Calvin's Hamersma Announces Her
From: Phil de Haan < email@example.com >
Date: Thu May 04 2006 - 10:08:53 EDT
May 5, 2006 == MEDIA ADVISORY
Don't call it a retirement. Or a resignation.
For June Hamersma her plan to leave her duties as director of The January
Series of Calvin College following the 2007 season is a "moving on."
"I have had 20 wonderful, productive and rewarding years at Calvin," she says
in her matter-of-fact, straight-forward fashion. "Now it is time for me to do
Calvin president Gaylen Byker says Hamersma will be missed.
"June has been a great representative of Calvin College and its Christian,
liberal arts mission," he says. "The January Series has become a vital and
integral part of each Calvin year and has provided the entire community with
wonderful intellectual sunshine in the middle of winter. June has been an
inspiration and a role model. We will miss her."
Meanwhile Hamersma is already busy planning the 2007 edition of the January
Series, widely recognized as one of the best college lecture series in the
country (the series won accolades three times in the 1990s from the
International Platform Association as the nation's best campus lecture series
before the IPA retired the award in 1999).
"We've set a pretty high bar for this series," she says. "I want to be sure
that 2007 is the best ever."
That commitment to excellence goes back to Hamersma's hiring in August 1987
when she pulled together a stellar series in a matter of months. In fact the
1988 January Series averaged almost 400 attendees per day.
These days the January Series has become one of Calvin's most public faces,
offering a series of provocative lectures daily each January, all of which are
free and open to all thanks to Hamersma's tireless pursuit of underwriters and
her ability to get big-name speakers for a fraction of their normal speaking
fee. Daily attendance in the Fine Arts Center at Calvin for the Series these
days runs closer to 1,400 and the Series is established as a West Michigan
destination in the month of January.
So now, at the age of 77, Hamersma is ready for her next challenge, whatever
that might be.
"I don't feel old," she says with a chuckle, "but I don't know how one is
supposed to feel at 77. My mind is full of new ideas and now seems like a good
time to implement them. I don't know what possibilities might lie before me,
but I'm excited to find out."
She's thinking her next project might be public relations assistance for local
companies who do not have large PR staffs, or PR staffs period. That would
bring her in some ways full circle, back to the days when she was director of
publicity and public relations for the Riverside Church in New York City.
But, she's not hung up on the specifics of her next pursuit, although she does
say that she never wanted to do the same thing twice.
"You need to be on the cutting edge," she says. "I always said 'You're only
as good as your next series.'"
For the full story, including a high-res color pic, see