Return to Calvin College homepage   Return to  Spark Online homepage

Letters to the Editor

<< Spark Online

Good neighbor policy
I'd like to thank Calvin for being such a good neighbor—in the "next-door" sense. Although I never lived on Calvin's campus, I've lived almost half my life within a mile or two of it. As a child, I trekked through the nature preserve (before it was a nature preserve), picked trilliums for my mom (before I knew that was illegal) and biked through the campus on candy-mission trips to Breton Village. As a teenager I practiced driving in the empty summer parking lots and cooled off at the pool. When my husband and I had to decide several years ago where to buy a home, we kept coming back to the Calvin area—and now we're here. With two small children, we're not able to take advantage of the cultural and educational opportunities as often as we'd like, but every summer Sunday evening you'll find us circling the perimeter of Calvin with the double stroller. We delight in the beauty of the campus through the seasons, and look forward to many years of nature hikes, plays, concerts, lectures--and stroller rides. Thank you for opening the campus, not only to your alumni (which I am) but also to your next-door neighbors.

Now, how about adding a picnic area?

Lori Walburg Vanden Bosch '87
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Congrats to Prof Nyhoff
I just found my summer Spark and re-read the article on Larry Nyhoff (“10 Commandments of Teaching”). I loved reading about him. He had a positive impact on me also. I am one of the many students he influenced.

I attribute my current successes at AT&T as a systems engineer to being taught to think logically and clearly through the math and computer science departments at Calvin. And Larry Nyhoff had the patience to encourage a scared freshman in beginning calculus.

It was a great article—definitely a keeper. What an awesome tribute to an awesome professor.

Cindy Smith ‘78
Red Bank, N.J.

Memories of Prof Otten
I was saddened to see mention of the passing of Arthur Otten (“In Memoriam,” Summer 2002). He was one of my favorite professors and the reason I ended up minoring in French. He almost talked me into majoring in French for graduate school, but I stayed with math. He had a reputation as being tough, but he always had a “Bonjour, monsieur,” and was actually quite easy to talk with. I remember one class period he let us listen to a few minutes of the World Series. And then there was the trip to Chicago to see some French art and a Moliere play in French at St. Cecelia's. The Gregorian chants at a Catholic church definitely sounds like something he would do. I wonder what controversy that would have stirred in the 60's?

Ronald L. Dirkse '64
Tokyo, Japan

Adventurous great-grandma

Calvin students in 1919 - click photo to enlarge image
Calvin students in 1919 pose with a Harley Davidson motorcycle (click photo to enlarge image).

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the article "Women Rule! 100 Years of Women at Calvin" in my husband's copy of Spark (Summer, 2002). His mother (my mother-in-law), was one of the two centenarians featured and I would like to ensure that my grandsons—two of Frieda Monsma's great grandsons—are aware that, besides being the sweet old lady they try to beat at Rummy Cube, she had, as a young woman, an adventuresome spirit (she's standing behind the girl in the Harley Davidson sidecar). People like my mother-in-law and Trena Haan (I can speak only of the two I know personally) are stalwarts; we are fortunate to have them with us.

Barbara Monsma
McLean, Va.

Editor’s note: Frieda VanWesep Monsma ’19 died on August 16, 2002. She was 101 and had been featured as Calvin’s second oldest living alum.

Thanks for reunion, Spark
On July 17, 2002 I attended the 45th reunion of my class of 1957. Thank you alumni office staff and the Reunion Planning Team for organizing this event. It was a delightful afternoon and evening.

I also want to express my appreciation for the Calvin Spark. I like this periodical. It has many articles of interest and is very informative of the activities of Calvin alumni. I wish you God's blessings on the continuation of your work that helps to keep the Calvin spark bright and alive.

John W. Asma '57
Kalamazoo, Mich.

Reconsider Christian school policy
Good for Bob Reed (“Resignation renews debate over
Calvin’s Christian school policy,” Summer 2002) for sticking with his principles! His children and family will long admire this stand. I wish him and his family well.

It is time for Christian school organizations to recognize the fact that the Christian community is not the same as it was in the Michigan settlements of the early 1800s. It is not a uniform body of belief. Even for the staunchly conservative Christian Reformed Church in which I grew up, there were families whose children went to a public school and there were public school teachers. The principle of “sphere sovereignty” made the choice of schooling a family matter, not a church dictum.

What about mathematics/computer professor Larry Nyhoff, featured in the same issue—should we be celebrating his achievements when his schooling included the University of Michigan, a public (non-Christian?) university? Where do you stop? Does this policy insist on Christian day care, Christian colleges, and post-graduate study at Christian universities for children, all the responsibility of their parents?

Where a Christian school faculty employee’s children attend school is an important matter. That employee’s choice is a more public one than a person employed in a building supplies company. It sounds, though, that Bob Reed and his family had thought that out and answered.

Calvin College and other Christian school organizations need to re-examine their policies regarding employees and their children’s school attendance. While it should be a matter of discussion and not treated lightly, the schooling of the children of Christian school employees is not a bona fide
occupational requirement and is not the jurisdiction of employers.

Don Vander Klok '73
Sarnia, Ontario

Two generations of roommates
Twenty-six years ago I moved in to Calvin with Lisa Kuyers Zylstra ‘80. We went potluck and did not know each other. We roomed together our whole time at Calvin. Last week, our first-born daughters moved in together as freshmen. Our daughters are Sheri VandenAkker and Katie Zylstra. They are in 123 Beets.

Deb Baker VandenAkker ‘80
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dental connection
Your initial column in the Spark (“Reach!” Fall 2002) about the toothbrush brought back memories of another connection between Calvin College and dental advertising. Somewhere around 1964, back in the days of the divided campus, the Chimes ran a cartoon that parodied a toothpaste advertisement of the day. It started “Knollcrest has been shown to be an effective decay-preventing edifice ....” Shortly after that cartoon appeared, one or two upperclassmen were “sentenced” to live in the dorms at Knollcrest because of some misbehavior. Chimes thought the combination of events was so amusing, or perhaps appalling, that they ran the cartoon again with an "I told you so" editorial.

Bob Bush ‘67
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Write your own letter to the editor—we'd love to hear from you!

Policy: Letters regarding the contents of the magazine will be considered for publication in Spark unless specifically marked "not for publication." Correspondence may be shortened to meet editorial requirements. We will not publish anonymous letters; however, we may withhold names upon request.

An email newsletter sent to alumni & friends informing them of campus news. Subscribe!

Go To
Calvin's homepage
News and Events
Information about
About Calvin College
Contacting Calvin
Search for
People at Calvin
Departments at Calvin
Items on Calvin's website
Contact Spark