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Calvin Wire - June 2, 2008 -- Volume 8, No. 11

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:

Commencement 2008: photo galleries online

The Calvin community celebrated with over 800 new graduates and their families who participated in Commencement 2008 events on Saturday, May 17, culminating with the ceremony held at the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids. The Calvin community celebrated with over 800 new graduates and their families who participated in Commencement 2008 events on Saturday, May 17, culminating with the ceremony held at the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids. Mr. Philip Yancey, evangelical author and speaker, addressed the graduates with an inspiring and challenging speech entitled Free At Last. Commencement events featured the 50th reunion of the Class of 1958, and David and Janice Dykgraaf '66, missionaries to Nigeria, and Fritz Rottman '59, molecular biologist, were honored as the recipients of this year's Distinguished Alumni Award. Photo galleries and highlights of Commencement weekend are posted at:
• Commencement Cookout:
• Commencement Gallery:
• Order photographs of your favorite Calvin graduate:
• Order a Commencement DVD or gift item:


Students name Todd Vanden Berg professor of the year

Professor of the Year Todd Vanden BergWorlds collided for Calvin professor of sociology Todd Vanden Berg on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. "I had just started teaching my anthropology of religion class, and my parents walked in … ," he said. "It was a little disconcerting because I was in teaching mode." Vanden Berg's folks were not making a random visit. They were there, on the invitation of Norm Zylstra, the Calvin coordinator of student and young alumni programs, to witness their son receiving the Professor of the Year Award, an honor bestowed annually on a Calvin faculty member via a majority vote of the graduating class. Zylstra and several student leaders delivered news of the award along with boxes of donuts to be shared by the class. “We had the mom and dad go in first, 'cause we knew that would throw him," he confided. "I think whenever a student can throw a professor, they'll take the opportunity." Vanden Berg was both startled and honored by the award. "Teaching is one of those occupations where you never feel like you’re doing enough, and you’re never quite sure of the impact you're having on your students," he said. "So, it's affirming to receive this—particularly in light of the professors who have received it before." Read more.


Calvin staffer Dale De Young receives lifetime achievement award

Dale De YoungFor 27 years Dale De Young has been doing work at Calvin that he almost hopes no one notices. De Young, an associate director for the physical plant, serves as the general contractor for remodeling projects and additions. For his service at Calvin, De Young has been presented with the 2008 William Spoelhof Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually to a staff member who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, service and performance that marked former Calvin College president William Spoelhof’s lifelong affiliation with Calvin. "Just about everything on campus has Dale’s touch on it,” said Phil Beezhold, director of the physical plant. “He pays incredible attention to detail, and he looks at things from the perspective of a student—what it would be like to experience something here as a student.” Read more.


Faculty Profile: Roger DeKock

Professor Roger DeKockHe does not have cable, and he subscribes to The Atlantic Monthly. He owns a 1983 Goldwing motorcycle, and his great uncle hid Jews in his barn in the Netherlands during WWII. His favorite molecule is water. "I have been interested in chemistry since 1960," said Calvin professor of chemistry Roger DeKock , "What is that? 48 years? … I want to know at the molecular level, ‘How does that happen?'" Before DeKock earned Fulbright and NATO scholarships for his research, before his life's work brought him into contact with prominent social conflicts of the 20th century began, he was a growing boy in Prairie City, Iowa where, "the prairie was there; the city was not," he remarked. "I was third in my grade school class; there were five of us." When it came time for college, DeKock followed the path forged by his older brother: a degree in chemistry from Calvin College. “I thought he was above me,” he said of his model. In hopes of becoming a high school chemistry teacher, DeKock took honors chemistry during his first semester. “After that first semester I wanted to go for a higher degree,” he said. Read more.


Calvin Announces Its Highest Athletic Awards


Ricky Tilton Sarah Wittingen Calvin College has announced the 2008 recipients of its highest athletic honors: the Beré Memorial Award and the Kay Tiemersma Athletic Award. Ricky Tilton of Gap, Pennsylvania, is this year's Beré Memorial Award winner while Sarah Wittingen is this year’s recipient of the Tiemersma Award. The Beré Memorial Award has been presented annually by Calvin since 1951.

The Beré honors the top senior male student-athlete, based on athletic ability, scholastic rank, character and leadership, and is selected by the school's male coaches and the members of the Athletics Committee. This is the 34th year that Calvin has given the Tiemersma award--presented annually to the top senior female student-athlete. Its presentation is based on athletic ability, scholastic standing, and character and leadership. The winner is selected by the coaches of the school's women's sports and an Athletics Committee made up of students and non-physical education department faculty members. Read more.

Other year-end sports news:
• Wittingen Named Regional Runner of the Year/Jong-Il Kim & Rick Otte Receive Regional Coach of the Year Awards:
• Pocock & Steiner Named to ABCA/Rawlings All-Mideast Region Baseball Second Team:
• Wittingen Captures National Title in 400 Meter Hurdles:


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

If you haven't already, please 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. Every gift, whatever the size, helps every student, every day and strengthens the education Calvin is providing our students. Did 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, please 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. Every 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. You can make an online gift now.


Sophomore to tackle the 'puzzle' of research as Beckman Scholar

Sarah TaskerAt this point in her Calvin career, sophomore chemistry major Sarah Tasker is in Merida, a town in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, speaking Spanish 'round the clock and taking classes at a local university. This summer, however, Tasker returns to the Calvin campus, to a familiar setting. "I love the lab," she said. Tasker will also be stepping into some brand new shoes as Calvin's first Beckman Scholar. "Research is really my passion," she confessed. She will be doing plenty of it. Calvin established the Beckman Scholars Program in April through a $77, 000 grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The program allows intensive 15-month research experiences in chemistry, biology or biochemistry for a select number of Calvin students. Read more.


Entrada Scholars Program begins June 15

On Sunday, June 15, 64 students from around the nation will move into the Boer-Bennink residence hall at Calvin College, their temporary summer home as members of the 2008 class of the Entrada Scholars Program. On Sunday, June 15, 64 students from around the nation will move into the Boer-Bennink residence hall at Calvin College, their temporary summer home as members of the 2008 class of the Entrada Scholars Program. Those students will reside at Boer-Bennink until the Entrada graduation, which takes place at 11 a.m. Friday, July 11, 2008 in the college’s Gezon Auditorium. In between, promises associate director of pre-college programs Tasha Paul, the scholars will learn a lot and have a lot of fun: "Entrada is a distinctive experience," said Paul. "It is a quality, faith-based program." Entrada, Spanish for "gateway," immerses high school juniors and seniors of color in a total college experience. The Entrada scholars—who this year hail from Michigan, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, South Dakota, California, Ohio, Washington D.C., Oregon, Illinois, New York, Missouri, Arizona, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Ontario, Canada and Guam—are high-achieving students nominated for the program by their pastors, guidance counselors, teachers and community leaders. Each Entrada scholar receives a $4000 scholarship to attend the program. Read more.


Local elementary-school kids get a close look at chemistry

Professor Larry LoutersIt looks like a Hannah Montana concert in Calvin's Gezon Auditorium, with fifth and sixth graders everywhere, clapping their hands and shrieking in delight. In fact these kids aren't taking in a teen pop concert—they're watching as frigid liquid nitrogen contained in a chemistry beaker shrinks a large balloon to the size of a peanut. Larry Louters, a Calvin professor of chemistry has been shrinking balloons, dissolving copper pennies and lighting unburnable rags aflame in front of fifth and sixth graders for 20 years now. These annual chemistry demonstrations bring hundreds of children from area elementary schools to Calvin in order to show them that chemistry is more than formulas and equations they’ll have to memorize in high school—it’s literally everywhere. Read more.


Young Alumni Launch Engineering Endowment Fund

Engineering students Joel Voogt, Jeff Guerrero, Mike Spee and Corinne Kluge are designing drinking water and wastewater management solutions in Cajabamba, Ecuador. In the future, senior design projects like theirs will be eligible for endowment fund grants.Raising more than $25,000 in just a few weeks, a group of young engineering alumni has launched a new fund to support engineering research at Calvin. An appeal for annual contributions from engineering professor Steve VanderLeest prompted the support from alumni. "I thought, wouldn't it be neat if the department didn't have to ask for this money each year?" says Keith Mulder '04, an alumnus involved in the early stages of the fund. "How can we best equip Calvin engineering students for the long term?" The answer was to set up the Engineering Department Endowment Fund, in which money donated will be invested by the college, and then the income from the fund will be used by engineering students and faculty each year. "I was delighted to learn that some of our recent graduates took the initiative to start this endowment … and I'm very grateful that they have the desire to give back so that our engineering program can continue to flourish," says VanderLeest. Read more.


2008 Summer International Music Tours: Capella and Calvin Band

Calvin's CapellaFrom May 22 - June 4, 2008 Capella is touring the Netherlands and France. In addition to concerts and church services in these countries, the Capella will also participate in the Florilége Vocal international choir competitions in Tours, France from May 30 to June 1. All participating choirs have been rigorously pre-screened before the competition. Capella is grateful and honored to have been chosen from entries submitted from all over the world.

From May 19 through June 2, 2008, the Calvin Band has been touring Central Europe. The repertoire for the concert tour features music that celebrates rich musical traditions - a lot of distinctly American music such as Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, Walter Piston's Tunbridge Fair, Morton Gould's Ballad for Band, Robert Russell Bennett, Suite of Old American Dances, and some marches by John Philip Sousa. In addition to this, the band will also celebrate the folk traditions of the countries in which they'll be visiting, programming Hungarian composer Frigyes Hidas' Capriccio, Bela Bartok's Romanian Dances, and Halsey Stevens' Ukrainian Folk Songs. Read more about the itineraries for these tours on the Music Department Web site.


Seminar brings Chinese scholars to campus

Dr. Joel CarpenterCalvin College will host a four-week seminar from June 23 to July 18 on science, philosophy and belief. The seminar is specifically designed for faculty and graduate students in related disciplines from universities in mainland China, and thus will bring to Grand Rapids a group of 22 Chinese graduate students and professors. The program will cover all of their travel and seminar expenses thanks to a $2 million grant received by Calvin in January 2007 from the John Templeton Foundation. "Chinese intellectuals are eager to engage their western counterparts, and fewer topics are hotter than the relationship between scientific and religious ways of knowing," said Joel Carpenter, director of the college's Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity he said. "For 50 years, Chinese academics have been taught that science is the true path to knowledge and religion is superstition. Today they are deeply skeptical of that message, and they are eager to learn more about how front-line scholars in the West deal with this topic. We want to give them the best minds we can offer, people who have thought long and deeply about science and religion." Read more.


Golf Tournament for Calvin Alumni & Parents: Saturday, September 6

You are invited to the 39th annual Calvin Alumni Association Golf Tournament for alumni and parents. This event is an opportunity to combine great golf and fellowship with a great purpose: raising funds for the Grand Rapids Area Alumni Chapter Scholarship for first-year students. The Tournament will be held at Pilgrim's Run (in neighboring Pierson, Michigan)--named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses You Can Play” by Golf magazine in 2002 and one of the “Top 10 Public Courses in Michigan” by Michigan Golf magazine in 2006. For more information and to register online visit the Alumni Association Web site.


Calvin Distinctive #4: Promising Futures

A Calvin education is the foundation for a successful life calling. Through the development of essential character, knowledge and skills, Calvin helps students understand God's world, discover their unique gifts and excel in vocations of meaning and purpose. Calvin provides an excellent foundation for students to pursue graduate studies. A study of the number of scholars earning doctoral degrees reveals that Calvin ranks first in the nation among master's degree-granting institutions for total amount of graduates receiving doctoral degrees, and 22nd when compared with over 1,000 similar private colleges. Read more.

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.