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Through our learning, we seek to be agents of renewal in the academy, church and society. We pledge fidelity to Jesus Christ, offering our hearts and lives to do God’s work in God’s world. ~ Calvin College statement of mission

First college building 1876

Franklin campus

History of Calvin College


n 1876 the school now called Calvin College was founded as De Theologische School. In 1908, the college was officially named Calvin College—after the 16th-century Protestant reformer John Calvin. The original mission of Calvin College was to train young people to become ministers in the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), a century-old denomination with a five-century-old heritage.

The Beginnings The college started out with just seven students and one part-time instructor meeting in a small building in downtown Grand Rapids. By 1892, the college had raised enough money to erect a building near the intersection of Franklin and Madison, and by 1917, the institution occupied the 10 acres known as the Franklin Street Campus. This campus (with the addition of many buildings) was the home of Calvin College and Theological Seminary until its move to the Knollcrest campus in the 1960s. In 1919, Rev. J.J. Hiemenga, a well-known and respected pastor, was appointed as the college’s first president. A year into his tenure, the college began offering a full-fledged, four-year liberal arts program, and in 1921, Calvin granted its first bachelor’s degrees.

Growth From 1945 to 1946 Calvin’s enrollment more than doubled to 1,200 students. Ten years later, the college purchased 166-acres of farmland just east of downtown. And, in 1962, the first classes were held on what became known as the Knollcrest campus. During the course of the next half-century, Calvin College significantly expanded its academic programming. The college changed its profile, attracting a more diverse student body, not only racially and ethnically, but also denominationally. In 1976, just 19 percent of Calvin students came from a non-CRC background. By the Franklin campus turn of the 21st century, more than

administrative building

Knollcrest campus 1998

Franklin campus library 1950s

50 percent of the Calvin student body came from outside the CRC. Enrollment also steadily increased. In 1977, enrollment topped 4,000 students for the first time in school history. And in 1988, the school enrolled 4,505 students, which still stands as the college’s record high enrollment. In 1991, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary became two distinct institutions.

Building During the 1990s and 2000s, Calvin College ran two successful capital campaigns, raising a combined $200 million toward scholarships and

financial aid, faculty research and the construction of a number of facilities. During this time, the campus renovated the Science Building and constructed the state-of-the-art Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex. The campus also expanded to the east with the construction of the DeVos Communication Center, Prince Conference Center, the Bunker Interpretive Center and Calvin’s Crossing, which connected the east and west campuses. And in 2010, the Covenant Fine Arts Center underwent major renovations, allowing for a new art gallery, recital hall and upgraded musical facilities.

History of the president position In 1918, the Calvin College Board of Trustees created the office of the president. Prior to that, Geert Egberts Boer served as docent (1876-1902) and Albertus John Rooks served as principal (1900-1918) of the college.

Calvin College presidents John J. Hiemenga Johannes Broene Rienk B. Kuiper Ralph Stob

1919 –1925 1925 –1930 1930 –1933 1933 –1939

Johannes Broene Henry Schultze William Spoelhof Anthony J. Diekema Gaylen J. Byker

1939 –1940 1940 –1951 1951 –1976 1976 –1995 1995 – present



he integration of faith and learning at Calvin is central to the student experience. And students soon learn that the academic excellence that Calvin is known for comes from the commitment to faithdirected inquiry into all things.

A Reformed lens Through Calvin’s liberal arts curriculum, students and faculty analyze all aspects of culture and respond to God’s call to make all things new. This begins with Calvin’s first-year student program, which provides incoming students with a framework for building a worldview—a Reformed vision that enlightens their entire Calvin education. Every student takes an introductory course, an interim course and a capstone course, which bring full circle the integration of faith into their chosen field. Spiritual formation at Calvin goes well beyond the classroom. It spans to chapel, residence halls and athletic fields.

A worshipping community Hundreds of people in the Calvin community take advantage of Calvin’s numerous campus-wide opportunities for worship, which include daily Chapel services, foreign-language chapels, dorm Bible studies and the student-led, Sunday night LOFT (Living our Faith Together) service. An additional 700 events focused on spiritual growth (prayer services, Bible studies, service projects and a weekly hymn sing) are sponsored by student organizations, student life staff and the Lilly Vocation Project each year. This past year, more than 1,500 Calvin faculty, staff and students participated in a campus-wide Bible study on the book of Philippians.

Student leaders The student-living communities also offer a number of ways for students to grow in their faith. More than 45 students serve as Barnabas leaders in the apartments and residence halls in any given

year. The leaders initiate Bible studies, lead worship and serve as mentors for their peers. For one week each August, student athletes representing all 17 men’s and women’s varsity teams travel to the Gainey Ranch in southwest Montana. The retreat’s goal is to help students learn how to more effectively lead their teams and create a Christian community among all student athletes. Calvin also offers a mentoring program for students, which seeks to develop increasingly devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. The program links students, who represent one generation of Jesus’ followers, with faculty or staff, the next generation, in mentoring relationships. For those students who feel called into a career in ministry, there are opportunities to gain invaluable experience by being a worship apprentice—an opportunity to learn and practice leading worship—or through the Jubilee Fellows Program, which combines classroom learning with mentoring and hands-on ministry experience. Calvin’s thoughtful Christian community strengthens heart, soul, mind and body and Calvin students, faculty and staff value the opportunity to serve God together through intellectual exploration, spirited interaction, worship and work.

Our core beliefs… As a Reformed educational institution, Calvin College has been shaped in its faith and scholarship by these central convictions: God, the almighty creator of a good world, is sovereign over all of creation, granting to human beings, made in his image, the responsibility of caring for this world. Sin entered the world by humanity’s rebellion against God, affecting every aspect of creation, including every area of human life. Nevertheless God graciously preserves the world, holding all things in his tender embrace and bending them to his purpose. In saving grace God kept his covenant promises to our world, acting unconditionally in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem humanity and all creation from sin and evil. The risen Christ is Lord of all, reconciling all things to himself and calling people to salvation through faith alone, which is a gift of grace alone. The Holy Spirit, active from the beginning, continues to move across all creation. At Pentecost the Spirit permanently indwelled the church, empowering it for service and gathering people from every tongue, tribe, and nation into the unity of the body of Christ. The Bible is the authoritative, Spirit-breathed Word of God, fully reliable in leading believers to know God and to walk with Christ in newness of life. Through Christ and in the power of the Spirit, God meets his people in worship, conveying grace through Word and sacrament. The Spirit empowers believers to bear witness to Christ’s love and to be agents of God’s creative and renewing work in every area of

Gainey Leadership Retreat in southwest Montana

life. Christians live with unwavering hope of the new creation where God’s kingdom will fully come.



alvin College is internationally recognized as a center for faith-centered liberal arts teaching and scholarship. The mission of the college is to train students to work for renewal in every area of life, and Calvin students are formed by that mission in classrooms and labs, in research and scholarship, in the Chapel, in the performance halls, on the playing field, and, increasingly, all over the globe.

Esteemed faculty Faculty are foundational to Calvin’s academic excellence, and teaching is their main priority. Calvin faculty strive to integrate Christian faith into every facet of learning, and they are willing to explore subjects that are often considered off-limits in Christian higher education. Calvin faculty also produce vital research and scholarship. And their work is recognized with the highest accolades. In the last six years, Calvin professors have earned 10 Fulbright Scholarships to study in seven countries, including 2010–11 Fulbrights for a professor of geography to study and teach in Ethiopia and a professor of political science to study in the Netherlands.

Top students At Calvin, students from a wide range of backgrounds, abilities and interests discover a rich academic atmosphere. The college offers more than 100 areas of study, including fast-growing programs in business and accounting, education, engineering, communication arts and sciences, nursing, and biology. Calvin’s faith-based approach to liberal arts attracts top students. The college boasts the highest number of National Merit Scholars for a private college in Michigan, and 31 percent of Calvin’s incoming class graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class. (Forty-five percent of Calvin incoming students had a high school grade point average of 3.75 or higher.)

Calvin’s 2011 Fulbright Scholars: geology professor Johnathan Bascom and political science professor Corwin Smidt

National recognition

Leading research Calvin also offers students an array of opportunities in research and scholarship in both the sciences and humanities. Students collaborate with faculty on projects that culminate in published articles and presentations at academic conferences. Each summer, 70 to 90 students research with professors in every scientific discipline. Top-performing first-year science students are invited to participate in a yearlong, research-based section of biology. Upper-level science students can earn intensive 15-month research opportunities. Through the McGregor Summer Fellowships, humanities students partner with faculty to study everything from the oral histories of Cuban refugees to the application of engineering and computing in archaeology. Media production students earn credit while making films with professors in locales as diverse as Peru and Uganda. Experiential education is a growing part of the Calvin model of Christian liberal arts, and students from all disciplines intern everywhere from aircraft manufacturers to publishing houses.

Calvin student scholars are recognized for their academic achievements. In 2010, three science students earned prestigious scholarships, and one earned an honorable mention, from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Calvin is one of only two schools in the U.S. to receive Goldwater recognition for all four nominated students in three successive years. Also in 2010, two Calvin College senior engineering students were among 30 undergraduate students nationwide to earn prestigious research fellowships from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And a six-student Calvin team bested five other schools to win the 2010 Innovation Encounter. Calvin holds a distinctive place in Christian higher education. There are many good liberal arts colleges in North America, but perhaps none that prepares its alumni, as Calvin does, for a specific kind of Christian engagement with modern culture. Calvin students learn why its important to do God’s good work in God’s world.

Calvin’s 2011 Goldwater recipients (from left to right): Lauren Manck, Ryan Martinie, Brandon Burkhart and Nathan Romero



alvin makes its home on 400 wooded acres in Grand Rapids, Mich. A moderately sized city approximately 35 miles from Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids features a revitalized urban core, a sophisticated medical corridor, professional sports franchises, contemporary museums, a botanical garden and sculpture park, a professional ballet, opera and symphony, churches of every denomination and many other urban amenities.

activities and events—among them the annual Chaos Day and Mud Bowl. In the newly built van Reken residence hall, students live in affinity groups dedicated to sustainability, honors study and diversity. Students also strengthen their ties to the Calvin community by joining one or more of Calvin’s 60-plus student organizations. While taking on the challenge of Ultimate Frisbee, writing for the Chimes, installing Linux, studying the Middle East or performing in Rangeela (the annual variety show

Campus life The Calvin campus is home to a vibrant Christian community. Worship, art exhibitions, concerts, lectures—even dancing the cha-cha or putting the paper to bed—everything comes together in a vibrant Christian community that flourishes well beyond the campus. Living on campus at Calvin draws students into a deeper experience of community through regular

Mud Bowl, an annual Calvin tradition

Community service is also integral to Calvin classes. Nursing students perform their practicums at clinics in three Grand Rapids neighborhoods; English students collect oral histories of Grand Rapids residents; and media production students film documentaries for local nonprofits.

The broader community

Exhibition at (106) Gallery

from Calvin’s international student community) Calvin students forge friendships and also create meaningful events for everyone on campus. Calvin cultivates a strong culture of the arts on campus. Every year, the Student Activities Office sponsors a whole roster of films and concerts, and the Calvin Theatre Company and Lab Theater perform a range of plays. Among this year’s theater offerings were She Stoops to Conquer and scenes from Shakespeare staged in various settings around campus. And the Center Art Gallery sponsors a schedule of both traveling exhibitions and work by students and faculty.

Service-learning The ethic of serving the community beyond campus begins early at Calvin. Incoming students are introduced to servicelearning through Streetfest—three days of painting, cleaning stream banks, stocking food pantries— encouraging them to engage meaningfully with the community. Throughout the school year, Calvin’s Service-Learning Center maintains Calvin’s service-learning tradition in the local area, and during spring break, the center also sends students to serve in locales all around the nation.

The Calvin community also reaches into downtown Grand Rapids through the college’s (106) gallery, an off-site location for college art exhibitions, through the Ladies Literary Club, a historic facility that hosts Calvin speakers and events, through the six local Project Neighborhood homes, where Calvin students live in intentional community, and in many other places. The college’s perennial cultural series also gives a wider audience a glimpse of Calvin. This year, the biennial Festival of Faith and Music, welcomed The Civil Wars, Matisyahu and Vienna Teng among its guests, and last year the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing hosted Mary Karr and Richard Rodriguez. The January Series, a 15-day lecture series, featured Temple Grandin and Cal Ripken Jr. among its speakers, and the Artist Series hosted Chanticleer and the Bach Collegium among its performers. Inner Compass, an issuesoriented television show, is offered in 65 public broadcasting markets. In all these ways, through all these events, Calvin reaches out to the larger world— and welcomes that world into the Calvin community.

The Civil Wars performing at the Festival of Faith and Music

Interim in India



t Calvin we believe our world belongs to God and that the global impact of a liberal arts education rooted and centered in faith is our call to fulfill that belief. Through off-campus programs and a vibrant international community, Calvin expands the boundaries of the college’s 400-acre campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., to include influences from all over the world.

Off-campus programs At a banana plantation in Honduras, an observatory in New Mexico or in the castle ruins towering over Oviedo, Spain, the off-campus experience is a life changing part of the college experience. Off-campus programs have been on the rise at

the college ever since the first group of 14 students traveled to France during the 1972 interim, Calvin’s three-week January term intended to provide time and opportunity to explore topics outside of the regular curriculum. In 2011, Calvin offered 20 international interim programs on six continents. They varied in location from New Zealand to Kenya and Greece to Jamaica. Calvin’s first semester-long overseas study program began in 1983. That spring, 30 Calvin students and their professor spent a semester in Spain immersed in Spanish culture. Calvin’s second semester program was introduced in 1989 in England. Since then, 11 new programs have been added, including the newest in Peru, which will bring students to the Universidad Católica San Pablo in the Andean foothills this fall.


Engineering interim in the Netherlands

Recognized leader For decades now, Calvin has been among the top schools in the country for the number of students who study abroad. According to the 2010 Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education, Calvin ranks second nationally among baccalaureate institutions for the total number of students who participate in a short-term study abroad and, in 2007, was one of just four colleges and universities in the nation to receive the Paul B. Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. We believe that off-campus study broadens students’ perspectives on both the world and the kingdom of God, enhances self-discipline and provides coherent, comprehensive and authentic learning experiences that have a deep and long-lasting effect.

International campus Likewise, the college supports efforts for a culturally diverse experience on campus. Calvin’s international student population is the sixth largest of any liberal arts college in the U.S. International students comprise nearly nine percent of the college’s enrollment. Students from Canada, South Korea, China, Ghana and Nigeria account for more than half of the international community at Calvin. This dynamic community impacts the college

by heightening cultural awareness and broadening the faith perspective through which we view the world. Each February, the international student community presents Rangeela (Hindi for colorful), a very popular variety show, as a way to share their cultures with the Calvin community and beyond. For 12 years, Calvin has sponsored the Mosaic Community—a place where students have lived and learned together around issues of culture and race. Renamed Grassroots, the Living-Learning community is a place for any student who wants to take a step of engagement in learning while living in a diverse community. Cross-cultural learning is woven throughout all of Calvin’s more than 100 academic programs. Calvin is the only Christian college in North America offering a comprehensive program in Asian studies, including courses in Japanese, Chinese and Korean languages. Calvin also offers programs in African studies, international development and international relations.

Semester in Honduras

Dick Katte ’58

Jennie Nichols ’01

Alumni outcomes


hroughout the decades, Calvin has trained its students to work for renewal wherever God leads them. Today, Calvin graduates live on every continent, and they do transformative work in many fields. Jack Kuipers ’42 Widely regarded as the founder of the mathematics of virtual reality Florence Kuipers ’42 Cryptanalyst and translator in Eastern European languages who was awarded the National Security Agency’s Civilian Meritorious Award Corrine Kass ’50 Expert in special education who was awarded the Distinguished Government Service Award for her work at the Bureau of Education for the Handicapped

Alvin Plantinga ’54 Professor of philosophy emeritus at Notre Dame known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics and the philosophy of religion Dale DeHaan ’55 Leader in international efforts to solve refugee problems who shared the 1981 Nobel Peace Prize Vernon Ehlers ’55 Nuclear physicist, retired U.S.Congressman and leader on issues involving the environment, education and public health Dick Katte ’58 Teacher-coach, Denver Christian High School, winningest basketball coach in State of Colorado prep. history

Dean Bok ’60 UCLA medical professor honored for lifetime achievement in retinal research by the Foundation Fighting Blindness Paul Vanden Bout ’61 A pioneer in the field of radio astronomy; now director emeritus of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Herman Keizer Jr. ’65 During a 33-year military career served in the field, was a special advisor on the U.S. Army’s drug and alcohol program and was Command Chaplain of the U.S. European Command Mary Vermeer Andringa ’71 President and CEO of Vermeer Manufacturing William Garvelink ’71 Long-time senior administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and former U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Todd Martínez ’89 Professor of theoretical chemistry who was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grant” Terri Harris Reed ’89 Vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at Princeton University Oluwatoyin Adegbite Moore ’91 Director of community housing for the University of Pennsylvania David Porter ’97 Legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs Jennie Nichols ’01 President, Venture Imports, LLC Ryan Spencer Reed ’02 Documentary photojournalist who captured the Sudan conflict Ryan Bierma ’03 Geologist for the Alaska Volcano Observatory

Gerald Gabrielse ’73 Internationally known atomic physicist and chair of Harvard physics department

Laura Rip ’04 Facilities engineer for the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica

Edward Buikema ’74 Regional director for the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency

Karen Genzink ’08 Business development consultant at Future Now Enterprises, Pnomh Penh, Cambodia

Joel Holtrop ’74 Deputy chief of the National Forest System Kim Olthoff ’82 Liver surgeon, transplant specialist and program director of liver transplantation at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Chris Holstege ’88 Medical toxicologist and associate professor in emergency medicine at the University of Virginia Medical School

Ryan Bierma ’03

Incoming Student Profile


average ACT score

3.6 average GPA 45.5% had GPA of 3.75 or higher

31% were in the top 10

percent of high school graduating class

18 National Merit Scholars–

third highest in Michigan.

53.3% attended a

10% are from outside the U.S.

43.2% attended a

50.8% from Michigan

private high school

public high school

3.5% were homeschooled

40.6% attend Christian

Reformed churches

50/50 female/male ratio

59.4% have other church

11.7% are racial/ethnic

38.6% children of alumni



Our Finances Current Funds Revenue 2010

$138.9 total (in millions)

room and board $16.6 tuition and fees $93.2

Current Funds Expenditures $138.9 total (in millions)

college financial aid and scholarships $31.3 salaries and wages $50.2

benefits $19.6 denominational ministry share $2.7 food contract $7.7 other expenditures $30.1 operating gifts $2.8 campus store $2.6 endowment income $5.7 restricted gifts, grants and contracts $8.5 other revenue $6.8

The last 10 years 2001

2004 ◆

Vincent and Helen Bunker Interpretive Center dedicated

Calvin’s Crossing dedicated

Educating for Vocation funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Asian studies major and African and African diaspora studies minor created

Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Christian Perspectives on Political, Social and Economic Thought established

Arthur H. DeKruyter Chair in Faith and Communication established

Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning established

Calvin men’s cross country team wins the NCAA III championship

Calvin unveils new core curriculum.

2002 ◆

DeVos Communication Center dedicated

Prince Conference Center dedicated

2003 ◆

Calvin men’s cross country team wins the NCAA III championship



Calvin draws 63,000 visitors to campus when the college hosts Petra: Lost City of Stone.

President George W. Bush is the speaker at Calvin’s 85th-annual Commencement.

A $1.1 million HHMI grant funded the creation of Calvin’s Integrated Science Research Institute an effort dedicated to collaborative work in the sciences.

Calvin earns a $200,000 State of Michigan Improving Teacher Quality Grant to help local elementary and middle school teachers improve their teaching in the language arts.

2006 ◆

Chapel patio renovated

Frederik Meijer Chair in Dutch Language and Culture established

Roger and Connie Brummel Endowed Chair in Organic Chemistry established

2009 ◆

Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex dedicated

“Science, Philosophy and Belief: A Program for Chinese Scholars” created

Department of Congregational and Ministry Studies established

Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity established

Calvin men’s cross country team wins the NCAA III championship

2007 ◆

The Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools established

Calvin receives a $50, 000 Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network grant to encourage a sense of entrepreneurship in engineering students.

Calvin concludes No Greater Task: Hearts and Minds Renewing God’s World, the college’s capital campaign, surpassing its $150 million goal.

Calvin women’s volleyball team wins the NCAA III National Championship.

A $1.1 million academic research grant from the National Science Foundation builds a 4,450 square-foot wet lab in the basement of the Science Building. The Integrated Science Research Facility will be home to collaborative research in the sciences.

2010 ◆

Covenant Fine Arts Center dedicated

Center for Innovation in Business established

Faculty Honors

Student Honors

15 Goldwater Scholarships for students studying the sciences

Five EPA Fellowships from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for students studying engineering and the sciences

49 Academic All-Americans named by the College Sports Directors of America—more than any other MIAA school

26 Grand Awards for local theater to the Calvin Theatre Company

One Congressman Paul Henry Integrity Award scholarship

Ten Fulbright awards for scholarship in geography, computer science, Spanish, philosophy and history Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for William Romanowski: Eyes Wide Open: Religion and Culture Two Newbery Honor Awards for English professor Gary’s D. Schmidt’s novels Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars

Iowa Poetry Prize for English professor Lew Klatt

Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Paulo Ribeiro

Calvin Profile  

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