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Reunionfest 97

It was an emotional moment for the Class of 47. In the Gezon Auditorium, almost exactly 50 years to the day of their Calvin graduation, their names were being read again, one by one, and they walked onto the stage.

President emeritus Dr. William Spoelhof shook each hand, former Provost Gordon Van Harn gave each a special diploma and Alumni Association President Marshall Ellens presented them with a commemorative 50-year medallion.

A new Calvin tradition was born.

The Alumni Association was eager to emphasize the tremendous legacy of Calvin College, both for the 50-year class and for Calvin seniors on their graduation day. What better way than to join the two on Commencement Weekend?

The Class of 47 had events on their own and then capped off the weekend by processing --- in robes and with their new medallions --- into the Calvin Fieldhouse for the Commencement ceremonies. It was a bonding time for the Class of 47 and the Class of 97. While many years and experiences separate the two alumni classes, the same foundational Calvin education brought them together.

The Heritage Class (those graduating 51 years or more) welcomed the 47ers into its ranks on Commencement Saturday, with Sue Leestma Pettinga 44 delivering a fine induction address. Distinguished Alumna Trena Korfker Haan 34, still giving voice instruction at 95 years old, led the joined classes in songs of the era.

Five other reunion classes enjoyed gathering on the Calvin campus when the weather turned a bit warmer --- in July.

Most of the classes took advantage of the offer to bus over to the Franklin campus and relive memories on that special spot of earth. The Class of 57 had a particularly moving ceremony in the space that once was the chapel, with John Koole 57 delivering a powerful message.

Dr. Spoelhof was the guest of a number of classes. The Class of 52 wanted to hear from him since that class was the first to graduate under his 25-year tenure as Calvin president.

Retired sociology professor Don Wilson gave a humor-filled, yet inspiring talk to the Class of 67, telling numerous stories of his experiences with Calvin students and faculty over the years.

Bob Meyering 68 presented his monologue as the (in)famous Calvin statue "Moses" to three reunion classes, getting laughs and knowing smiles from many alums.

Glenn Bulthuis 77 was a natural entertainer for his 20-year colleagues in the Class of 77 and a record of nearly 200 alumni and friends gathered for fun with the River City Improv Team as the Class of 87 celebrated 10 years after graduation.

The 25-year Class of 72 will be getting together on Parent/Family Weekend at Calvin on October 24-25. The Association hopes more grads will be able to come in the fall, with some of them interested in visiting their kids at Calvin anyway.

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