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

Calvin Wire - May 1, 2008 -- Volume 8, 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:


Calvin Establishes Integrated Science Research Institute

Calvin College is launching a new science institute funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Calvin's Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI) is being created in recognition of the current trend in the sciences to work across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Calvin College is launching a new science institute funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Calvin's Integrated Science Research Institute (ISRI) is being created in recognition of the current trend in the sciences to work across traditional disciplinary boundaries. "You can't be just a biologist to solve the big problems. You can't be just a chemist or a mathematician. What is required is to put together a team with various areas of expertise to solve a problem," said Calvin biology professor David DeHeer, the chair of the committee that envisioned ISRI. "Calvin has already established a solid educational foundation in disciplinary sciences. The next step is to build on that foundation by bringing education and research in those eight departments together." Read more.


Featured Web Site: Sports Information

Calvin's Sports Information Web siteCalvin's Sports Information Web site, maintained by sports information director Jeff Febus, provides helpful links for Calvin sports fans including:

• game schedules
• team rosters
• daily sports updates
• sports photo galleries
• featured articles and profiles
• and more!

Sports fans can easily sign up to receive the Calvin Sports Report (CSR), a listserv newsletter which provides timely updates on Calvin athletic contests!


Nursing Students Host Annual Health Fair

The Calvin College nursing department will hold its 11th-annual health fair from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Palmer Elementary School, 309 Palmer St. N.E. "This is a very valued event by the community," said Calvin nursing professor Debra Bossenbroek of the yearly collaboration between Calvin nursing students and the school plus Catherine's Care Center, Berean Baptist Church and the Creston Neighborhood Association—where all of the partner organizations are located. The Calvin College nursing department will hold its 11th-annual health fair from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at Palmer Elementary School, 309 Palmer St. N.E. "This is a very valued event by the community," said Calvin nursing professor Debra Bossenbroek of the yearly collaboration between Calvin nursing students and the school plus Catherine's Care Center, Berean Baptist Church and the Creston Neighborhood Association—where all of the partner organizations are located. Through the community focus of the Calvin nursing program, junior and senior students serve their practicums in one of three Grand Rapids neighborhoods, and the health fair is a traditional event for those students who work in the Creston-Belknap area. The fair will feature food truck, courtesy of the church, activities and an array of booths—some with catchy names—from which the Calvin nursing students will educate visitors on the whole gamut of health issues. Read more.


Calvin Celebrates Steel Topping on new Athletic Complex

Work on the $50 million Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex project at Calvin College is continuing at a rapid clip with some 125 workers representing 40 or so subcontractors daily in action on the college's campus. To celebrate the progress of the project—which includes a new arena, a new aquatics center and a new indoor track and tennis center—Calvin hosted an unusual event on Monday, April 21, a thank-you lunch for the contractors which doubled as an informational update and concluded with a structural steel topping ceremony. Work on the $50 million Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex project at Calvin College is continuing at a rapid clip with some 125 workers representing 40 or so subcontractors daily in action on the college's campus. To celebrate the progress of the project—which includes a new arena, a new aquatics center and a new indoor track and tennis center—Calvin hosted an unusual event on Monday, April 21, a thank-you lunch for the contractors which doubled as an informational update and concluded with a structural steel topping ceremony. Read more.


Students Win Goldwater Scholarship, Honorable Mention

Growing up a missionary kid in Gambia, West Africa, Melissa Haegert had a passion for stargazing. "The stars there are amazing. It's a lower latitude, and you can see some of the stars you can't see here," Haegert said. "Sometimes I'd climb a tree, and sometimes I'd climb up on my roof. All I had in Gambia for studying astronomy was a pair of binoculars and several books and a very darkened night sky."Growing up a missionary kid in Gambia, West Africa, Melissa Haegert had a passion for stargazing. "The stars there are amazing. It's a lower latitude, and you can see some of the stars you can't see here," Haegert said. "Sometimes I'd climb a tree, and sometimes I'd climb up on my roof. All I had in Gambia for studying astronomy was a pair of binoculars and several books and a very darkened night sky." A couple of years ago Haegert, a physics and astronomy major who goes by "Lissa," traded in that rudimentary equipment and the amazing West African stars for the astronomy facilities at Calvin College, where, in her sophomore year, she has earned a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. The award, $15,000 over two years, will provide the 19-year-old with the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board while she continues her research with Calvin physics and astronomy professor Larry Molnar on what she calls "space rocks." Read more.


Commencement Ceremonies scheduled for May 17

For the second year-in-a-row graduates of Calvin College will have their Commencement ceremony in downtown Grand Rapids. The 2008 Calvin Commencement ceremony, slated for Saturday, May 17 at 2 pm, will be held in VanAndel Arena, on Fulton Street in downtown GR. Commencement 2008 marks the 88th such conferring of four-year degrees in Calvin's 132-year history. About 850 graduates are expected to participate in the 2008 ceremony. For the second year-in-a-row graduates of Calvin College will have their Commencement ceremony in downtown Grand Rapids. The 2008 Calvin Commencement ceremony, slated for Saturday, May 17 at 2 pm, will be held in VanAndel Arena, on Fulton Street in downtown GR. Commencement 2008 marks the 88th such conferring of four-year degrees in Calvin's 132-year history. About 850 graduates are expected to participate in the 2008 ceremony. Construction on Calvin's Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, which will include a new arena, a new aquatics center and a new indoor track and tennis center, means Calvin Fieldhouse (which is being renovated into a health and recreation center) was not available for Commencement. But in 2009 the college will hold Commencement in the brand-new, 5,000-seat, air-conditioned Van Noord Arena. One advantage of the VanAndel Arena is that the college can accomodate about 8,000 guests, significantly more than it hosted in the past in Calvin Fieldhouse and the Fine Arts Center auditorium. Read more.


Senior Bill Wondergem Researches Kidney Cancer

Bill Wondergem, 21, a Calvin biology major and biochemistry minor, has worked since his junior year as an intern in the lab of Bin Teh, a distinguished scientific investigator at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and a specialist in kidney cancer. "Kidney cancer is the primary focus of our lab because Bin's father died of the disease," said Wondergem.Bill Wondergem, 21, a Calvin biology major and biochemistry minor, has worked since his junior year as an intern in the lab of Bin Teh, a distinguished scientific investigator at the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) and a specialist in kidney cancer. "Kidney cancer is the primary focus of our lab because Bin's father died of the disease," said Wondergem. "It's a very deadly cancer. Surgery is the primary treatment, but if the cancer has spread too much, the chances of long term survival are not good." Wondergem, who first worked at the VARI as a first-year student at Calvin, said his research in The's lab is a search for the genes that cause kidney cancer. "We identify oncogenes (genes with a DNA sequence that causes cancer) or tumor suppressors (genes that restrain cancer cell growth) that are deregulated in renal cell carcinoma." Read more.


Three Premier Art Department Events

2007 BFA ExhibitionAs spring semester draws to a close, art students of various stripes are gearing up to present their work at a series of premier events: The bachelor of fine arts exhibition, the art history symposium and the bachelor of arts exhibition. First up is "Sticks and Stones," the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) exhibition, held Friday, April 25 through Saturday, May 3 at the college's Center Art Gallery. The exhibition is the annual showcase of artworks from Calvin’s bachelor of fine arts (BFA) graduates. The second event on the art and art history department horizon is the annual art history symposium, held May 2 in 125 Spoelhof Center. The symposium features Calvin's art history majors presenting papers. The final event of the art and art historical season is the annual bachelor of arts (BA) exhibition, held May 9–17 at the Center Art Gallery. The reception for the BA show will be held 6–8 p.m. on Friday, May 16. Read more.


Senior Engineers Showcase Design Projects

Rhythym Reloaded TeamAs Calvin's graduating student engineers gear up for their annual Senior Projects Night, they're putting in a lot of hours in the college's Engineering Building. "The number of pizza boxes increases exponentially," commented David Wunder, a Calvin engineering professor and senior projects coordinator. "They're there all hours —and the level of excitement also increases exponentially." The 24th-annual event, a showcase of design projects by Calvin College graduating student engineers, takes place this weekend Saturday, May 3. It features an open house, where family, friends, faculty and other well-wishers can tour (with punch in hand) the senior design projects on display in both wings of the college's Engineering Building. The graduating engineers will have their annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Commons Dining Hall and will formally present their projects at 7:30 p.m. in the Engineering Building. Read more.


Beckman Grant Funds Student Research


Professor Ron BlankespoorCalvin College has won a prestigious $77,000 grant from the Beckman Scholars Program to give expanded, intensive research experiences to a handful of Calvin students. The grant was awarded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which funds programs in chemistry and the life sciences at non-profit institutions. "This grant is going to fund four students on a very significant research experience at Calvin," said Calvin chemistry professor Ronald Blankespoor. The three-year Beckman grant allows Calvin to choose one student this year and three others over the next two years to engage in 15 months of research in chemistry, biology or biochemistry. The research period will stretch over two summers and the academic year in between. "It really is an endorsement of the undergraduate research program at Calvin," Blankespoor said. He's happiest, however for the benefits to Calvin's students. "It can be hard for students, with all of the demands on them, to keep research going throughout the academic year. This will allow students to accomplish a lot." Read more.


Calvin Distinctive #2: Purposeful Renewal

A Calvin education calls and equips students to be agents of renewal in God's world. In the words of the Calvin Mission Statement: "We pursue intellectual efforts to explore our world's beauty, speak to its pain, uncover our own faithlessness, and proclaim the healing that God offers in Jesus Christ. We strive to embrace the best insights of Christian life and reflection; engage issues in the intellectual and public spheres; and enrich faith by the heritage of the past and the discoveries of today." The Lilly Vocation Project, made possible through a grant from the Lilly Endowment, includes a variety of programs that build understanding of and commitment to the idea of vocation for all college students. The project also works with students interested in church-related ministry. For more information visit the Calvin 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.