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News & Stories: 2008-09

Calvin Commencement is May 23May 12, 2009

For the first time since 2006, Calvin College will hold its Commencement ceremony on campus, but this year’s event will be in a brand-new location.

Commencement imageThe 2009 Calvin Commencement ceremony, slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, will be held for the first time in Calvin’s new Van Noord Arena – an air-conditioned venue that seats some 4,500 people.

For the past two years, during the construction of the new Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, Calvin Commencement ceremonies have been held in Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids. Prior to that the ceremonies were held in the old Calvin Fieldhouse and the college's Fine Arts Center.
About 930 graduates are expected to participate in the 2009 ceremony.

Numerous events highlight weekend

In addition to the ceremony in Van Noord Arena a number of other events will take place during Commencement weekend, including:

  • the annual department of nursing pinning ceremony
  • the Commencement worship service
  • the celebration cookout on the Commons Lawn
  • bachelor of arts exhibition and reception
  • a reception for international students and their parents

Bratt to speak, distinguished alums honored

The speaker for 2009 will be Dr. Ken Bratt, a professor of classical languages and director of the Honors Program at Calvin College. Bratt has taught at Calvin College for more than 30 years and in 2006 was given the college’s Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching.

In addition, 1965 graduate Sidney J. Jansma Jr., and 1969 graduate Bastian Vanderzalm will receive the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Calvin Alumni Association.

Jansma currently serves as president and CEO of Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation in Grand Rapids, a position he’s held since 1978. Throughout his career, he has shown interest concerning energy issues, serving in leadership roles at the state and national level and testifying before Congress. Jansma has also found time to get involved with a number of charitable organizations, including traveling to Vietnam and Korea to assist Bethany Christian Services in opening up adoption opportunities.

Vanderzalm has dedicated his entire career to the relief of human suffering. He has been the executive director of the Salvation Army Harbor Light in Boston, the vice president for international ministries for World Relief in Wheaton, Ill., and currently serves as the president of Medical Teams International (MTI) in Tigard, Oregon. MTI collaborates with local partners in 27 countries to help carry out disaster relief, long-term development and community health programs.

~by Matt Kucinski, communications and marketing

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