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About Us

Background

For over twenty five years The January Series of Calvin College has been the leading lecture/cultural arts Series in the country. The diversity of presenters and topics has changed as the world of ideas has changed. No issue of importance to a great Christian liberal arts college founded on Reformed, biblical principles has been too controversial or too hot to handle. Why? Because at Calvin College we have been taught to think with discernment and thoughtful skepticism. We know this is God's creation and each of us is created in His image so it follows we need to engage that world, learn about it, from it and in some cases confront it. Come and join us this January as we celebrate our 27th year and may Calvin always be a leader in hearing diverse voices and ideas with the discernment of those who truly believe and understand Calvin's motto "My heart I offer to you Lord promptly and sincerely."

Calvin College is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Calvin College is one of the largest Christian colleges in the world with an enrollment of 4,000 students. It was founded in 1876 by Calvinistic Dutch settlers as a Theological Seminary and evolved into a highly respected liberal arts college which is both international and interdenominational. There is a fall and spring semester with the month of January as an Interim term in which students are encouraged to select a course of academic enrichments not offered during the other semesters.

During the Interim, the college sponsors the daily hour-long cultural enrichment series called The January Series. Presented at 12:30 pm in the 1000-seat Covenant Fine Art Center Auditorium on-campus, the series is open without charge to students, faculty, and the Western Michigan community. Despite typical Michigan winter weather, the auditorium fills up and the audience spills over into closed circuit television rooms as needed. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our founding director, June Hamersma, who served as the director for the first twenty years, the Series has become an important part of the cultural and educational offerings in Western Michigan and has received nationwide attention. The International Platform Society, founded by Daniel Webster in 1834, has awarded TJS the Silver Bowl Award for "Best Campus Lecture Series in the U.S.A." three times (1994, 1995 & 1999) and has since retired the award. In 2008 we opened our program beyond our auditorium walls to remote sites across the country.  Each year we have expanded and in 2014 we will have 40+ churches, schools and community centers across North America - and one European site - that will watch the live presentation as part of our January Series audience.

Our Mission

The foundation for excellence both in our classroom at Calvin College and on the January Series is the philosophy that an outstanding liberal arts education teaches students how to think, not what to think. We want our students to look at current ideas critically in light of history and creatively with an eye to the future. We support freedom of speech and expression; we encourage faculty, students and the community to listen to viewpoints that differ from their own. Bringing a wide variety of excellent speakers on a wide variety of topics to campus is one very valuable factor of education at Calvin.