Thank you for submitting these. A printed copy of these will be available upon request at the reunion. We hope to see you soon!
Helen Verbrugge Arkema
Since graduating from Calvin, life has been busy and filled with fun. I married Garry ’88 in 1991 and we now have two kids, Rachel ’19 and David ’23. We still enjoy keeping in touch with friends from Calvin; last summer we went out to the Canadian Rockies to see Garry’s roommate, Martin, and his family. I am a pediatrician and have gone on several mission trips with Garry to Bolivia and Jamaica, and last year I went to Guatemala with Rachel for a week-long medical and eye glass mission. We hope to see lots of friends at the reunion.
Marrying half way through my junior year and having a child before my senior year altered my social life and forced me to focus on work, school and family responsibilities. I needed a paid internship so I could gain experience and earn some much needed income. Shirley Roels was able to assist me in getting an internship at Michigan National Bank as a credit analyst. This moved into a full time position after graduation. In 1988 a transfer opportunity to the South Bend, Ind., area proved to be a wonderful move for our family. Five years later we moved back to west Michigan and settled in Hudsonville where we have lived since. All three of our kids have graduated or are attending Calvin. We had three Sudan refugee “lost boys” who joined our family in 2001 as teenagers. They graduated from Unity Christian High School and went on to college. I stayed in the banking industry until late 2001 when I joined New Equipment Leasing, Inc., an equipment finance company in Grand Rapids.
Life has been interesting. I furthered my education by receiving my MBA at Grand Valley State University. I have been married to my wife Alison (Snoey) for 23 years. Together we have two children, Owen and Sonja. We have lived in a number of places, including Poland, Wisconsin and Belgium (Vlaams), and we are currently living in the United Kingdom. With a French major you can go places!
Life has taken me to two years in Grove City, Penn., four years as a resident director at Calvin, 14 months in Mexico City, three years at Gordon College (Mass.), five years in graduate school at Michigan, and now ten years back at Calvin as director of the Service-Learning Center, including two interims with students in Mexico and in Romania and the fall semester of 2011 with 18 students in Budapest, Hungary.
After Calvin I worked for two years as a Social Worker in a 200 bed nursing home. Then on to Seminary in 1989 for a Master's in Church Education and ministry at Heritage CRC in Byron Center. 1998 I completed my M DIV at CTS and became the Senior Pastor at Cadillac CRC in Cadillac Michigan. Four years ago, I and my family accepted the call to Sonlight Community CRC in Lynden Washington and now we find ourselves on the beautiful west coast.
I taught second grade in Augusta, Ga., for two years and then moved to coaching women’s Division I volleyball with stops at Augusta College, The College of William & Mary, Mississippi State and The University of Southern Mississippi. I left coaching and moved to Columbus, Ohio, where I am now a process consultant for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
James Padilla DeBorst
I prepared myself for a life of service in Latin America at Calvin. Life threw me quite a few curveballs along the way. First I ended up in inner city Minneapolis serving meals to the elderly and infirm. And at 24 I was welcomed to West Africa with the proverb, “An old man in a deep hole can see farther than a young man in a high tree.” The man I was replacing at the Christian Health Association of Liberia was retiring. The proverb was surely prophetic. I certainly did not see the war coming that would eventually chase me out of the country. Nor did I ever imagine that the experience of war and giving witness to the massacre of civilians would become an ongoing motif in my life. I left Liberia a lot older than my brief stay would suggest. Another theme of my life has been children. In Liberia, Maya Angela came into the family after her birth mother died in childbirth. Since then two biological kids and three foster girls joined the clan. After divorce and remarriage, adoption turned three step kids into the other half of a multiethnic version of the Brady Bunch. I thought that phase was over but last year a Nicaraguan teenager asked if my wife and I would be his parents. (For lack of space I won’t mention grandkids, except to say seven kids call me abuelo). Guatemala was where the first of those biological kids bounced around his mom’s belly while we traveled over the muddy roads and under the tall trees of the rain forest province of El Petén: home to monkeys and guerilleros. A couple of years in Guatemala doing international development work with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (now known as World Renew) morphed into 14 more in El Salvador. The tough reality of Salvador led me to joke that it was the most peaceful country I had worked in. Despite the peace accords that went into effect as we arrived, the homicide rate contributed to a higher mortality rate than during the twelve-year civil war. After a brief stint in the United States for master’s studies in Cambridge, Mass., my wife, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, and I have settled in Costa Rica. Ruth is becoming a world-renowned theologian. I direct an institute that supports Christian higher education in Latin America. Together we have founded a Christian community called Casa Adobe where we attempt to nourish family, weave community, live as neighbors and act as citizens of another Kingdom.
Kathleen Harris Devarenne
The first era after graduation was a series of two-year stints in teaching: Academia Los Pinares in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; ESL at Indiana University while getting my master's degree; and ESL at Hokusei University in Sapporo, Japan. The second era has been teaching English and Spanish in the Forest Hills Northern and Eastern high schools in Grand Rapids, 1995-present. I am married and have two daughters, 11 and 12, who attend Forest Hills schools. Who knows what the third will be?
Ronald De Vries
God abides while love endures. Life lingers on while the unanticipated amazes. I recently received an e-mail from my sister which reminded me of how we can make God smile: tell God that is not the way I planned it. Well, life did not turn out the way I planned it. Not to snivel, but life has humbled the idealistic young man who graduated from Calvin ready to transform the world for Christ. In some ways, life has come full circle. I am back where I began. In other ways, I have been forever transformed by the proviso of time. When I graduated in 1987, I was working at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services as a mental health worker. Today, I am working at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services as a licensed clinical psychologist. I cannot adequately chronicle the last 25 years. I can write that I have lived in interesting places and met fascinating people. I can share that my fears rocked my faith. After Calvin, I moved to Pasadena, Calif.; attended and graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary School of Psychology; worked on a book with Lewis Smedes; took Dutch Calvinism with Richard Mouw; and even presented my dissertation at the American Psychological Association (APA) convention in Chicago. After Fuller, I moved to Seattle, worked for a clinic associated with Henry Cloud and John Townsend, taught undergraduate and graduate students at Seattle Pacific University, and started my own private practice. I had the honor of meeting President Clinton and I once had dinner with Timothy Leary. Words cannot describe the joy of watching the birth of my two children or the pain of watching my marriage fall apart. When my emotional and physical health failed, I prayed and pleaded for healing and restoration. On those sleepless nights, only grace could extinguish the burning coals of remorse and regret. Today, I have re-gained my health. I focus on a career and ministry in West Michigan. I love my family and my friends. And I try to integrate the broken dreams of yesterday with the unimagined possibilities of tomorrow. Yes, the unanticipated amazes while life lingers on. Love endures while God abides.
Jill Markus Feikema
My accomplishments are not notable: I’m not chair of the Federal Reserve nor have I published any books on astounding topics. I volunteer when I can and am my family’s “cruise director”: we travel and bike, and eat to make up for it. I’m married to Dirk Feikema ’91 and we have two kids ages 10 and 12 who are, naturally, above-average. God has blessed me immeasurably. May I never stop discovering or learning.
I attended medical school in Chicago, during which time I married and met Amy. After completing a residency in family medicine, I worked for 11 years as a country doctor in southwest Wisconsin, where all three of our children were born. Since 2006 I have been back in the Chicago area, where I am a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at the University of Chicago (U of C) and work as core faculty at the U of C (NorthShore) Family Medicine Residency. I still play saxophone and clarinet and love making music with my musically gifted family.
Calvin provided an incredible foundation academically and spiritually. I am grateful for the way my Calvin education and experiences continue to help mold me into a true follower of Jesus. After graduating from Calvin with a B.S. in Accountancy, I joined BDO Seidman in Grand Rapids as a CPA, Audit Manager. This work provided a valuable understanding and experience of the financial and operational aspects of business. After five years, I began at Herman Miller in the Audit and Risk Management area. This exposed me to outstanding business leaders and the international aspects of business operations. These experiences lead me to the Corporate Finance and Treasury areas where I managed cash flows, capital structures, investments and international currencies for thirteen years. In 2005, I had an opportunity to serve as Vice President and CFO for Spectrum Health/Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation. I enjoy this role and it is rewarding being involved in an organization that provides world class healthcare to all the children and families in our West Michigan Communities.
On a personal note, I married my high school sweetheart, Judi Dykgraaf, before my senior year at Calvin. We have been married for 26 years and are busy and grateful raising three daughters (ages 19, 17, 13). I am blessed and excited as our first daughter just began her college career at Calvin this fall! We have spent our post college years living in the Hudsonville area and enjoy spending time with family and attending daughter’s sporting events. I am involved in our church, Fair Haven Ministries, and serving on various boards.
Sherry Mandeville Knoppers
Since graduating from Calvin I have enjoyed a fulfilling nursing career. I started as a bedside staff nurse in pediatrics at Butterworth Hospital; worked in the early periodic screening, diagnosis, and treatment (EPSDT) clinical and then as a community health nurse at the Kent County Health Department; taught pediatric nursing in the Hope-Calvin and then Calvin Department of Nursing; and am currently teaching pediatric and community nursing at Grand Rapids Community College. I went on to earn an MSN at Grand Valley State University and a PhD at Michigan State University. I was blessed to marry fellow Calvin grad John Knoppers and have two sons, Landon (who graduated in December 2011 after seven semesters at Calvin) and Logan (currently attending Calvin). I have enjoyed keeping in touch with Calvin friends. We gather at least a couple times a year typically with 20-30 or more (our core group of friends, spouses and children). We have had 10-, 15-, 20- and this summer 25-year reunion trips from our senior (junior for some of the group) spring break trip and are enjoying seeing many of our children attend Calvin together. With friends spread across the country from the west coast to the east coast as well as abroad, I am amazed at the depth of our friendship and feel blessed to have developed such strong bonds in my time at Calvin.
Craig A. Langley
Hello to everyone! I have been living near Washington, DC and working for the Federal Government since 1992.
I went to the University of Wisconsin–Madison for my PhD in computer science (1992). I then took a position for almost 15 years at Bell Labs where I had the opportunity to publish extensively about various computer science topics and produce quite a few patents. I have been at Google in New York City since fall 2007. I converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and am an ordained Reader. I am an amateur historian and have published several papers on church history.
Betsy VanNoord Marvin
After Calvin, I spent nine years teaching at Creston Christian School in Grand Rapids. I loved teaching middle school and coaching various sports. After nine years, God called me into ministry. I have served at Cornerstone Church for 15 years as their director of student ministries, more recently a focus on high school and young adults. While there, I obtained my master’s degree in youth ministry. It is a joy to join God in his work among high school and college students. I currently speak and teach in various venues as God continues to expand me and ministry.
Following graduation from Calvin, I completed my master’s degree at Michigan State and began my career as a park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. After starting at Rocky Mountain, I served as a park ranger at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Mount Rainier National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park and finally Yosemite National Park. I am currently the chief ranger for interpretation and education in Yosemite. My passion is connecting people’s hearts and minds to our incredible legacy of public lands in America. Yosemite and the Grand Canyon are our Notre Dame, our Parthenon. These are our natural cathedrals where people find themselves and often find God. As John Muir noted, they are “places to play in and places to pray in.” I still remember the very moment, sitting in Glen Van Andel’s recreation class at Calvin, when a guest speaker opened my eyes to this career path. Twenty years now as a park ranger, and I still jump out of bed every day, thankful for this and so many blessings. These blessings also include Cindy, my wife of 18 years, and two amazing kids, David (15) and Anna (13).
After Calvin, I attended Purdue where I got my master’s degree and PhD. Then, for 14 years I was a computer programmer in the Pittsburgh area. My wife, Susan ’88, and I have three children: Joel, 18; Erica, 16; and James, 12. Susan is an accountant and bookkeeper. In 2008, we moved to Grand Rapids because I got my dream job: being a professor of computer science at Calvin College! I am loving being a college professor, and I enjoy living in West Michigan.
My well-rounded engineering degree from Calvin served me well as a background for serving in the nuclear U.S. Navy. After serving five years in the Navy, I ended up returning to West Michigan and began a successful 20-year (and counting) career at the Palisades Nuclear Plant. My Calvin education has allowed me to become a very valued contributor to the engineering department.
Kristi Scholten Potter
I loved my experience as a student at Calvin, and when I graduated my desire was to find a way to work at Calvin and remain a part of the community. My first job at Calvin, as the secretary of the art department, taught me the ins and outs of working at an academic institution, not to mention a new love and appreciation for art! That year was also the year I married my husband, Jim Potter, who is a police officer for the city of Grand Rapids. I spent the next five years in the office of conferences and campus events as an event coordinator and eventually assistant director. I loved this work and discovered my passion and gift for event planning. In 1993 I left Calvin to stay at home fulltime with our twin sons, Aaron and Ethan. After a few years at home I returned to Calvin on a part time basis as an event coordinator working on the January Series. Soon after returning I had our third son, Lucas, and continued to assist with the January Series. As my children grew older and headed off to school I began to add more and more hours to my work at Calvin. Eventually I became the assistant to the director of the January Series. In 2007, June Hamersma retired as the director of the series and I was given the opportunity to take over the role. Having worked together for 11 years, our transition was smooth, and I am now in my sixth year as the director of the January Series. I am proud to say that the January Series is as successful as ever and continues to grow each year with the addition of remote webcast sites across the country. The series is an important part of what takes place at Calvin. I never dreamed that this was what God had planned for my life, but He has been faithful and has provided just the right job at just the right time in my life. I am privileged to have been a part of the Calvin community for over 20 years and have watched as the college has grown stronger in what it offers our students academically, spiritually and as a community. I’m thrilled that my twins will be first-year students at Calvin this fall and will get a chance to experience it for themselves!
Mary Beth Brown Roossien
Since attending Calvin, I continued my education at Aquinas College, earning a master’s degree in education. I was a band director at Lamont Christian School and Allendale Christian School, an art teacher at St. Thomas and Allendale Christian, and now am working as the accompanist at Grand Rapids Christian Middle School.
Since attending Calvin, I have been a teacher, college/university professor and educational researcher. I am currently a mother, and I am in private practice as an educational therapist. I work with children and young adults who have a variety of learning and developmental needs, advocate for parents and children regarding education services and also provide professional development for teachers.
I am now working in Lansing, Mich., as senior policy analyst at the Michigan League for Human Services (www.milhs.org), a non-profit that uses data-driven advocacy to advance public policy that makes it easier for low-income Michigan families to achieve economic security. In short, I am part researcher and writer, part coalition builder, and part (dare I say it?) lobbyist. I deliberately chose a major, philosophy, in which the sky would be the limit, and it led to a vocation that I love.
Deb Hubbard Ryan
I first began my career in the financial industry on the east coast. I spent over 20 years in the mutual fund and retirement industry, tapping on the education I received at Calvin. Just a few years ago I “retired” from my career and entered a new career in ministry, serving as a leader in an international Bible study and taking on various leadership roles at my church. With this new serving experience I realize even more how Calvin has equipped me in its teachings of Reformed doctrine that I have over and over leaned on as I have been called to teach others.
I spent the spring semester of my senior year doing an internship in Chicago. I came back to my hometown of Grand Rapids only to graduate. That is not so say, however, that my life has remained stagnate or even stable. In fact, though rooted in Chicago, my life has been marked by upheaval. After floundering career-wise for a number of years, I finally, in 1998, channeled the passion I had nurtured as an English major at Calvin into a career as a high school English teacher; I have now been at the same school for 13 years and love teaching, especially advanced placement (AP) literature. Family life has been less predictable. I was divorced in 1994, with two small girls. They are now grown and, miraculously, flourishing in college and graduate school. I remarried in 1996 and, after agreeing with my wife to have one child, we had a set of twins in 2000. Eighteen months later—surprise!—we had another set of twins. They are now, miraculously, flourishing in 6th and 5th grades. We all enjoy music, sports, and our local church activities. Not everything in my life has had happy endings, however. My dad died unexpectedly in 1991, and my mom, a Calvin staff member for many years, died of pancreatic cancer on my 40th birthday in 2005. The final few weeks I spent with her and my siblings are etched in my memory as long, late-winter days of stories, laughter, hugs and tears. I remain grateful for that intense time as well as for the care mom received from her Calvin community. Life is indeed a “long and winding road,” even if you stay in the same city for 25 years.
I work as a community support worker with mentally-challenged adults in a day program. I’ve been there for 24 years now! My wife and I adopted two girls and hope to adopt three more later this year. With our own two girls to boot, we could have seven girls in the house! I’ve been singing with the Victoria Choral Society for 25 years, too!
Heidi Kloosterman Stein
Instead of graduating from Calvin, I went to Taiwan to teach English for a school year. After coming back to Grand Rapids, I moved to New York City. I found a job there, working first for a pastor and then for an investment management firm near the World Trade Center. I made enough money to pay the rent and do anything I wanted to do in my free time. I continued to take art classes and make art. Now I’m living in Mahopac, in upstate New York, still making art and writing. I’m married and have four children. I feel like I have lived many people’s dreams by moving to New York City and making art without starving. All proof that God is good.
Jana Koeman Stob
Since graduating from Calvin I have remained on the campus as an employee. Jeff Stob and I were married in June 1987 and I began employment in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid in August of 1987. I worked in that office for 7 years and then became Box Office Manager. While working in the box office our first son was born in 1994. I then began part-time work in the box office, then moved over to the Seminary as Assistant to the Seminary Board of Trustees. Our second son was born in 1998, and I took a new position with the Honors Program at Calvin in the fall of 1999. I worked there until just this past August when I started a new position in the Campus Ministries Office as Assistant to the Chaplains. I have loved working at Calvin and seeing all the wonderful changes which have taken place since we were students. It was a great college when we were here, and it has improved in many ways. Since working in the Campus Ministries office I have seen the wonderful opportunities for Spiritual growth which our current Calvin students have which we never had. Such a blessing! As mentioned, Jeff and I have 2 sons. One is a senior in high school and is considering Calvin, the other is an 8th grader. Jeff also works at Calvin as the Director of Conferences and Campus Events. He has been there for almost 20 years and will be very involved in the inauguration the weekend of the reunion.
Della vanDokkumburg Stroobosscher
God is good! Six weeks after graduating, I married Calvin alum Rick Stroobosscher. We moved to Waterloo, Ont., where I worked as an income maintenance officer for the Region of Waterloo until the birth of our first child. After that, I served as a volunteer in various capacities in our church and community. We lived in Waterloo until 2007, when we moved to Denmark for 18 months. While there, I studied Danish and managed our family, which by then had grown to include three kids. We returned to Canada in 2009 and continue to live in the Waterloo region. In 2005 we added one more child to our family, and our family is now growing in other ways. Our eldest daughter (Calvin ’11) was married in 2011, and our second-eldest will marry in 2013. Our two youngest are ages 14 and 7, and they continue to keep our life full. This year we will joyfully celebrate 25 years of marriage. In 2010 I started a publishing company, Cones To Go Press, and I currently have two titles in publication. One of them, The Shoe Tree, is available at the Calvin campus store! I write, illustrate and publish picture books that build bridges between people and communities. This venture has been filled with happy challenges, and I love the process of making books and sharing them with others. Currently, I volunteer as a volleyball coach for girls in grades 6, 7, and 8, and I lead English conversation circles for newcomers to Canada. We are at an exciting time of life and are amazed at God’s goodness to us throughout this journey!
Sari Brummel Swets
After Calvin, I earned a master’s degree at Michigan State University in motor development. I married my college man, Jon. I then taught high school for 18 years. After “retiring,” I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I now spend a lot of time walking—I have entered my third Challenge Walk (50 miles) to raise money for the National MS Society. I also do volunteer work for church and our Christian schools. We have two kids: Emily is a junior at Calvin (fourth generation Calvin student!) and Jordan is a high school senior.
Six years after Calvin I married a wonderful woman (not a Calvin grad). God saw fit to give us three beautiful children ages 28, 18 and 15. Our oldest is now married, so we have added a son-in-law to our family. I spent several years in the graphic arts industry before switching over to the information technology field. Currently, I work for Spectrum Health in the TIS department and consider myself blessed to have a rewarding and challenging job/career.
Sheryl (Sheeres) and I were married one week after graduation from Calvin in 1987. We spent the next five years living in university residence halls at Michigan State University (Curtis, master’s degree, 1989) and the University of Washington (Sheryl, master’s of library science, 1992) while we both completed graduate degrees. I was working at that time as a residence hall director. I also completed a PhD in education at Iowa State University in 2005. For the past 20 years we have been working at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Sheryl is the director of the Dordt College Library, and I am special assistant to the president and director of international student and off-campus programs. We have three children in various levels of Christian schooling: Ian Curtis, 17; Willem Levi, 13; and Mia Soo-Jee, 9. We enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures and experiencing the breadth and depth of the Kingdom of God.
Dawn Kragt VanDerMolen
After Calvin College, I moved to the east coast. After completing my master’s degree in literacy, I secured a job in the public schools teaching reading and English. I am currently married to a retired New York City detective and have three teenage sons. My oldest continued the tradition and moved back to Michigan where he is attending Calvin College. My second son is attending Bloomsburg University and my last son is a high school junior.
Adriana Tavenier Vander Werff
I could share about the hardships of being the last one hired and the first one out during the first years of living out my teacher calling; or about finding myself in a battle with cancer; or about losing a step-child, a home and a professional certificate to the laws of the land. But God is much bigger and beyond all of that. God is continuing what He started a long time ago: He is still using special needs people to teach many very profound lessons and still calling folks to marvel at the sky (even though what I experience was not made in literal 24-hour days—thanks, Dr. Van Til!) and its Creator. He’s still providing permanent victory over addiction in my family. He’s still using wandering recorder players to proclaim His good news through wood and harmonies of long ago. And not so long ago, too…Kingdom living is a daily Way. It’s in the remote First Nations village where Wayne, my husband, was miraculously provided a year of work while I taught and where my children learned to be King’s kids alongside the abused. It’s in the jail cell where some of my students have been, or the local missions outreaches where my special needs friends and I are working together. It’s in the garden market, when our recorder ensemble plays tunes from last year and the 500 years before that. It’s in the lives of my aging parents, the ones whom God used to make Calvin an option from God that I could consider. And it’s in the lives of the Calvin roommates that have taught me so much through 24 years of Christmas letter writing. But His story is not finished yet. From His-story and new-found Jewish friends, I am learning that the best is yet to come! The amazing part of living out what Jesus was teaching in the 1980s is the incredible truth that we already know the outcome of His-story. And that, I have discovered, is not taught in every classroom. Special greetings to Tim Bolt, Dr. Hoeksema, Dr. Stapert, Dr. Van Til, Linda, Laura, Lisa, Wendy, and Wendy and families. Thanks for your part in teaching truth that is relevant for all time! Shalom, my friends.
I loved Calvin and have nothing but the best to say of my time and the people that I met at Calvin. For anyone who ever wants to ask me, I tell them what a great place Calvin is. After Calvin I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I took a meandering path and eventually made my way through law school. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1991 and moved to Washington, D.C., to take a job with the federal government. After ten years in D.C., I relocated to Kansas City. I have been an attorney with the federal government for over 20 years, which is hard to believe. I am married and have one son.
Sandra Zylstra Vroon
After spending 6 years teaching full time and 6 years part time in various elementary grades, I left the classroom and became a Reading Recovery teacher. I still serve in that role part time. In addition, I work as an adjunct professor at several local colleges and universities. I also currently lead a Zumba class at Calvin College for staff and faculty in the Healthy Habits program. My husband and I have 5 children. Our oldest is a sophomore at Calvin and our youngest is in first grade.
The best part of my experience at Calvin was meeting the love of my life. We married a year after graduation. I became a CPA and worked for an accounting firm for a few years. I then joined my family in the business I grew up in prior to attending Calvin. The leadership skills developed at Calvin have been valuable to me as I have served and continue to serve on several boards. I have three wonderful children. It did not feel like 25 years had passed when we brought our daughter to Calvin last fall. I guess time flies when you’re having fun.
After marrying my wife, Linda, in the summer following graduation we moved to Lansing, Mich., to begin working for the family business. I have worked at developing new projects in the renewable energy business ever since. We have raised three children, two of whom are now attending Calvin and the third is also an aspiring Knight. We continue to stay active supporting Calvin in any way possible, as it has made a tremendous impact in the lives of our entire family.