the Spotlight: Dave and Jane VanderHaagen
<< Spark Online
Following their freshman year, Dave and Jane became members of the residence hall staff—Dave in Rooks-VanDellen and Jane in Beets-Veenstra. They served as resident assistants and resident directors until they graduated from Calvin in 1969—Jane an education major and Dave a philosophy major and Greek minor. They were married in 1969 and currently live in Okemos, Mich. Dave is an attorney at Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, and general counsel/secretary for the Michigan Farm Bureau Companies. Jane is the gifted and talented program coordinator for the Lansing Christian Elementary School.
Dave says he is "enormously grateful" for the education that he and Jane, and their children, Elizabeth and John, received at Calvin. He also expresses gratitude for the faculty scholarship at Calvin. "Without exception," he says, "the faculty have considered serious scholarship to be an act of worship in their walk of faith." He believes Calvin has produced—disproportionate to its size—a significant number of people who have notable influence in the broader academic world and who provide a positive, Christian influence. Dave sums it up in these words: "Calvin is a bright jewel in the crown of the denomination and a remarkable gift to the larger Christian community."
The VanderHaagens found a tangible way to express their
appreciation for Calvin. They established two named scholarships for Calvin
students: the VanderHaagen Family Scholarship for Church Musicians and
a family scholarship for fifth-year education students. The scholarship
for church musicians was established with Dave's parents who were musicians.
His mother served many years as a church organist and his father sang
in church choirs for more than 50 years. Dave said creating the scholarship
for church musicians has been "very satisfying for our family."
A member of the Oratorio Society during his student days, Dave also sings
in his church choir and worship ensemble. He says, "The Holy Spirit
uses music to open the window to the soul, and well-trained church musicians
greatly enhance corporate worship."
The VanderHaagens have long enjoyed Calvin events and campus activities—from annual Messiah performances and current Artist Series concerts to Summerfest. She believes the Summerfest experience (now called "Midsummer at Calvin") had a significant influence on their children's college selection. John graduated from Calvin in 2001 with a major in communication arts and sciences, including an interim in Hollywood. He now works for D.P.Fox Sports—in "the business of sports."
Elizabeth VanderHaagen found her future academic advisor and mentor at Summerfest. Former Calvin sociology professor, Donald Wilson, taught Summerfest classes which Elizabeth attended. When she enrolled at Calvin, Professor Wilson became her "official" academic advisor. "There is a strong relationship among Calvin faculty and students that is not the norm elsewhere," Jane says.
This spring, Elizabeth VanderHaagen completed a year at Calvin Seminary after having received her Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. She was granted ministerial candidacy at the 2002 session of Synod. As an elder delegate for Classis Lake Erie, Dave VanderHaagen was present to approve his daughter's candidacy. For this occasion and the years preceding—all the way back to the Commons Dining Hall—Dave and Jane would surely say, "We are enormously grateful to God!