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Meet the Vice President of Student Life

Shirley V. HoogstraShirley V. Hoogstra

Shirley Hoogstra is beginning her twelfth year as Vice President for Student Life at Calvin College after graduating from Calvin College in 1978. She began her professional life as a Junior High School teacher in New Jersey which undoubtedly prepared her for anything to come in the future. After moving to New Haven, Connecticut with her husband, she enrolled in the University of Connecticut School of Law graduating in 1986. For the next thirteen years she practiced law as an associate and later as a member of Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow, a litigation firm. In the early 1990s, Calvin College recruited her to be the National Alumni Co-Chair for its first comprehensive endowment drive. From 1995 to 1999 she served on Calvin College's Board of Trustees. Unbeknownst to her, God was preparing her for a relocation. Because of her volunteer connections with Calvin College and professional experience she felt called to serve in her present leadership position at Calvin College.

The Spark has featured two articles on the Student Life Division.

A Laboratory for Living
Calvin's student life division seeks to enhance discipleship, service and leadership

Calvin's Future: Student Life
Part Three: An Interview with Shirley Hoogstra

Education and Leadership

Shirley's Juris Doctorate was in general law preparation with a specialty area of family law. Shirley enjoys public speaking and mediation opportunities. Shirley has held leadership positions as President of the New Haven County Bar Association and a member of the State's Bar Examining Committee. For fun she was an early guest commentator of Court TV and was a co-host of a clear channel radio station program entitled "Talking Law with Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt & Dow."

As part of her responsibilities at Calvin, she has been fortunate to host Inner Compass, Calvin’s video program for our local PBS station which airs each Sunday afternoon. Shirley gets to probe with guests how they come to their ethical and moral decisions on complex problems. She also works with the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities on issues of leadership development and advancing intercultural competencies and serves as a member of the Creston Christian school board and the Grand Rapids Christian Schools’ Education Committee.

Institutional Connection

Calvin College is a comprehensive liberal arts college in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity. Calvin has a couple of phrases that summarizes the college. "Academically Excellent and Distinctively Christian" as well as "equipping students to be agents of renewal" wherever God sends them. Calvin College has 4100 students and offers ninety-two majors, minors, and programs of study. There are approximately 2500 students who live on campus and 1600 students who reside in the larger Grand Rapids area. The Student Life Division encompasses residence life, student development, multicultural student development, student activities, service learning, campus safety, health services, career services, and the Chaplain's office.

About Her Family

Shirley is married to Jeff Hoogstra, a pediatrician with ABC Pediatrics with offices in Grand Rapids and Grandville. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in August 2003. They have two children, David (a sophomore at Calvin) and Mary, (an eleventh grader) who attends Grand Rapids Christian High.

Guiding Verses

II Corinthians 5:20
"And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."
I John 4:19
"We love because he first loved us."

Outside Interests

Family time, travel, movies.