Learn more about our award receipients and donors. Their stories are testimonies to the impact of Calvin's scholarship program.
When Brianna Marshall began looking at colleges, she knew two things: “I wanted to go to a Christian college, and I wanted to major in geology.”
The Fairfield, Calif., native sensed God leading her to Calvin, and soon discovered why. “Opportunities will arise where I am asked to share my perspectives on science and faith with others,” Brianna explains. “In these situations, I know that because of the strong, positive education that I have received at Calvin College, I can share my faith and my love for geology with an open mind and a sincere heart.”
When alumnus Bruce Dice established Calvin’s on-campus mineralogical museum this year, he created a geology scholarship to support a student docent for the museum—someone enthusiastic about geology and eager to share faith perspectives with others. Brianna fit that description perfectly.
This highly motivated geology major realizes the tremendous impact the scholarship, and Dice’s support, is having on her academic and faith journey. “Meeting Mr. Dice and his family definitely changed how I viewed the scholarship,” she says. “My faith and my studies in geology are really important to me, but hearing his passion really motivated me to delve even deeper into those things.”
Brianna plans to earn her doctorate in volcanology and pursue a challenging career that includes teaching and field research. Still, she recognizes God’s calling in all this: “I am not sure where all this will take me,” she admits. “But I do know that this is the path God has called me to follow.”
Keming Chen, or “Eddy,” as many know him, grew up in Wuhan, China. He can trace his early love for learning to his parents. “Being interested in mathematics and physics, my father encouraged me in precise and logical thinking,” he shares. “My mother, accomplished in the fine arts and literature, cultivated an imaginative side in me.”
Eddy’s desire to learn eventually sparked his interest in philosophy. “Later, I found myself attracted to philosophy not only by its precision but also by its creativity.”
Calvin philosophy professor Kenneth Konyndyk would have understood Eddy’s passion. Spending 27 years teaching at Calvin, he was committed to scholarship in philosophy, as well as the spiritual growth of his students. In 1994, Konyndyk’s life was cut short by cancer, but his legacy lives on—through those he influenced personally, and now through those supported by a scholarship in his name. Eddy is the 2012 recipient of the award.
2012 was a busy year for Eddy, who attended philosophy conferences in St. Louis, Missouri, and Beijing, China; worked as a research assistant in theoretical computational physics; and studied abroad at Oxford University. While abroad, he loved conversing about the ideas of philosophers from the Calvin community, such as professors Alvin Plantinga and Stephen Wykstra.
Chen’s work in philosophy is far from finished. He plans to pursue a doctorate in philosophy, a master's degree in mathematical physics, and perhaps another in linguistics—all building on the opportunities for research and critical thinking made possible by his time at Calvin and the support of the Konyndyk scholarship.
In the 1960s, recall Dave and Jane (Noteboom) Vander Haagen, it was possible to make enough money at a summer job to cover college tuition for the coming academic year.
Most current students, they know, are not so fortunate. So over the past decade the Vander Haagens have translated their love of Calvin into two scholarships to help students meet their college expenses.
The first scholarship was established together with Dave's parents. Designed for music students, the scholarship reflects the family's longtime leadership in local church music and worship.
A few years later a Homecoming presentation for alumni of Calvin's education program planted the seed for their second scholarship. The Vander haagens learned that it is often difficult for education students to complete their academic requirements in four years. In response, Dave and Jane established the Vander Haagen Family Scholarship for Fifth Year Education Students to help with this extra cost.
"These scholarships are a great source of joy and satisfaction for us," says Dave. "The Vander Haagens particularly enjoy receiving thank yous from their students—they always send a note in return—and meeting their students at the annual scholarship dinner.
More than ever, the Vander Haagens believe in the mission of Calvin College. "We appreciate what we learned at Calvin more every year," say Dave and Jane. "We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that community."