvin Annual Fund

Classroom settingDid you know that Calvin is 85% tuition-driven? That means alumni and friends of the college provide the other 15% of the cost of a Calvin education to keep tuition lower. If you haven't already, consider a "year end" gift to the Calvin Annual Fund. Your gift helps Calvin provide daily resources for students that help bridge the gap between tuition and the actual cost of a Calvin education. Make a Gift NowEvery gift, whatever the size, helps every student, every day and strengthens the education Calvin is providing our students. The college's books close on June 30 so this is an important time to add your financial support.

Class Reunion alert: reserve the date

Hundreds of Calvin alumni will be participating in class reunions this summer and fall:
•  1961: Friday, June 23
•  1966: Saturday, June 24
•  1976: Friday, October 20
•  1981: Saturday, October 21
•  1986: Saturday, June 17
•  1996: Friday, June 30

Class of 1985 - 20th ReunionThe Heritage Class, those who graduated from Calvin 51 years ago and before, holds a reunion on campus each summer. This year that gathering will be tomorrow, Friday, June 16, beginning at 10 am. If you have questions about class reunions visit the Alumni Web site or contact Cindy Wolffis, reunion coordinator, at 616-526-6142 or

Core CurriculumCalvin Distinctive #1: Profoundly Academic

Calvin consistently receives national recognition for academic excellence. Calvin's well-respected faculty, inquiring student body and innovative core curriculum come together in an environment that links intellectual freedom with a heart for service. Calvin's core curriculum is intentionally designed to offer the knowledge, the skills and the virtues students need to be informed and effective agents in all domains of life. The core begins with two gateway courses, concludes with a senior capstone course and is permeated throughout with a Christian worldview and a broad, faith-based engagement with surrounding culture. Neal Plantinga's highly regarded text, Engaging God's World, frames the discussion of the first-year program. For more information visit the Distinctives Web site.


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.