A visionary investment
By Glenn Triezenberg, Director of Career Development

Six years ago, John and Judy Spoelhof—good friends of Calvin College and proud parents of four Calvin graduates—made a decision to invest in Calvin in a unique way. John, recently retired president and CEO of Prince Corp., knew the value of hard work, high-quality education and on-the-job internships. He also knew that good teachers yearn to learn. So John and Judy created the Spoelhof Family Institute for Christian Leadership in Business. Its mission: to encourage faculty and students to get out of the classroom and into business environments where academic learning and on-the-job learning complement each other and produce an ideal learning paradigm.

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Spoelhof Institute for Christian Leadership in Business
Spoelhof Institute

Read a Spark article about Anna Greidanus-Probes' externship at JCI, a press release about Earl Fife and Keith Vander Linden's experiences, and other reports from faculty externs

Explore the resources that the Career Development Office offers to alumni, students, and employers

Meet the summer 2006 interns and consider hosting an intern at your company

A Faculty Partnership

John and Judy have achieved their goal of encouraging faculty to leave the classroom for a semester to become learners in a business environment. Eleven Calvin faculty members have served as Spoelhof externship fellows in local, national and international businesses. They offer their expertise to the companies, and they learn new business practices in the process. Spoelhof faculty externs maximize the faculty service-learning experience and then return to the classroom better teachers.

While this article summarizes these faculty externship experiences, I encourage you to visit www.calvin.edu/academic/spoelhof for the rest of the story. Great things happen when the dreams and wishes of friends of the college become leading programs.

A Huge Return

The best news about the Spoelhof investment is that almost 2,000 Calvin students, 500 last year, found high-quality, faculty-supervised internships as a result of this funding gift. And in a challenging employment market, 35 percent of Calvin student interns are hired by their internship employer, so the value of student internships to employers, students and the college is huge! These successes have been nurtured by the good work of Calvin staff members Beth Cok, Andy DeVries, Aaron Winkle and Laurie Lemmen, as well as professors Shirley Roels, Bob Eames and Ned Nielsen. All have been key players and performers in this success story.


John and Judy, Calvin College is most grateful for your visionary investment in our faculty and students. Thank you for building the kingdom through your institute at Calvin College!