C Club at the starting line

First alumni group for athletes set to build memberships


Winter 2012

Be aware, current Calvin Knights: There will be more of your predecessors watching you on the court, diamond, track and pitch.

The Calvin C Club, a new alumni affinity organization for all former athletic letter winners, has been formed and will soon begin reaching out to alumni Knights in all sports. A small group of alumni athletes, led by Carl Gronsman ’63, a former baseball player for the Knights, approached the alumni association, the athletic directors and college leaders with the idea. The response was enthusiastic from all corners.

“A number of us simply felt it was time for alumni athletes to show organized support for the men and women competing for Calvin,” said Gronsman. “We want to inject new spirit among fans and the college community.”

An additional goal of C Club is to connect alumni athletes with one another.

“Alumni vividly remember their time on sports teams,” said Ben Snoeyink ’68, a track and field alumnus. “There is an eagerness to see those teammates again, to reconnect with them.”

Baseball and basketball alumnus Jim Schipper ’87 echoed Snoeyink’s sentiment.

“Almost everyone is interested in networking these days, in being connected to people you remember and share common interests. Calvin athletes are no exception and have good memories of teams and accomplishments. C Club is a natural draw,” he said.

A board of directors made up of 12 former Knights from a variety of sports and eras has been formed, aided by the college’s two athletic directors and the alumni director.

The board has set an annual membership fee at $50 per Knight—which will pay for a variety of events during the year that will build connections among alumni and provide encouragement to current athletes. All former varsity letter winners are eligible, and the board has voted to bring in men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse. (Hockey is a current club sport but with much participation and achievement over the years, while both lacrosse teams are longtime club sports that will provide varsity experiences this coming spring.)

An immediate benefit of membership in C Club is a pass to all home Calvin athletic contests during the year (with a few tournament and other exceptions). The club also plans to host regular coffee socials in the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex, preseason preview gatherings to get early news on teams and a spring banquet that honors current Knights for their achievements.

These alumni Knights have also discussed arranging specific networking opportunities among C Club members and to develop a mentorship program between alumni and current athletes.

“It is amazing that this year six of the seven fall sports in which Calvin participates ended in a league championship for Calvin,” said Mike Van Denend ’78, alumni director and a former cross country and track runner. “Our current group of Knights deserves our support, and C Club is primed to provide that boost to the cheering section.”

C Club’s constitution and bylaws, along with updated news and events, can be found at www.calvin.edu/go/cclub. Questions about the club can be directed to the alumni office (cclub@calvin.edu; 616-526-6142).

C Club board members not pictured: Becky Weima Bagnall, Josh Vriesman, Jim Timmer, Jr.