Career Comment: Report Cards

By Glenn Triezenberg, Director of Career Development

glenn triezenbergI am about to share a personal secret so please keep this quiet lest I lose my job and find myself living under a bridge for the rest of my life.

During my elementary school years, I regularly deposited my report cards in the trash bin next to the school playground. This was the common practice in my peer group of young delinquents. At some point during seventh grade, our principal wisely decided to mail these documents of doom to inquiring parents.

My underwhelming report cards continued through high school, and during my first two years at Calvin College, faculty referred to me as “an admissions error.” Professor R.R. Tiemersma washed me out of the teacher education program, and he wrote my parents a letter describing me as “the academic equivalent of Pearl Harbor.” The letter went on to say some negative things about me! All were true, and his assessment was correct.

My college career was salvaged at the 11th hour by amazing grace and the herculean efforts of Calvin professors Steve VanderWeele, Stanley Wiersma, Tom Harper and K. Patrick Rode. These folks challenged and encouraged me to finally become a student. They helped me discover a sense of purpose and joy in my life. They launched me into academic respectability, graduate school, two masters’ degrees and a 40-year career in health care, management consulting and higher education.

We all stand on the shoulders of people who saw talent and ability in us that we did not see. We are in debt to people who help us discover what we can be, people who make us accountable and productive beyond report card grades. Everyone who makes it in the career world has a mentor, maybe 10! Who were yours? Have you thanked them?

The U.S. economy has lost 7 million jobs over the past decade. If you are still employed, your boss is looking out for you. As my Jewish friends say, “Have you thanked your rabbi lately?” Enough said.

Alumni report card

Our hard-working career development office, our faithful alumni and our “Hire Knights/Hire Calvin” campaign helped 90 percent of the Class of 2008–2009 find employment or graduate school success. Calvin College alumni get an “A” for posting internships and employment opportunities with the career office at Calvin. Keep those internships and job postings coming via e-mail to Laurie Lemmen,, or call (616) 526-6485.


Another A

The career development office hosted approximately 200 west Michigan business professionals, employers, faculty and students for our 11th annual Business Careers Event. Niala Boodhoo, Class of 1997, a program host for National Public Radio affiliate WBEZ in Chicago, shared her career journey from Calvin to her present position as host of the Changing Gears program. This speaker/speed-networking event got high marks from attendees who enjoyed an evening of listening, learning, networking and friend-raising.

An honor’s grade

Calvin’s internship program and our service-learning center both received Top 15 Honors in the U.S. News & World Report national rankings. Calvin was the only college in Michigan to receive this high honor. Thanks to Calvin faculty and our alumni partners for helping us achieve the highest grade possible on this national report card!

Stay in touch, and all the best!