Calvin vice president of finance to step down Friday

File photo.
File photo.

This article is an update to a story published Monday morning.

After 15 years at Calvin, Henry DeVries will step down from his role as vice president for administration, finance and information services on Friday, according to an email from President Michael Le Roy to faculty and staff Monday afternoon.

The email said that the change comes “by mutual agreement with the college.”

The move comes one month after the college announced significant financial concerns, including a budget shortfall by 2017. Le Roy has made addressing this shortfall a priority during the first few months of his presidency.

DeVries was the college’s chief financial officer for the past 15 years.

His departure also comes after Samuel Wanner left the director of financial services position earlier this fall.

DeVries declined comment late Monday afternoon. At press time, Le Roy was out of town and had not yet responded to a request for comment.

“Henry has served the college faithfully for 15 years and I am grateful for his devotion to Calvin College,” wrote Le Roy in the email.

DeVries will remain on in an advisory role through the end of the semester to help with the transition.

The college has no plans for further official announcement on these changes.

“As far as an official announcement goes, [the] e-mail to faculty [and] staff serves that purpose,” said Matt Kucinski, Calvin’s media relations manager, in an email to Chimes.

Calvin will begin searching for a replacement “immediately,” but no details were given about the search process in the email. The college hopes to fill the role this spring.

During the vacancy in DeVries’s seat, Sally Vander Ploeg, director of gift planning and major gifts, will assume the role of director of finance and chief financial officer. She will join the cabinet next Monday.

DeVries also oversaw Calvin Information Technology (CIT), the Hekman library, Physical Plant, Creative Dining Services, campus events, Creative Dining Services, and the financial services office.

Despite the staffing changes, members of the Calvin community are taking time to reflect on DeVries’s contributions during his 15 years of service.

DeVries’s tenure included the introduction of Moodle, an online educational platform as well as email addresses for all faculty and staff. He also oversaw the installation projectors and computers in 95 percent of Calvin classrooms.

“The most significant that we’ve done is that focus on bringing technology into the classroom,” said Rick DeVries, associate director of business services with CIT, who worked with Henry for the 15 years Henry was at Calvin.

“He has a very good memory of a wide breadth of knowledge about many things, and he is able to make knowledgeable decisions very quickly,” Rick said.

Henry DeVries’s time at Calvin also saw the addition of the DeVos Communications Center, the Prince Conference Center, the Bunker Interpretative Center, as well as the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex and Covenant Fine Arts Center.

Shirley Hoogstra, vice president of student life, has worked on cabinet with DeVries for 13 years.

“Henry loves Calvin College, which is why so many people feel the loss at his departure,” she said. “Henry was a point person for many people’s work problems. He was very much a ‘go to’ person because … he was a walking information source.”

Jeff Stob, director of conferences and campus events, remembered major events during DeVries’s tenure, including a Republican Presidential candidate debate in 2000 and welcoming President George W. Bush for commencement in 2005.

“Henry has left a clear mark on Calvin, and we have been blessed by his years of work here,” said Stob. “I am sincerely grateful for all that he has taught me, both about Calvin, and about myself.  My growth is a result of his mentoring.”

DeVries also mentored several students during his time at Calvin, including Josiah Sinclair, current vice president of the student body.

“Henry has an immense love for people,” said Sinclair. “I would bet he knows the name of every staff person at Calvin, the name of their first child and the date their first child had their wisdom teeth out.”

When Sinclair thinks about how DeVries will be remembered at Calvin, he finds it hard to find the words.

“I think his work over the last 15 years has been too multifaceted to be summed up in a single legacy,” said Sinclair. “The friendships he’s built with the hundreds of staff at Calvin and the amount he’s invested in them … that isn’t going to go away very fast.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk

Ryan Struyk was the Chimes editor in chief for fall 2013. He's a senior studying mathematics and political science. Being a journalist means being both student and teacher of the world, and that’s why his job is the best one out there.

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