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A Lightning Bolt Starts the Spark
By Mike Van Denend '78

The Rosendales
The Rosendales (l. to r.): Kayla, Lynn, Larry and Brittany.

Although some runners represented Calvin a few times in post-season contests, the first time the Knights made a major splash on the NCAA DIII Nationals scene was in 1984 when the women’s volleyball team served, spiked and set its way to the Final Four.

The middle hitter on that team was Lynn Bolt—or, as assistant coach Mary Doornbos aptly named her, “Lightning Bolt.”

“It’s hard to believe I played middle hitter on that team since I'm only 5’8”,” said Lynn. “Nowadays there would be so many teammates taller than me. My role would be far different.”

Lynn’s team took fourth that year, setting the stage two years later for Calvin’s second-place volleyball finish and a host of later Nationals appearances in other sports.

Lightning Bolt poster
Lynn Bolt Rosendale picked up the name "Lightning Bolt" during her volleyball days.

The “Lightning Bolt” is now Lynn Bolt Rosendale, Class of ’85, and she serves as Calvin’s publications coordinator, which includes being managing editor of Spark magazine. After she and I meet to decide stories and themes of each edition, it is Lynn’s job to shepherd every seasonal issue through to completion on time. Lynn and designer (and ’71 grad) Paul Stoub nurture Spark through every stage until it arrives in alumni homes.

While an English major at Calvin, Lynn didn’t do much outside writing, but she learned her trade while taking master’s level courses in journalism at the University of Illinois.

“We had a professor who had been a newspaper editor,” recalled Lynn. “His rule was that any assignment not on his desk before the class bell rang was not accepted—he even swept papers off his desk into the trash if they were just a minute late because, in journalism, a deadline is a deadline.”

There are plenty of us on campus that are glad Lynn isn’t as hard-nosed as her graduate school professor.

After Calvin graduation, Lynn married former Calvin basketball player Larry Rosendale—they met while getting their ankles taped in a Calvin Fieldhouse training room—and after Lynn’s grad schooling spent time in Denver before moving back to Grand Rapids. She began a freelance writing job covering non-public schools for the Grand Rapids Press and later covered sports for the newspaper. During this time, Lynn also began freelancing for us at Calvin, primarily writing for Spark.

“My first story was about the Student Alumni Association’s ‘Meat and Potatoes’ program, where out-of-state students are welcomed into local alumni homes,” she remembered. “I’ve always enjoyed the stories I’ve written about Calvin because there is such diversity of subject matter and people.”

The freelance job turned into a part-time writing position and that, in turn, became fulltime, as Lynn was named publications coordinator, handling not only Spark, but some of Calvin’s other publications as well—such as Connection, Mosaic, Knightfile and the annual President’s Report.

Lynn’s favorite assignments have been covering alumni who are working in similar occupations and over the years she has chronicled the lives of graduates in the legal professions, environmental positions and even space research.

“It consistently amazes me where Calvin alumni happen to be,” she said. “Some of them have very impressive positions and that’s great. But I am just as impressed with some of the lesser-noticed things our alums do. The similarities in them all are dedication, excellence and that they always relate their faith to their work—they’ve carefully thought through how their faith connects with whatever they happen to be doing.”

And what about the criticism that comes to Spark from time to time?

“Well, I suppose if negative things were all we heard, that would be difficult,” she said. “But we receive many positive letters and other correspondence. Our alumni readers are very insightful people—exacting, to be sure, but also full of good suggestions and story ideas. What’s nice about all of this is you know people are reading the magazine.”

Lynn continues to enjoy another of her first loves—sports. The former All-MIAA volleyball star has coached the sport at the high school and collegiate levels and is still regularly called upon to provide analysis for televised coverage of Michigan state high school volleyball tournaments. And the entire Rosendale crew—Lynn, Larry and daughters, Kayla and Brittany—rarely miss a Calvin Knights basketball game.

“I love working here at Calvin,” Lynn said. “It is rewarding to see the end result of your work after each issue and know that in some ways you have made someone’s day by getting a bit of their life in print.”

We at Calvin are pleased that this middle hitter returned to alma mater and that we’re on her side of the net. Each edition of Spark, the Alumni Association is assured of a solid win.

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