The “typical Calvin College student” is much harder to define. And that’s just fine with the Calvin Alumni Association leadership.
“Our student profile shows us that Calvin represents all cultures and scores of countries,” said president Jessica Rooks Westra ’94. “We are glad that our alumni board also reflects this diversity and we need to build connections to the increasingly diverse places from which our students come to Calvin.”
Of the 23 members of the alumni board, nine are alumni of color and/or representing international locations and interests.
President Michael Le Roy met with the alumni board as it began its October sessions and lauded the association for leading the way in diversifying leadership for the college, noting that Calvin has stretched it boundaries far beyond the Dutch-American Christian Reformed communities of the last century.
The board met in an extended session with Christina Edmonson, the acting dean of multicultural and international student development, Michelle Loyd-Paige, dean for multicultural affairs, and other staff members who work with students of color and international students. Board members wanted to know the current state of student life for this ever-larger component of Calvin’s campus community.
In addition, the board met in working groups to discuss a variety of topics: alumni engagement strategies and benchmarks; revenue ideas for the association; the establishment of a new Young Alumni Award; young alumni programming; faculty-related programs; and spiritual growth and service partnerships between the college and alumni.
Association grants were given to the Calvin annual fund team to support a web-based product that will make alumni giving easier and more engaging, and to the Service-Learning Office for a 50-year anniversary history and summer reunion.
The board is led this year by Westra and two other young alumni; Chris Wiesehan ’05, a business analyst from Chicago, and Sung-Ae Choi Reed ’06, a college administrator from Napa, Calif.
Seven new members joined the board at this meeting. They are Amy Puls Bax ’94, a psychologist from London, Ont.; James Jo ’89, a computer programs designer from Grand Rapids; Robert Marcusse ’71, a community executive from Lenexa, Kan.; Rhonda Roorda ‘92, a non-profit executive from Brighton, Mich.; Anh Vu Sawyer ’79, a non-profit administrator from Providence, R.I.; Jackie VanderVelde Streelman ’85, an accountant from Midland Park, N.J.; and Scott Vandenberg ’94, a school administrator from Lynden, Wash.
In the late hours of Friday and early hours of Saturday during the board sessions, members participated in a K4L (Knights for Life) midnight breakfast event in the Commons, with alumni serving the meal and handing out K4L sipper cups to sophomores. Sophs have been at Calvin for more than one year and are now technically members of the alumni association.
The board convenes on campus again during uKnight Weekend, Feb. 13–15, 2014.
Front row (from left): Rhonda Roorda ’92 (Brighton, Mich.); Andrea Stith House ’03 (Canton, Mich.); Anh Vu Sawyer ’79 (Providence, R.I.); Karen Postma Blamer ’75 (Kalamazoo, Mich.); Russ Clousing II ’87 (Downers Grove, Ill.)
Second row: Robert Marcusse ’71 (Lenexa, Kan.); Sung-Ae Choi Reed ’06, secretary (Napa, Calif.); James Jo ’89 (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Chris Wiesehan ’05, president-elect (Chicago, Ill.); Jessica Rooks Westra ’94, president (Holland, Mich.); Michael Van Denend ’78, executive director
Third row: Doug Jorritsma ’85 (Redlands, Calif.); Gihane Jeremie-Brink ’05 (Chicago, Ill.); Steven Fridsma ’91 (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom ’93 (Ann Arbor, Mich.); John Wynbeek ’77 (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Amy Puls Bax ’94 (London, Ont.); Carol Vanden Bosch Rottman ’60 (Greenville, Mich.)
Fourth row: Jackie VanderVelde Streelman ’85 (Midland Park, N.J.); Milford Muskett ’90 (Philadelphia, Pa.); Scott Vandenberg ’94 (Lynden, Wash.); Luci Bosch Draayer ’76 (Denver, Colo.); Charles Ash, Jr. ’95 (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Not pictured: Rodrigo Farach ’07 (Santo Domingo, D.R.)