Every year, around 900 Calvin alumni are added to the association rolls. They leave “the good spot of earth” that is the Knollcrest campus and head out into the world, whether down the block or on the other side of the world, as God leads.
Now, after 30 years in essentially the same location, the Calvin alumni office staff is going to share the experience of every graduate. We're moving.
We've called the William Spoelhof Center home since the 1970s. But this spring, the association is preparing to move to a new office building the college has purchased on the east side of the East Beltline, roughly across the road from the Boer-Bennink residence halls—the place I called my home as a student. The address is 1580 East Beltline Ave. SE, and the land expands the Calvin campus a little in the northward direction.
In addition to the alumni, parent and community relations offices, this new building will also house the development, communications and marketing, and human resources offices. The Calvin Academy of Lifelong Learning (CALL) office will be there, too.
This is a significant change. We'll no longer be in the center of the campus, near where alumni parents visit Calvin with their high school children, or down the hall from the café, or next door to the chapel, or adjacent to academic buildings.
We'll have to do what our graduates do: plant our flag somewhere else and redeem a new spot of earth.
There will be great beauty around us. The college's nature preserve is our new backyard, and a pleasant portion of the preserve's watershed, Buttonbush Pond, can be seen from some of our windows.
To visit, you'll have to use the driveway off of the northbound East Beltline just before Lake Drive, or (if already on campus) take the underpass near the Fine Arts Center and turn left, through the student parking lot to our new headquarters.
Our new home doesn't have an official name yet. But we've already started to brainstorm ways to interest you in stopping by so we can keep learning about what's happening in your lives and to talk with you about how Calvin can continue to enrich your journey.
What will that take? The best coffee on campus? Comfortable furniture? Wireless access? A guarantee of former professors available for reminiscing and counsel? A complete set of Prisms, dating back to 1921?
Every alum of Calvin College has had to do the same thing, perhaps many times over—make a home where God has led them. You've had to get a sense of your surroundings, meet your neighbors, figure out where you can grow flowers and gradually construct a new rhythm of life. Now, it's our turn.
We'll let you know when we officially arrive. The welcome mat will be out. The coffee will be on. And we want to continue the conversations with you that we've had for these 30-plus years.
Calvin is still your home. And ours. Visit our new spot of earth this year.
Michael J. Van Denend
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