The Campaign: An Interview with Co-Chairs Milt Kuyers and Elsa Prince Broekhuizen


What have you discovered that you would like Calvin alumni to know about Calvin today?

A 1956 graduate of Calvin, Milt Kuyers is the chairman and CEO of GMK Companies Inc., a Southeastern Wisconsin corporation that possesses ownership interest in four local manufacturing companies. He taught Calvin's "Business and Engineering for International Market" Interim in Europe in 2001, 2003, 2004, and received Calvin's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993. Kuyers is married to Carol Winklehorst Kuyers '56.

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen graduated from Calvin in 1954 and taught in elementary schools in Colorado, Michigan and South Carolina. She later served as chair of the Prince Corporation, and is the current owner and chairman of EDP Management Company. She currently serves on the Calvin College Board of Trustees. Prince Broekhuizen was married to Edgar Prince for 41 years until his death in 1995. She married Rev. Ren Broekhuizen '56 in 2000.

Milt Kuyers: Calvin, to me, is getting better and better. I personally had an outstanding education at Calvin; it allowed me to learn how to integrate faith with life and with work. I have four children and all graduated from Calvin, and as I have watched them, I believe that Calvin did an even better job of preparing them to make an impact in the world. Now, I have two grandkids-one graduated and one will be a senior at Calvin-and I see in their education that they are even better prepared to take on the challenges of the world. Every time we, as board members, interviewed faculty I got extremely excited about the kind of teaching that is going on at Calvin today and the preparation that our children and the next generations are getting here. Calvin is getting better and better.

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen: I think Calvin is a great place; I was thrilled to be a student here. But today, young people have so many more opportunities than we did at the time-semester and interim courses all over the world and a wide variety of majors. I recently had the opportunity to travel with an interim group, and I really got to see how eager the students are to learn. It gives you an excitement to think that we are training the future generations here at Calvin, and I am so grateful that they have stayed so close to the biblical truth, because this is a real concern of mine. It is my hope and prayer Calvin will continue to be that way.

Why do you think a capital campaign is so important for Calvin at this time?

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen: The fact is that after 35 to 40 years, buildings need to be refurbished. And with the use that a college gets, many things need to be replaced and be brought up to date. It's a necessary thing in order to stay competitive with other colleges, but also having facilities that are strong and healthy and well cared-for is something we should strive for as Christians because we want to do our best in everything for God's honor and glory.

Milt Kuyers: We also have to continue to be affordable to people of all needs. I grew up in a blue-collar-type family, and in today's world, a blue-collar family would have a tough, tough time being able to assist children in attending Calvin without having a huge amount of debt when they leave. As a result of that, there are families making choices regarding the Christian higher education of their kids. They are choosing state universities and putting their children in the hands of people who don't have the same value system and are going to shape their hearts and minds differently than we believe that hearts and minds are shaped here at Calvin College.

We have to help each other based on our covenant where God says to us, "I will be your God," and our response is, "We will be God's people." — Milt Kuyers

We have to continue to be affordable. We have to gather up the necessary funds to allow for scholarships and endowed chairs that take an expense out of the current budget. We have to help each other based on our covenant where God says to us, "I will be your God," and our response is, "We will be God's people." I believe sincerely that we are called to help each other, and we do that in community. We have a very special place here at Calvin College where we are given the opportunity to assist our students to be God's people.

What impact do you hope the campaign will have on Calvin?

Milt Kuyers: Calvin is emerging as a leader in the academic community and, in particular, the Christian academic higher education community. In order to have an impact in the world today, we have to be the best at what we have the ability to do. We have to be the best because nobody is going to listen to those who don't excel at what they do. People take notice when somebody is the best at what they do-in their vocation, or in life, or whatever it is. We need resources to continue to be the best, so we can continue to make an impact on the world.

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen: The way Calvin intertwines faith into every single subject is so important, and I hope Calvin can be such a monument that people will want to come to Calvin and want to teach here. I hope and pray that after the campaign Calvin will not be cost-prohibitive for someone coming from a hard-working family but just can't make it. I hope that it would continue to be a good, all-encompassing college.

Why should all alumni care about this campaign?

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen: They should give just because they had the wonderful privilege of going to Calvin, and when they attended, someone else was helping them because tuition does not cover the full cost of education. So out of gratitude they can say, "This is what Calvin did for me, this is how I was prepared, and I am so thankful that I can return some of what I was given." Calvin does such a great job, and in return for giving, people will be blessed again and again because they will have their children educated by wonderful Christian teachers-and have pastors that have had excellent training and counselors and businesspeople and lawyers and doctors working from the base of a Christian perspective.

Milt Kuyers: We do these things in community, and I believe that we all have to be a part of endeavors like this. It doesn't mean that you have to stop giving to everything else in order to be a part of this, but we need support for this campaign in order for it to be successful. It's going to take a huge effort to get everybody that we can involved in supporting Calvin College. Whether it's a small contribution or a large contribution, all will help the entire community blossom and grow and have an impact. It's going to get tougher and tougher for our future generations to have an impact on our world if they aren't prepared properly. At Calvin, young men and women are prepared to truly have an impact on our world.

The Campaign for Calvin CollegeWhat is exciting about contributing to Calvin today?

Elsa Prince Broekhuizen: Once people get into it and hear about what Calvin is really doing, they will be so excited. I think when someone does participate in a campaign like this, they become a part of it. You always are much more blessed when you are an active part of something, so I just want to encourage everybody to do what they can and to give to a college that is making a difference in the world by grooming new leaders-Christian leaders-who are ready to speak out for what they believe.

Milt Kuyers: Over the 50 years since Elsa and I left Calvin, the impact Calvin College has had is increasingly evident. More importantly, though, is the fact that there are thousands of stories that will never be told of people who just went about their life and amazingly, because of the foundation that was developed here at Calvin College, found that what they did was something very important in God's kingdom. No matter what we do, God has called us to make an impact through what we do. We're trying to continue to train "impact-makers." It's an exciting time to be involved in this effort and in what's going on here at Calvin College.