October 29, 2001
Calvin BOT Wraps
The 31-member Calvin College Board of Trustees (BOT) wrapped up its fall meetings on Friday, October 26, concluding two days of business that included both plenary sessions and committee meetings and reports.
A trio of new Board members took part in their first meetings, after having been elected last spring. They were:
Much of the Board's plenary sessions was devoted to information exchange, including committee reports and a discussion of the new Calvin Strategic Plan, led by Calvin President Dr. Gaylen Byker. That plan has been crafted over the last 18 months and is nearing completion. The Board discussed it now with the intent of approving it in February 2002.
"There was a very positive reaction to the (Strategic) Plan," says Tom McWhertor, Calvin vice president for enrollment and external relations. "It will set the direction for the college from 2002 to 2007 so it's an important document. And the Board was eager to discuss it."
Among the plan's five main goals are "to strengthen the College's vision and practice as a Reformed Christian community of teaching and learning" and to "fortify the College's role as a Center for Christian Scholarship."
Scholarship was a central part of the Board's October meeting as they concluded their two days on campus first with a reception for 37 recipients of new Calvin Board of Trustees scholarships and then with a tour of the new East Campus construction.
The 37 scholarship recipients of the new BOT Scholarship are, like the Calvin Board, from all over North America, including Canada. The Board enjoyed a chance to mingle with students who are the first beneficiaries of a new fund, established last year. Those 37 recipients are receiving over $100,000 in scholarship monies from the Board.
The East Campus construction, which is progressing rapidly also has scholarship at its heart.
The DeVos Communication Center will house the Calvin Communication Arts and Sciences department, as well as Political Science, and include a 150-seat video theater, audio and video production studios and editing suites, computer labs with multimedia capability, a distance education classroom and speech therapy and observation rooms.
The Prince Conference Center will allow Calvin to continue to host academic conferences that gather in Grand Rapids experts from around the world and, indeed, to expand those efforts. In addition Calvin hosts such non-profit groups as the Summit on Racism (sponsored by GRACE Racial Justice Institute), Michigan Red Cross training, Rotary Club international exchange preparation and various Christian Reformed Church gatherings.
Interestingly, a $10 million gift from the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation is dedicated to the construction of the Prince Conference Center. New Board member Elsa Prince Broekhuizen is a 1954 Calvin graduate and that foundation is named for her and her late husband, while the building is named in honor of the entire Prince family.
As noted, much of the Board's business work over the two days was spent in committees. There are six standing BOT committees: Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance and Information Services, Development, Enrollment and External Relations, Student Life, Trusteeship. There also is an Executive Committee, composed of members of the six committees. Each of the six committees essentially mirrors an academic or administrative divisions at Calvin. Each committee has a Calvin adminstrator who serves as an adviser.