Spark Fall 2023 Calvin University

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A Global Look at Kuyper’s Inch

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FALL 2023

“Class of 2023, it is my turn now, it is your turn now, it is our turn to be the hands and feet of God. It is our turn to embody the grace of God through generosity, it is our turn to make impossible dreams a reality!”


David, Elaine, Misael, and Naty Martinez Vasquez—the first quadruplets born in west Michigan—all graduated from Calvin University on the same day.

Calvin University equips students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.


Calvin University is an educational institution of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). To learn more about the CRC’s work in North America and around the world, visit

Calvin University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). For more information, visit

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Calvin professors navigate artificial intelligence in the classroom and beyond.




Men’s volleyball and women’s acrobatics and tumbling usher in a new era of Calvin athletics.



Alumni share Calvin memories that made meaningful impacts in their lives.



Alumni across six continents reflect on the intersection of their faith and work.

FALL 2023 VOL. 69, NO. 2 2





Editor: Jeff Haverdink ’97

Managing Editor: Sara Korber-DeWeerd ’00

Art Director: Amanda Impens


Colton Credelle ’16

Vicki Dolsen

Olivia Stallmer ’22

Contributing Writers:

Sara Korber-DeWeerd ’00

Jeff Febus ’92

Matt Kucinski HON

Lynn Rosendale ’85

Madison Szczepanksi ’22

Contributing Photographers:

Christian Frazier

Ryan Humm

Amanda Impens

Johnny Quirin

Adrian Van Stee ’23


President: Tyler Amidon ’93 (Centennial, Colo.)

Vice President: Stephanie Vogelzang ’07 (Alexandria, Va.)

Secretary: Karen Zwart Hielema ’94 (Toronto, Ont.)

Treasurer: Adam Kinder ’06 (Ada, Mich.)

Executive Director: Jeff Haverdink ’97


Joe Allen ’13 (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Jerry Cooper ex’66 (Holland, Mich.)

Minwoo Heo ’09 (Deerfield, Ill.)

Carla de Jong Hiemstra ’94 (Visalia, Calif.)

Dale Kaemingk ’77 (Brier, Wash.)

Kathleen Smit Klaasen ’70 (Caledonia, Mich.)

Jonathan Marcus ’82 (Holland, Mich.)

Maxine Asante Mosley-Totoe ’06 (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Janorisè Evans Robinson ’92 (Caledonia, Mich.)

Eliezer Yeong ’18 (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Eric Yulianto ’02 (Mason, Ohio)

Johanna Chambery Zandstra ’91 (Schererville, Ind.)


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Jennifer Holberg’s new book Nourishing Narratives explores the way story shapes us. Geophysicist Vashan Wright researches natural hazards and leads anti-racism work in the sciences.
Read Spark online Follow us on Instagram @calvinuniversityalumni Connect with alumni Leave a legacy for future alumni View the Calvin calendar 4 Editor’s Desk 6 Campus News 8 Sports 10 Calvin Scholarship 12 Features 24 Alumni Profiles 34 Events 36 Legacy 38 Class Notes TABLE OF CONTENTS 3


I recall an old Calvin alumni adage that suggested putting a “Calvin Alumni” bumper sticker on the back of your car pretty much guaranteed roadside assistance if you were ever in need. I’d like to think that adage is still true.

In many of my conversations during gatherings this past year, a common story often emerged about how the Calvin network provided alumni with all sorts of meaningful opportunities and personal interactions around the world.

In Atlanta I talked with local alumni leaders about ways to foster alumni connections in their area. It was energizing to hear their eagerness to help fellow grads however they could. Beyond strengthening professional connections with Calvin alums, the members of the leadership team pondered ways to welcome newcomers to the Atlanta area—from recommendations of good neighborhoods, to thriving churches, to interesting places to explore in the metro area. The leaders generated fabulous ideas.

We heard a similar tale about a reunion in Malaysia. In fact, you’ll see a photo of the group in the class notes section. Not everyone who gathered that day knew each other, yet their shared tie to the Calvin network built new relationships and connections. Being a Calvin graduate means many things, and fostering and utilizing Calvin networks around the world is certainly one of them.

I encourage each of us to lean in just a bit more and live into our shared Calvin network. Follow Calvin on social media,

join our LinkedIn groups, attend some events, and be willing to respond to fellow Calvin grads seeking connection or advice. The value and strength of our Calvin diplomas grows when we take that one extra step to be a resource to fellow alumni in any way that we can.

That said, we hope the stories and photos in this issue provide that added “spark” for each of us to renew those cherished connections with our alma mater and fellow alumni.

You’ll read fascinating profiles of alumni using their education and gifts in a broad range of fields, including artificial intelligence, business, theater, and geophysics. You’ll get a global perspective on alums following God’s call to renew their “square inches” across six continents. And you’ll also see snippets of alumni gatherings happening all around the world—more examples of networks in motion.

It’s a big world, full of opportunities and challenges. Let’s each do our part to be engaged Calvin alumni. In doing so, we not only help each other, but we also demonstrate to prospective students around the world why being a Calvin alum means so much more than just having a diploma!



Stay connected for the sheer joy of learning, without the pressures of homework and bluebooks, when you join the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning. With over 1,000 members, CALL offers a variety of enriching and stimulating courses online or in person.

Fall 2023 courses include:

• John Bernbaum on the Russian-Ukrainian War

• Jim Bratt on early American religious history

• Craig Hanson on the architectural design of Calvin’s campus (free; no course fee)

• Dick Harms on Great Lakes ships and shipping

• Henry Luttikhuizen on Christianity and print-making

• Neal Plantinga on gratitude as the key to well-being

• Pete Tigchelaar on the five special senses

• And many more!

Find the full list of fall courses at

$40* annual membership

$10-$30 per course registration

*For anyone new to the CALL program, the membership fee is waived the first year and only the course fee applies.



Following a national search, a Calvin University search committee selected Nygil Likely as the institution’s next chief diversity officer. He began his tenure on June 1.

“This feels like a full-circle moment for me,” said Likely, who served as director of college access programs at Calvin from 2014–2019 before he left to pursue executive-level leadership experience. “I’m excited to be able to re-enter a space that I have a fondness and passion for.”

Likely returns to Calvin with 23 years of experience in the higher education and non-profit sectors, most recently serving as vice president of student affairs at Lake Michigan College. While there, he led the development of the diversity program and oversaw admissions and recruiting, student life, student support services, athletics, and other areas of the college.

Likely steps into a role that Michelle Loyd-Paige retired from this spring. Loyd-Paige was the first at Calvin to fill this position and served at the university for four decades.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. LoydPaige for the many ways she’s laid a solid foundation for diversity and inclusion work at Calvin during her nearly four decades of service here,” said Pres. Wiebe Boer.


The doors to a Calvin education have never been more open. Students from more than 90 countries submitted their applications to Calvin for the 2023–2024 school year. The interest, which represents nearly half the countries in the world, is record-setting.

This year’s applicant pool stretched from Honduras to Malaysia, from South Africa to the United Kingdom. International interest amounted to about 30 percent of the university’s total undergraduate applications this year.

“We are thrilled that this fall we will again welcome such a diverse group of students to our community, and we are anticipating an ever more vibrant learning community

because of this rich diversity,” said Lauren Jensen, vice president for enrollment strategy.

The geographic diversity continues to grow; over 17% of last year’s graduating class came from outside the United States. The ten most represented countries other than the U.S. that make up Calvin’s current student body include India, South Korea, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Honduras, Canada, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.


Read the full-length stories and more campus news at

International interest in Calvin is on the rise. Students from 90 countries submitted applications this year.
Chief Diversity Officer Nygil Likely brings 23 years of experience in the higher education and non-profit sectors to his new role.


Professor of engineering Matt Heun is the 2023 recipient of the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching—the highest honor the university awards for teaching.

“It’s super humbling,” said Heun of learning of the recognition. “I just think of all the students I’ve taught over the years and how it’s not possible to be a good teacher unless you have good students.”

For the past two decades, Heun has helped aspiring engineers expand their imaginations of what’s possible.

“Alumni report that they appreciate how he enabled them to accomplish things they weren’t sure they could,” said Gayle Ermer, chair of the engineering department. Ermer says Heun helps his students achieve these outcomes by “setting extremely high standards” and

then “coaching and supporting students” along the way.

Heun says without high demands, students can get bored, but without a high level of support, they may feel expectations are unrealistic.

“The way to avoid either of those poles is to claim that the work they are going to do is important, provide a big challenge for them, because important things are challenging, and then provide the support to help them succeed,” Heun said.

Heun, a leading scholar and thought leader in environmental sustainability, has published dozens of articles, coauthored books, and given countless presentations and interviews on the matter. He also holds leadership positions on sustainability-focused faculty and student groups on campus.


In April, La’Leatha Spillers began her tenure as Calvin’s first vice president for marketing and communications. She most recently served as chief advancement officer for the YWCA West Central Michigan, where she oversaw the organization’s fundraising, development, communications, and marketing efforts.

Spillers rose to the top of an international search that included a diverse and qualified pool of applicants representing 12 U.S. states and three countries. She has 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, fundraising, and public relations and has held leadership positions at Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids Christian Schools, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit.

“I am committed to listening and learning and finding those common themes that thread us all together,” said Spillers. “Each [university] department or entity may deliver it differently, but we are all part of that one body of Calvin, and we should be able to see the unifying themes. Our role, then, is to tell our story and equip our constituencies to do the same,” Spillers said.

Professor Matt Heun is the 2023 recipient of the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching.
VP of Marketing and Communications La’Leatha Spillers helps Calvin tell its story.


Men’s volleyball & women’s acrobatics and tumbling prepare for inaugural seasons

A new era of Calvin athletics will kick off next year when the men’s volleyball and women’s acrobatics and tumbling teams launch their first-ever campaigns as varsity programs.

The competitive season for both programs will stretch from January through April. The men’s volleyball team will be led by firstyear head coach Spencer Fredrick, while the women’s acrobatics and tumbling team will be led by head coach Ellen Barker.


In January, the Calvin men’s volleyball team will jump into a full varsity season with the Knights competing in the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League and playing for a potential berth in the NCAA III Tournament at season’s end.

Calvin will be one of 10 schools in the MCVL, including MIAA schools Adrian, Olivet, and Trine, as well as Baldwin-Wallace, Mount Union, Mount St. Joseph, Wabash, Wittenberg, and Fontbonne. Calvin will play in a series of non-conference matches followed by conference play starting the first weekend of March. The winner of the MCVL Tournament (April 12–13) receives an automatic bid to the NCAA III Tournament the following week.


Spencer Fredrick comes to Calvin with impressive volleyball credentials. He prepped at Valley Christian High School in Cerritos, California and then played for Division I UC–Santa Barbara, where he became a starting opposite/middle hitter. He later played professionally as an outside hitter in both Sweden and Germany.

Fredrick accepted the Calvin coaching position in late December 2022 and has been hitting the recruiting trail hard ever since. He anticipates a roster of as many as 18–20 student-athletes. The lineup will be comprised of recruited newcomers and current members of the Calvin men’s club volleyball program, which has existed for several years.

“We have about 13 new recruits coming in, including a player from Canada, several from the Midwest, and a few from the West Coast,” Fredrick said. “We will also draw on individuals that have been a part of our club program. We are a bit on the young side, but we will have some talent. Our goals are to fight for a spot in the conference tournament, generate excitement with our Calvin community, and help grow the game of men’s volleyball in the state of Michigan.”


Fredrick feels blessed to have a mentor in Calvin women’s volleyball head coach Amber Warners, who has led her program to three national championships. “Coach Warners has been incredibly helpful through the whole process,” Fredrick said. “She is super passionate about the game of volleyball and helps encourage me as a new coach to keep a positive outlook. I am very grateful for that. I anticipate great collaboration between our two programs, with our men’s team supporting the women’s in the fall and the women’s team doing the same for our program in the winter and spring.”


Ellen Barker, meanwhile, is an established collegiate coach, having served as the head coach of the Adrian women’s acrobatics and tumbling program for six years before joining the Calvin athletic program. She hails

from Lansing, Michigan. She spent two years as an undergraduate at nearby Davenport University, competing as a member of the school’s competitive cheer team. She then transferred to Azusa Pacific (Calif.), where she spent three years on the school’s newly formed acrobatics and tumbling team, developing a passion that continues today.

“I am so excited to join the Calvin community,” Barker said. “Calvin has so much to offer young women from spiritual, academic, and athletic standpoints. The mission of Calvin matches many of the same things I experienced as a student-athlete at Azusa Pacific, where the Christian faith intertwines with daily life. My number one goal right now is to get the Calvin name out as much as possible and associate it with the sport of acrobatics and tumbling.”


Acrobatics and tumbling is an emerging sport within the NCAA, with 10 Division III schools expected to sponsor it as a varsity sport by 2025. Although operating under NCAA rules, the sport is under the umbrella

of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association. That group currently holds the NCATA National Championships each spring, but the eventual hope is the sport will become a fully sanctioned NCAA III sport with NCAA III Championships competition.

According to Barker, the upcoming 2023–24 season will be a foundational one focused on recruiting new student-athletes and building a strong team culture. “We’ve got a good start to adding some new members, but the upcoming year will be key in building a full roster,” Barker said. “Ideally, we would like to have 24 women on the roster by the fall of 2024 and then build from there to a roster of 28–30. We need a minimum of 15 athletes to compete as a team in a meet.”

Acrobatics and tumbling typically draws athletes from a variety of feeder sports, most notably gymnastics, acrobatics, competitive cheer, power lifting, and sideline cheer. “The beauty of this sport is that it utilizes different types of athletes and athletic skills,” Barker said.

Barker anticipates a full 2024–25 season with home matches. “We would like to host three to four home matches each season and give the public a taste of what our sport is all about,” she said. “I love hosting competitions, and Calvin is a great venue.”

View more stories and photos about our teams, athletes, and scores at


Jennifer Holberg is a professor, chair of the English department, and the co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith and Writing. She has spent over 30 years teaching in college and community settings. In her newest book, Nourishing Narratives, Holberg writes about the power of story to shape our relationships to self, others, and God.

Spark: What inspired you to write Nourishing Narratives?

Holberg: It really grew out of my 30-plus years of teaching. I believe deeply in the significance and power of words—and in the theological imperative to use them carefully, graciously, truthfully, well.

In fact, I think one of the most compelling reasons that Christians should engage literature today is because stories have become the fundamental way our culture processes information. It’s a primary way for us to pay attention and call attention to what we believe is important.

Spark: What can readers expect to discover in its pages?

Holberg: Across its nine chapters, Nourishing Narratives invites readers to consider how both the conventions of narrative (that is, how stories are put to-


gether or how readerly expectations work) and the content of particular stories lead Christians to a deeper understanding of key theological concepts, including God’s plentitude, faithfulness, and providential care. At the same time, the book examines how story shapes our sense of our own responsibilities, such as our call to God’s work, our duties as friends, our obligation to speak truth and reconciliation, and our responses to challenges, including loss. Finally, it asks how we can use story to equip others to deal with their own narratives, good and bad. As the psalmist reminds us, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story,” for it is within stories that we see glimpses of the Author behind them all.

Spark: You write, “Every one of us is a storyteller and a story interpreter.” What do you mean by that?

Holberg: We are constantly narrating a story to ourselves, based on the other stories in our lives that come from outside of ourselves. The key is to have the interpretive tools to understand which of those narratives is nourishing and which is toxic. Thus, the book is not about what to read or consume, but rather how to read and why.

Spark: You also write that we are all “story-shaped people.” How do stories shape us?

Holberg: Stories are a key way for us to understand God’s work in our lives. After all, Jesus’ pedagogical method was story: “a man went on a journey, a woman lost a coin, the kingdom of heaven is like a….” But how often we act like the Bible is primarily a list of rules and regulations, instead of an astonishing true story about a God who loves humanity and wants to redeem it.

There’s an old book by English professor emeritus Henry Zylstra, Testament of Vision, that contains an assertion that I come back to again and again: literature, he says, should give us “more to be Christian with.” How, then, do the stories we tell, the stories we listen to, the stories we honor or reject—how do these make us more capacious in our faith, more gracious in our lives?

Spark: Nourishing Narratives explores the ways storytelling can constrain our lives or free us. Talk about that a little.

Holberg: We have a saying, “I can’t imagine.” And actually, that’s true. Often, we find ourselves stuck because we can’t imagine a way out of a situation or can’t imagine ourselves differently than what we’ve been told we are. Sometimes we tell ourselves pretty limiting stories about other people—and about God. But one of the consistent themes of the book is how to live into a world loved by a God who does “more than we can ask or imagine.” Ours is a big God who welcomes a plentitude of stories!

Spark: You share a lot of personal history in your book, yet Nourishing Narratives is not exactly a memoir. How do you hope readers will receive the stories you share with them?

Holberg: Ah, thanks for noticing! Yes, it’s definitely a hybrid genre. I wanted to use stories to explore the concept of story. Most importantly, I wanted the book to be very accessible, so I wanted to be in conversation with the reader. Since I’m hoping readers will be encouraged to think about their own lives, it made sense to be vulnerable enough to share from my own life. Still, it really isn’t all about me!

“Stories have become the fundamental way our culture processes information. It’s a primary way for us to pay attention as well as to call attention to what we believe is important.”


In our spring issue, we featured the voices of faculty, staff, and graduating seniors who call Calvin their alma mater. In “Our Calvin Story,” those community members reflected on the Calvin they remember and the one they now participate in shaping.

Then we asked you: What’s your Calvin story? Here, alumni share experiences that made a lasting impact on their own lives.


Blake Hiemstra ’95

Visalia, Calif.

During my sophomore year, after an early British literature session, the professor stopped me on my way out the door. “Blake, what’s your major?” I hesitantly admitted I wasn’t sure. “Well,” he said, “you should really consider going into English because you write really well.” Pursuing an English major hadn’t occurred to me before, but it sure did after that. Writing became a life-pursuit and a passion, a part of my identity as a teacher and as a human being. At the time, I had no idea of the magnitude of the professor’s compliment, but looking back now and realizing that such personal encouragement came from none other than Gary Schmidt—well, let’s just say that left an indelible mark on me.


Carla de Jong Hiemstra ’94

Visalia, Calif.

Leaving high school, many thoughts of college life filled my head. I contemplated what new-found independence might look like or how much studying I would have to do. Of course, what most preoccupied my dreaming was the opportunity to meet new people and have lots of fun, but I never realized the life-long friendships that I would make during those four years at Calvin. I was soon enraptured with all dorm life offered, and it was on 2nd Kalsbeek that I found my closest friends. Though KH (now KHvR) provided the backdrop to nights filled with laughter and shenanigans, more impactful was the campus as a whole, lending opportunities to meet people at every crux and corner, forever blending lives.



Dennis Pluimer ’68

Breezy Point, Minn.

I came to Calvin a very homesick 18-yearold, missing my girlfriend, my dog, and my home. The only thing keeping me from dropping out that first month was the fear of disappointing my dad. I enrolled as an English major but mistakenly came to believe the only outcome for that major was to teach, and there was no way I wanted to teach, so I switched to biology. Well, I graduated from Calvin in 1968 and spent 43 rewarding years as a high school biology teacher. Go figure! God transformed my life at Calvin, jump-starting my faith journey and teaching me that his plans are always better than mine.


Adam Kinder ’06

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Post student-life at Calvin, my wife and I (in our first year of marriage, no less) had the privilege of being Project Neighborhood mentors. Spending time living in an intentional co-ed community with college students, who started out as strangers and became amazing supports for one another, has left a lasting imprint on how I understand living in community—including how to celebrate together, sit together, grieve together, discern together, laugh together, and love together.


Ashleigh Hirdes Muhme ’00

Phoenix, Ariz.

I lived in Beets-Veenstra my first two years at Calvin, and the women I met there became lifelong friends. One evening during our sophomore year, we each agreed to “borrow” a dining hall tray from Knollcrest. With new snow on the ground, we had the idea of taking the trays across the Beltline near the apartments to go sliding after dark. We piled ourselves three or four high on those tiny trays and tore down the hill, laughing the entire way. It’s one of my favorite college memories.


Peter DeBoer ’81

Grand Rapids, Mich.

I graduated in 1981 but returned to Calvin for an Interim class in January 1982—a tour of cultures and mission outreach in Liberia, West Africa, led by sociology professor Donald Wilson. We lived with a Bassa family in a small village in the rainforest, hiked to other small Bassa towns, and met with Christian Reformed missionaries in the Bassa tribal area before touring Liberia in pickup trucks using a network of dirt roads. Before that trip, I had never flown on an airplane or had a cross-cultural experience like this. I later became a short-term missionary to the Vai community in Northwest Liberia and continue to maintain ties there. Looking back, I can see that the Interim class helped me to bring the love of Christ to hundreds of people in Northwest Liberia.


Tabitha Lim ’12

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

During freshman year, my uncle passed away. Devastated and unable to return to Malaysia to grieve with my family, my academic progress suffered. I decided to reach out to my professors with the hope of salvaging my grades. I was anxious about expressing my emotions to my professors because, in Malaysia, I was accustomed to a culture where young people were often discouraged from speaking up. However, my professors shattered my expectations. They demonstrated it was acceptable to grieve, providing a supportive environment that pointed to God’s grace and love. They instilled in me a sense of self-worth, inspiring me to be a compassionate educator for the past 12 years. At Calvin I learned to embrace my own voice, validate my emotions, and take space to grapple with my faith.

“At Calvin I learned to embrace my own voice, validate my emotions, and take space to grapple with my faith.”


Alumni across six continents reflect on the intersection of their faith and work


“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’ ” Theologian Abraham Kuyper first spoke these words in Amsterdam at the inauguration of a Christian university in 1880. The “domain” to which Kuyper referred isn’t the natural world, but the stuff we humans create— government and culture, technology and commerce, buildings and books. To be co-creators with our Creator has practical implications in our ordinary, day-to-day lives. From caring for our families to leading people or organizations, what we do each day—and how we do it—matters to God.

Pearlyn Budu ’09 Nick Liza ’13 Janelle Wierenga ’98 Joy Lee ’09 Andrea Wagner Dekker ’07
Heero Hacquebord ’92


Heero Hacquebord ’92 is a native of South Africa, who moved to the United States as a teen. Since 1997, Hacquebord has lived and worked in three different regions of Ukraine; he and his family now live in the western Ukranian city of L’viv.

Hacquebord serves with Mission to the World, the mission board of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He says expressing spiritual truths through his third language is often humbling, a strong reminder that “one has to know people’s heart language in order to really connect with them and their culture.”

Since 2022, Hacquebord has also faced the daunting task of shepherding a congregation through the Russian invasion and war. “L’viv has been a major hub for those fleeing the active war zone in other parts of the country. Caring for people among all the pain, turmoil, and disruption of war has been a deeply emotional experience,” he says. Questions such as what it means to pray for one’s enemies and how to understand war from a Christian perspective are not just theoretical, but pressing and immediate concerns.

“In some circles there seems to be the notion that Christians should keep their hands clean from the unsavory dirt and blood of conflict. But, truly, the ‘domain of human existence’ includes not only art, education, and economics, but also warfare,” says Hacquebord. Citing Ecclesiastes 3, he adds, “In this fallen world there is ‘a time to kill, and a time to heal … a time for war, and a time for peace.’ Nobody who loves Christ wants to be engaged in killing; but sometimes we must fight in order to save lives, culture, beauty, truth, and to create peace.”


A universal commitment to the value of beauty, truth, and peace happens on smaller scales, too. Andrea Wagner Dekker ’07 believes God delights in and honors the small ways his people faithfully and lovingly attend to the day-to-day. She and husband Dave Dekker ’04 enjoy small-town life in west Michigan, raising their four young kids in an antique farmhouse. Dekker’s days are full: caring for her family, volunteering, and running a small online business that helps people embrace simple living and create peaceful homes.

Her website,, offers recipes, easy-to-follow advice, resources, and blog posts about topics such as personal finance, organization, and family. She also sends weekly email newsletters to subscribing members that contain practical tips, life updates, and video content. Dekker has been featured in publications such as Rachel Ray Home, HGTV Home, and HuffPost, to name a few.

“Many people grow up with big hopes and dreams to be used in extraordinary ways for God’s kingdom. But most of us will be used in very ordinary ways within our own homes, families, and communities. That’s where I see my calling,” Dekker says. For Dekker, all our work matters to God, whether that’s making to-do lists, planting a vegetable garden, or trying a new recipe to share around the table. As mundane as these tasks can feel, they take on a unique beauty when we remember God can use our work in ways we could never expect or imagine.



As a student, Ghanaian native Pearlyn Budu ’09 could not have imagined her current career—that’s because it didn’t yet exist. Budu graduated one year after the 2008 global financial crisis that led to the rise of the digital financing (fintech) industry. Today, she is the head of commercial operations for Uganda at M-KOPA, a fintech platform that helps financially excluded people access personal financing for everyday, life-improving commodities, such as smart phones, electric motorcycles, solar power systems, and health insurance. The company serves over three million underbanked customers in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ghana.

According to the World Bank, only 20% of Africans have bank accounts. M-KOPA’s customers, who reflect this statistical reality, are typically low-income, have no credit histories, and may earn their living through informal employment, meaning both their source and amount of daily income is inconsistent. “Most organizations do not see value in offering services to this type of customer, due to their limited earnings,” Budu says. “Improving access to financing for this segment of customers is what my role is about.”

Budu’s respect for the value and dignity of all people inspires her dedication to her role. She has seen informal traders, farmers, and boda boda drivers acquire smartphones through M-KOPA’s simple financing plans; having reliable internet access significantly improves their businesses and quality of life.

Budu loves adventure and exploring new cultures, two qualities that equipped her to move from her home city of Accra, Ghana, in West Africa to Kampala, Uganda, in East Africa. Taking a leadership position in a still-emerging industry while navigating language and cultural barriers hasn’t been easy, but Budu’s commitment to the instructions of Micah 6:8 keep her centered: “to seek justice for all, act with mercy, and walk in humility with God.”

Pearlyn Budu ’09


Nick Liza ’13 lives by another important biblical principle found in Luke 12:48—“to whom much is given, much is required.” Since 2014, he has used his engineering background to help lead the way in the expansion of trenchless technologies and utility service installations in South America.

Trenchless technology allows upgrades and expansion of underground infrastructure like gas, water, and sewer without opening trenches in existing city roads and disrupting urban activity. “It is a push for ‘clean cities’ where overhead cables that were once used basically become nonexistent,” Liza says.

As an engineering manager for Vermeer Latin America, Liza brings products that best fit the Latin American market and needs to infrastructure expansion projects and renewable energy applications. He oversees a large territory extending from Mexico to the lower tip of Argentina.

Liza said one of his greatest daily challenges is working crossculturally. “This includes leading with others who have different beliefs, worldviews, and lifestyles, understanding different laws (as countries have their own regulations), and sourcing different types of available resources.” His faith helps him “lead in a loving, caring, and respectful manner.”

Working cross-culturally has also made a deep impression on Liza’s understanding of Kuyper’s metaphor. Christ’s claim over every square inch is “not just creation—trees, rivers, animals—but also the development of societies, technology, medicine, and even everyday human interactions.” He believes both progress and difficulty (a natural outcome of human striving) fall under God’s sovereignty “to bring forth blessing to an ever moving forward world.”


It would be impossible to talk about “the whole domain of human existence” without also considering the way humans interact with their environment for better or, often, worse. Janelle Wierenga ’98 is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. There she collaborates with a team of researchers attempting to save an endangered species of penguins, one that is culturally important to the local Māori tribes of New Zealand.

“We’re trying to discover the source of two diseases causing significant mortality and morbidity within the rarest penguin on the planet,” Wierenga says. She works with a steady commitment, even though she recognizes it may be too late to save the yelloweyed penguins, also called hoiho in Māori. “Most people would put up their hands and say this is too big, we can’t do it,” Wierenga says. “I just want to keep trying. Development of a covid vaccine demonstrated the remarkable progress the scientific community can make through collaboration around a unified goal—the same could be true for endangered species like the yellow-eyed penguins.”

Wierenga appreciates the way all living things are interconnected and believes learning to “share our home” with them is important.

“New Zealand, for example, is one of the first countries in the world that has designated rivers as living entities, which gives them a level of protection and respect that can hopefully lead to more legal protection. How we take care of one profoundly affects the others.”



The idea that what is good for one of us is good for all of us extends beyond environmental activism to education and humanitarian efforts as well. Since 2018, Joy Lee ’09 has served as the executive director of a young, local non-profit organization called YICF in Jakarta, Indonesia. YICF is an umbrella entity with two main subentities—Roshan and LIFE. Roshan is a refugee education center that serves almost 200 refugee children and adults, while LIFE is a service providing early childhood education and after school tutoring to almost 500 Indonesian children of waste-picker communities surrounding one of the largest open landfills in the world, Bantar Gebang.

As executive director, Lee finds herself interacting with many sectors, some faith-based and others secular. “I feel very passionate about bridging the gaps between these worlds and especially calling believers to collaborate creatively and humbly. I love Romans 12:2, which challenges us to not settle for the patterns of this world—including the patterns we are molded into by our

industries, fields of study, and even political alignments.”

A recent, short-term partnership between YICF and some of the world’s largest AI companies reinforced this belief.

Building partnerships across diverse private and public sectors reminds Lee of the claim God holds over all that humans build and create. It also reminds her to whom her work ultimately belongs. Whether partnering with underserved people, building a strong volunteer network, or pitching pilot programs to industry leaders, Lee says her deep hope is to live purposefully and open to what God wants to see happen through her.

Joy Lee ’09



Across the last century, technology has evolved in extraordinary, society-altering ways. From the invention of the telephone and airplane to the birth of the home computer and internet, our world has witnessed exceptional achievements. Perhaps the most important technological advancement of our time is one that is still on the cutting edge of development—the emergence of increasingly sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence, also known as AI.

“Artificial intelligence is the ability of technology or machines to complete tasks that humans usually do,” says Brian Paige, vice president of Information Technology and chief information officer at Calvin. “Whether searching for fun facts, finding directions, or researching content for an essay, we can now, in seconds, use AI technology, such as Amazon’s Alexa, GPS navigation systems, or ChatGPT.”



AI has been around since the 1950s and is here to stay. That’s why Calvin University’s faculty and staff are devoted to learning and understanding the latest iterations of this technology.

Of all the budding AI tools, professors and students alike attest that Generative Pretrained Technology (ChatGPT) is probably the most widely discussed new AI platform to hit the market in the last year. It generates original language within seconds, writing things such as narratives and poems with minimal human input.

Public reactions to this widely-accessible form of AI are mixed, with some lauding it and others predicting the end of education (and even the human race) as we know it. But Paige takes a more measured approach.“Once we shift our thinking and remove the curtain of fear surrounding [new developments in] AI, we realize that many forms of previous technology have allowed us to do a lot of good in faster, more meaningful ways.”

Airplanes are one example of this. When they were invented, they allowed missionaries and aid workers to get humanitarian assistance, along with God’s word, into the hands and hearts of remote populations much quicker.

Paige insists ChatGPT is a tool that could allow humans to communicate in groundbreaking ways. “We could ask it to write a new hymn or even a prayer for us, using it as a sort of prayer aid—and it would! Of course, we know it can’t pray for us. Prayer is an intimate act. ChatGPT can simply offer faith-filled people a tool they can use to deepen their relationship with God.”


The challenge of equipping students to be Christ’s agents of renewal in all facets of life, from the classroom to the marketplace to interfacing with the latest technology, is something Calvin professors take seriously. As access to information becomes quicker than ever through the development of AI, our world is entering uncharted moral territory, prompting Calvin faculty and staff to ask how these resources can best be stewarded.

That’s why a workshop was held this spring. Faculty and staff were challenged to think collectively about AI and its implications, asking: What is AI? What are its impacts? How will we respond?

ChatGPT, for example, provides users with a unique quandary—the decision to be honest or deceitful. Users can either copy text generated from a chatbot and pass it off as their own words, or they can practice integrity by using the resource as a research assistant rather than as a writing tool.

As image bearers of a creator God, the act of creating, from writing to visual art, is part of what makes us human. “There’s something about the challenge of laboring to produce one’s own work that forms minds and hearts. When we give that up to a machine, we are giving up something that’s uniquely part of the human experience,” Paige reflected.


Dr. Derek Schuurman, computer science professor at Calvin, sees the surge of artificial intelligence as an opportunity for discernment to shape the future landscape of technology.

Christian wisdom can inform and guide decisions about the future direction of technology. AI is part of the possibilities in creation that we are called to uncover.

Schuurman expects AI to have a highly disruptive effect on jobs for his students in the near future. Consequently, he is committed to preparing them for the world ahead by defining both the limitations and possibilities of AI. Throughout the computer science curriculum, Schuurman and his colleagues strive to equip students with the tools they need to develop and influence technology in a way that is both skillful and ultimately glorifies God.

Not unlike the philosophers of old, Schuurman often brings his students back to an essential question: What does it mean to be human? He believes understanding the dimensions of this simple, yet weighty question is critical to help students clarify the essential roles of humans and machines.

The growth and potential of decision-making automation have created global unease. Schuurman cites concerns about bias and injustice with AI decision making, along with declining trust amid artificially generated images, text, and “deepfakes.” According to Schuurman, the potential threats of AI requires experts—and budding experts—to discern not only what AI can do, but what we ought to do with AI.

“Christian wisdom,” explains Schuurman, “can inform and guide decisions about the direction of technology. AI is part of the possibilities in creation that we are called to uncover. As a part of creation, AI can, in principle, be directed in God-honoring ways despite the possibility for sinful distortions. It is our job as faculty to equip students to discern responsible and obedient ways to unfold these new technologies. Our hope is that our students and alumni can use their influence to code for shalom,” Schuurman noted.


As faculty equip students with the right skills to face an ever-changing job market, the challenges in the classroom remain. “Faculty members, both practically and philosophically, are trying to discern how much of this changes our pedagogy or teaching techniques,” Paige says.

Despite the gains in technology, for example, current software unfortunately doesn’t allow a professor to fully gauge whether or not a student has utilized ChatGPT to write a paper. Instead, Paige reflects, its availability challenges professors to know their students well.

“Our faculty are really good at this. They know their students. They have built relationships with them. And, if you know your students, you know their voice, you see their heart, and you recognize the work of their hands,” Paige says.

Additionally, the lessons in character development posed by AI allow students to come face-to-face with the moral and spiritual implications of their decisions, requiring them to check the intentions of their hearts.

The hard work of understanding this great new frontier has just begun, but Calvin is poised to speak into the conversation as faculty and staff lean into these technological advancements while shaping hearts and minds for Christ. Paige concluded, “For nearly 150 years, Calvin has historically led the way in a host of fields. We will continue to serve as trailblazers in this area as the technology unfolds.”


Alumni Profiles

Calvin seeks to equip students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. These stories demonstrate how our alumni are living out that mission.

Denise Koopman Brookhouse ’91 and Tony Brookhouse ’89 lead an independent lumber company in New England, bringing four generations of quality service and Christian values to their customers.

Senior engineering manager for NVIDIA Gordon Vreugdenhil ’88 helps lead the way for the future of self-driving vehicles.

Catherine Hanna Schrock ’01 cofounded Imagine, a theater company that helps communities navigate challenging issues and grow better together.

Geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography Vashan Wright ’12 studies natural hazards on Earth and the water cycle on Mars, in order to piece together the past and better understand the future. Read

more profiles online
Gordon Vreugdenhil ’88 Catherine Hanna Schrock ’01 Vashan Wright ’12
Tony Brookhouse ’89 and Denise Koopman Brookhouse ’91 (with Doris Hiskes Koopman ’61 and Donald Koopman ’59)

A People-first Approach to AI

Gordon Vreugdenhil ’88 Computer science Senior engineering manager at NVIDIA Portland, Oregon

Gordon Vreugdenhil ’88 has always loved applying interesting solutions to the challenge of a difficult problem. He serves as a senior engineering manager for NVIDIA, a company leading the way in accelerated computing and artificial intelligence. Vreugdenhil leads a team within the central processing unit (CPU) division developing CPU microcode and participating in safety certification processes for the NVIDIA DRIVE program. “The products I work on are the parts that actually go into cars for both driving assistance and various levels of self-driving,” he explains.

Vreugdenhil says he was a bit of an anomaly as a student. He graduated high school in Trenton, Ontario, a full semester early and enrolled at Calvin that spring. In addition to majoring in computer science and math, he also studied secondary education, philosophy, and theology. He says the liberal arts emphasis at Calvin made this possible.

As a senior, Vreugdenhil took an upper-level course in Marxism—an unusual choice for a computer science major. He still remembers his first day of class. “My classmates looked at me like, ‘Are you lost?’”

He wasn’t, of course. The philosophy department offering had piqued his interest—he realized the Soviet Union’s ideologies didn’t match those of Marx, so the class was “a great way to understand the real background and directions of Marx.” That same drive to know and understand guided him post-Calvin, through eight years of graduate school at the University of Waterloo, where he earned his PhD in computer science. As he approached the end of his studies, he and his wife, Janet Cok ’89, planned their next steps; they chose

the Pacific Northwest for its climate and job opportunities and relocated to the Portland, Oregon area, where they still live.

Today, as a people leader in a cutting-edge industry, Vreugdenhil takes his leadership, oversight, and coding roles seriously, applying his Christian worldview in every area. “Our relationships with others, with creation, all need to be informed by faith,” he says.

Vreugdenhil notes that “today’s broad use of technology leads to reductionism.”

“From a Christian perspective, there’s a danger that we’ll communicate attitudes where everything gets reduced to algorithms and numbers and suggest that truth is found that way. But technology is not the god. Technology is not what saves us.”

His words echo those of Henry David Thoreau, the transcendentalist philosopher who, in the mid-19th century, wrote, “Men have become tools of their tools.” Thoreau was describing the newly minted railroads crisscrossing the North American landscape, dramatically altering modern life. But Thoreau’s words hold a concern for the same reductionism Vreugdenhil names: the potential for technology to take priority over the human beings it is designed to serve.

“It’s very easy to lose sight of the fact that, at the end of the day, what we’re doing is providing tools and infrastructure that interact with people’s lives. It’s important to keep that in mind and to be talking about that in ways that reinforce responsibility and respect for people.”

Prioritizing the human lives that interact with NVIDIA’s autonomous self-driving products guides the company’s methodology. “We didn’t just develop the technology, sell it to customers, and say, ‘Here, put it in your own cars.’” Instead, they bought vehicles and did a full systems integration, testing the technology themselves. Vreugdenhil describes a time when one of their cars saved an employee’s life during a test drive. The employee was operating a vehicle in “guardian angel mode,” a situation where the driver drives the car, but if the vehicle senses danger, it responds. “It saved her from getting T-boned by another vehicle in an intersection,” he says.

Vreugdenhil believes transparency about the self-driving technology NVIDIA develops is just as important as safety. “Talking about technology wholistically—asking how we can be responsible in talking to our customers, being clear about the limitations of a technology, and being clear about what we do and do not know about the software—is a fundamental part of acting responsibly as a Christian in a technological area.”

Vreugdenhil is humble, calling his life path “normal,” and “nothing exceptional.” Except it is. His vocation lives at the crossroads of faith, invention, innovation, and change. “It’s extraordinarily complicated work,” Vreugdenhil admits, “but there’s a lot of value in it.”

“ Technology is not the god.
Technology is not what saves us.”

Building Better Communities Through Theater

Catherine Hanna Schrock ’01 Sociology Co-founder and director of programs, Imagine San Diego, California

Catherine Hanna Schrock ’01 stands before a room of students with a small cast of professional actors by her side.



“We’ve put our toys away because it’s time to tell you a story. For now, sit back, relax, enjoy, but don’t get too comfortable. Because when I say when, we’ll ask you to play again.”

She uses the chant to cue her audience: today, they’re more than an audience— they’re about to become participants, too.

Schrock is the co-founder of Imagine, an applied theater company she started in 2021 with her husband, Peter. Her work helps groups and organizations of all ages create new ways of being together, through theater. She runs Imagine’s community programs, develops content—including scripts, lesson plans, and workshop experiences—and packages that content for others to be able to teach it, too.

Schrock’s work sits close to her heart. Her family immigrated to the United States from Egypt, and she moved around a lot as a kid. Growing up, she experienced feeling like she was on the margins of community spaces. Then a counselor at a new school suggested

she take an acting elective, and the rest is history. “I fell in love with the craft and felt the impact of how it was transforming me as a person,” she says.

At Calvin, she joined the theater company while majoring in sociology and minoring in social work and international relations. And it was at Calvin where she began thinking of ways to intersect her two passions—theater and social justice.

Post-Calvin, Schrock taught and worked in community development in locations such as Chicago, Honduras, East Africa, and the Middle East. Earning a master’s degree in applied theater from New York University finally brought her two interests into harmony. There she studied theater forms “designed to be responsive to the world and to society and to offer a transformational quality in some way.”

Today, Schrock specializes in Forum Theatre, a form that invites audiences to participate in solving a difficult conflict through role play. Since 2018, she has been taking “Safa’s Story,” a short play about bullying prevention, into San Diego schools. Safa’s character is based on a former student of Schrock’s and shows a real-life conflict that ends tragically.

After the initial performance, Schrock invites students to rewrite the story in order to change its outcome, asking kids to identify the first moment they see something go wrong. The play starts again, but this time students stop the action, share ideas, and replace actors on stage, something that allows them to practice advocating for themselves or others in what Schrock calls “safe, brave spaces.”

“We see miracles happen. Truly. Kids’ beautiful warrior spirits are activated when they say, ‘We are not okay with how Safa is being treated,’” Schrock says.

Also notable is Imagine’s ongoing partnership with the city of San Diego. The organization serves as an engagement partner helping the city’s leaders create new ways of being together, whether breaking down standard practices of holding meetings, becoming more welcoming, or practicing non-violent ways of communication. “A lot of city conversations can feel hard for people,” Schrock says. “We try to create ways of being together that are disarming, inviting.”

Schrock believes the role of the artist is to do more than entertain. “Artists have the tools to both energize the community and criticize, bringing to light the question of what are we missing? Who are we missing? And how can we evaluate our shortcomings and do better?”

At the end of “Safa’s Story,” Schrock extends an open-ended invitation. “Would you believe that every day, you have a choice? You can use your voice, just like you did today, to say, ‘Things don’t have to end up this way.’”

Today, she’s planted a seed in her young audience—the knowledge that small, brave acts of advocacy make a meaningful difference in their world.

“Artists have the tools to both energize the community and criticize, bringing to light the question of what are we missing? Who are we missing? And how can we evaluate our shortcomings and do better?”

Family, Faith, and Stewardship

Tony Brookhouse ’89 and Denise Koopman Brookhouse ’91 (with Doris Hiskes Koopman ’61 and Donald Koopman ’59) Business and Accounting
Chief financial officer and chief operations officer, Koopman Lumber Whitinsville, Massachusetts

It’s 8 a.m. on a spring morning and Koopman Lumber in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, is alive with activity. Contractors pick up orders, professional painters and DIYers line up at the paint counter, and early morning shoppers browse the greenhouse and store aisles. The property, which sits near the center of town, includes a large barn stocked with building materials, a seasonal garden center, a kitchen and bath design showroom, and a store that sells everything from all-natural cleaning supplies to lawn care products.

Since 1939, four generations of the Koopman family have supplied residents and contractors of Massachusetts with lumber and home improvement products. Now led by chief financial officer Denise Koopman Brookhouse ’91, chief operations officer Tony Brookhouse ’89, and CEO Dirk Koopman, the company boasts 12 locations and is the largest independently owned lumberyard in Massachusetts.

Koopman Lumber started in Denise’s grandfather Peter Koopman’s home. As a contractor, he stockpiled supplies he needed for the business, storing them in his basement and garage. He set up a bell outside the garage, so locals could come to the house and buy from his personal stores for their own projects. Peter’s wife, Hendrika, at home with five children, would answer the bell and help patrons find what they needed. Koopman opened his first store and lumberyard one street from his house with the help of a friend during World War II. Local men returning from the war found gainful employment at the new business in town.

Peter’s son Don ’59 (Denise’s dad) took over the store in 1974, moving from Haledon,

New Jersey, back to his hometown with his wife Doris ’61 and their children. They loved their life in Haledon, but Don wanted to honor his dad and do what he could to bolster the family business that had hit hard times. Under his leadership, he expanded the store’s second location and opened a third.

The Koopmans and Brookhouses say their years at Calvin made an enormous impact on the values they bring to the business. “The biggest thing for me,” says Tony, “was weaving Christian ethics and values through business or political science or whatever lens we were looking through. We’re very proud of Calvin, not only the heritage but the broad, liberal arts education.”

This year the LBM Journal named Koopman Lumber the Lumber Building Materials 2023 Dealer of the Year, a prestigious industry award. It’s a point of family pride precipitated by over eight decades of hard work and Christian values.

“This business is not really ours,” says Denise. “We’re just taking care of it while we’re here.”

Her husband Tony concurs, adding that their family’s motivation for continuing to grow the business in a profitable way is motivated primarily by a shared value—stewardship. “Everyone’s favorite family meeting is the one at the end of the year where we decide what we’re going to tithe and where we’ll tithe.”

The Koopman family is known for its investment in the local community, making generous donations over the years to area churches, healthcare facilities, a community center, and Whitinsville Christian School, where four generations of Koopmans have attended.

When asked what it’s like to run the company as a family, Denise and Tony both smile. Tony cites the tough but rewarding task of earning respect as a newcomer when he and Denise returned to Whitinsville in the mid-90s to raise their family and support the business. Challenges aside, keeping the business in the family has paid off. Over the last five years, Koopman Lumber has doubled in size, at a time when many family-run lumberyards in New England have either consolidated or closed their doors for good.

Denise and Tony say their goal is to stay the course. “Our biggest hope and prayer is that our kids continue the Christian values that Koopman Lumber was founded on. It’s about stewardship. It’s about service,” says Denise. With the fourth generation of family members stepping forward to learn and lead, that hope seems well within reach.

This business is not really ours. We’re just taking care of it while we’re here.”

Understanding the Past, Changing the Future


Self-described “island prof” Vashan Wright ’12 hails from Jamaica. As all kids do, he dreamed of what he would be when he grew up—a teacher, a scientist, or maybe an accountant. By high school, he knew he wanted to study geology and made the decision to pursue his degrees internationally.

He completed the American requirements for high school in Jamaica, graduated early, and headed to Calvin, choosing the university in part because his high school mentor spoke highly of it. But moving from Jamaica to Michigan came with challenges, from long winters to navigating a new culture.

Today, Wright—who holds a PhD in geophysics from Southern Methodist University—studies tectonics, paleoclimate, paleoseismicity, and earthquake-triggered hazards such as landslides, submarine slides, and tsunamis. He is also an assistant professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a guest investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Wright’s professional biography boasts a lengthy and diverse range of research topics, which include studying earthquake and flooding hazards in the Caribbean, researching infrasound signals from North Korean underground nuclear explosions in 2016, and searching for liquid water and ice in Mars’ subsurface. He primarily conducts

his research using lab experiments, field observations, and theoretical modeling with computers.

Wright hopes what he learns about both Earth and Mars will shape the future of how humans care for and adapt to an ever-changing world. “Discovering what happened in the past and developing a theory for what we see and observe in nature helps scientists make predictions about what may happen in the future,” explains Wright, using a few examples to illustrate his point. “Mars is a planet that has a water cycle not impacted by human activity and studying it helps us better understand water cycles in general. Or identifying faults and their sizes, as well as knowing what size earthquakes the faults created in the past, helps engineers develop probabilistic ground shaking maps or update building codes.”

Thinking about the impact of his life’s work has roots in Wright’s Calvin experience. Though he encountered challenges, such as experiencing first-hand the way racism impacts People of Color, he also lauds his undergraduate experience in other ways.

“I like the approach Calvin had to developing students’ minds. Some of the theological approaches to thinking about goodness, ethics, and philosophical approaches to life were particularly enlightening, regardless of what you believe. And I think that’s the thing I value most about my Calvin education.”

Wright also appreciated not having to “choose between religion and science.” Instead, he describes a more nuanced process of being challenged by what he learned.

“The scientific endeavor and the trust we have in the observations make me think about a reckoning and wrestling that needs to happen with the ideas of faith and science. While I was at Calvin, there were things I didn’t know before that had to be wrestled with and put into context. A Calvin professor was the first to tell me about the multiverse, for example. We learned about evolution in geology and biology classes. That’s where there is need for wrestling with the ideas and placing them within a consistent framework.”

Wright’s commitment to values such as fairness, goodness, and truth also informs his advocacy for equity, justice, and belonging in the sciences. He is the founder of Unlearning Racism in Geoscience, or URGE (, an initiative that partners with geoscientists in universities, federal agencies, and industry to draft new anti-racist policies that institutions can adopt. The work is not easy, but Wright is unflinching in his commitment to challenge the status quo to improve equity in his professional field and beyond.

“The scientific endeavor and the trust we have in the observations make me think about a reckoning and wrestling that needs to happen with the ideas of faith and science.”


We would love to see you at upcoming alumni and university events.

Homecoming & Family Weekend

Sept. 29–30, 2023

Calvin Classic 5k & Youth Fun Run

Sept. 30, 2023

Oratorio Society: Handel’s Messiah

Dec. 1 & 2, 2023

January Series

Jan. 15–Feb. 2, 2024

Symposium on Worship

Feb. 7–9, 2024

Festival of Faith & Writing

April 11–13, 2024

Class of 1974 50-year Reunion

May 3–4, 2024


Our alumni tours are open to all— invite a friend to join you.

New Zealand

March 15–27, 2024

Hosts: Debra Freeberg, Janel Curry

Spend 12 days exploring the geological splendor and Māori culture of New Zealand. Highlights include Auckland, Tauranga, Hobbiton of Lord of the Rings, Wellington, Christchurch, and more.

Rhine River Cruise

May 21–June 2, 2024

Host: Ken Bratt

The Wilds of Alaska

June 12–22, 2024

Host: Gerry Van Kooten


October 8–23, 2024

Host: Don DeGraaf

Learn more about these travel opportunities at


During Commencement weekend, the Class of 1973 gathered on campus to celebrate their 50-year reunion and receive recognition for this milestone during a medallion ceremony. During the two-day event, these alumni saw the latest changes on campus, toured the new School of Business, and reconnected with each other. Karen Snapper Weaver ’73 and Nick Kroeze ’73 led a fantastic dinner program, taking their class members down memory lane and reminiscing about their time at Calvin. Alumni also participated in the campuswide worship service with the Class of 2023 and were honored during Commencement.

Front row (left to right): Trudy Konynenbelt Bulthuis, Janet Olson, Thomas DeKraker, Judy Holwerda Paxton, David Timmer, Patricia Duthler, Faith Oppewal Lane, Barb Masselink Zylstra, Judi Boonstra Kolada, Kristine Galien

Middle row: Steven Dieleman, George Bulthuis, Bruce Buursma, Mark Bulthuis, Dirk Vander Wall, Karen Snapper Weaver, Bruce Van Dop, Bob Mulder, Calvin Sterk, Henry Lane, Mark Hoekman, Corrie Tuyl

Back row: Diane Vandenberg Noorman, Donna Kuiper Dykstra, Lenore Poppe, Melanie De Stigter Pentecost, Peter Vander Meulen, Janna Doesburg Zeilstra, Pete Land, Evert Van Der Heide, Nicholas Kroeze, Duane Kelderman, Jack Ippel, Rob Bosscher, Gayle Ver Hoef Bosscher, Gaylen Byker, Sharon VanHaitsma Bytwerk


More on these events and others

Classics professor emeritus Ken Bratt guided a group of alumni and friends around Greece on a two-week trip. The group saw the classical monuments of Athens and Delphi; visited Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Corinth, and Ephesus; took an Aegean cruise to several islands; and explored the major cities and vibrant culture of modern Greece.



President Wiebe Boer continued to meet with Calvin grads across the globe. Over the last 12 months, he traveled to an average of two alumni events each month, connecting with Calvin grads at 23 events! His most recent trips included Surrey, British Columbia; Lynden, Washington; Jakarta, Indonesia; Royal Oak, Michigan; Hamilton, Ontario; and Seoul, South Korea. At each stop, he provided updates on the university and his first year as Calvin’s president.


Every year, the alumni association welcomes soon-to-begrads with a party the day before Commencement. This year, more than 800 students graduated with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from Calvin. To celebrate, members of the Class of 2023 enjoyed snacks, photo spots, and a small gift before heading into formal festivities with family.

Jakarta, Indonesia Royal Oak, Michigan Seoul, South Korea





Kathy De Mey 24 years Hekman Library

Adjunct professor Marlys Admiraal began teaching Written Rhetoric at Calvin in 1970. The longest-serving instructor at Calvin, she is widely known as a professor dedicated to both her students and subject area. Former students remember her for her excellent teaching and thorough feedback.

Leonard Van Drunen 18 years Business Michelle Loyd-Paige 38.5 years Sociology Office of the President Julie Voskuil 23 years Business Richard Plantinga 33 years Religion Gary Schmidt 38 years English Marlys Admiraal 52 years English


Spark readers: This section emphasizes Calvin graduates’ service, vocational, and reunion stories, along with “In Memoriam” notices. Send us news of your promotions, achievements, recognitions, and other announcements at Photos must be 300 dpi or approximately 1MB or greater in size.

The alumni association is also interested in knowing about important family milestones such as marriages and newcomers. Please send that news to



(graduated more than 50 years ago)


Three generations of Calvin Knights enjoyed a men’s basketball game during a William Spoelhof Society event held in the Van Noord Arena hospitality suite. Pictured from left to right are David DeKruyter ’89, Gordon DeKruyter ’56, and Peter DeKruyter ’26. Father and son Gordon and David are both members of the William Spoelhof Society.


The United States Department of Energy awarded James Van Dam ’70 a Distinguished Career Service Award for leadership, devotion to his field, and the development of the first longrange strategic plan for the Fusion Energy Sciences Program. Van Dam served five years of his 11-year tenure as head of the US Fusion Energy Sciences Research and Development Program. In October 2022, Van Dam and his wife Hikari Fujii Van Dam ’70, a violin teacher, both retired and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


03 After serving the City of Holland Council for 10 years, Nancy Bushhouse DeBoer ’76 became the first female mayor of Holland for two terms. In November 2022, DeBoer was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives; she serves the Greater Holland Area, District 86.

04 Peter Szto ’77 was a 2022 Fulbright Scholar in Singapore, where he spent 4.5 months teaching a social work mental health course at the National University of Singapore and conducted a visual study on Singapore’s “hidden youth,” teens who self-isolate for years in their homes.


05 Paul Heule ’85 received the Order of Oranje Nassau from the King of Netherlands, a distinction similar to being knighted. He was recognized for his work as west Michigan’s Honorary Consul, promoting economic and trade relations between the Netherlands and the U.S., especially within the west Michigan region.

06 Water Street Studios in Batavia, Illinois, hosted an art exhibit by Tim Lowly ’81 between May 11 and June 4, 2023. The exhibition was the largest Lowly has offered in the Chicago area and the first to focus on collaborative and participatory projects he has done over the years that focus on his daughter Temma, who has cerebral palsy with spastic quadriplegia.

James Postema ’82 is the 2022 recipient of the Ole and Lucy Flaat Award for Inclusive Excellence; these awards are among the highest honors given to faculty at Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minnesota. After creating and teaching a course on Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) and Dakota/ Lakota texts and cultures for 30 years, Postema is coordinating Concordia’s partnership in a project sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, working with a group of Native American community leaders in the twin cities of Moorhead and Fargo, North Dakota. The project’s goal, chosen by the community leaders, is to ameliorate the effects of enforced attendance of many Native people at boarding schools from the 1880s–1950s. The grant members are

05 06
01 04 02 03

doing reparative and educational work to address generational trauma caused by the schools.

07 Gretchen Byker VanHeukelum ’81, Linda Waterway Olthoff ’80, Suzann Schreur VanKlompenberg ’81, and Denise VandenBosch VanderLugt ex’78, who, 45 years ago, shared a suite on the first floor of Noordewier, reunited to travel to France together. During the trip, Linda Waterway Olthoff ’80 and Jim Olthoff ’80 gifted the group with their immense knowledge and expertise on all things Paris.


08 In the spring of 2023, far-flung former housemates and friends reunited in New Orleans, a city where many of their post-Calvin lives took shape. Pictured from left to right are Andrew Laughlin ’97 from Ashville, North Carolina; Tami VandenBerg ’97 from Grand Rapids, Michigan; Greg De Vries ’98 from Essex, Vermont; and Ben Hoksbergen ’97 from Huntsville, Alabama. (Not pictured, Ben Calsbeek ’98, from Grand Cayman, West Indies.)

09 Grand Valley State University physical therapy professors Michael Shoemaker ’96 and Barb Rottman Hoogenboom ’83 celebrated the largest number of Calvin alumni graduating from the GVSU Doctor of Physical Therapy program in a single cohort.

Pictured from left to right are Madeline Wieber ’20, Lauren Schwarz ’19, Prof. Hoogenboom, Prof. Shoemaker, Michelle Koetje ’20, and Alex Bosch ’20

In August 2022, Robert Evan VandePolder ’92 was featured on the front page of the Longboat Observer for his 30 years of service as an associate of Publix in Longboat Key, Florida. VandePolder was recognized for his excellent and friendly service and for consistently prioritizing his customers.


The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has named Nathan Carpenter ’04 the inaugural director of the college’s new social media listening lab. As director, Carpenter leads the lab’s operations, facilitates research, and develops external partnerships around social media listening and engagement, among other key responsibilities. Prior to this role, Carpenter served as the director of Convergent Media for the School of Communication at Illinois State University, where he created and directed the university’s Social Media Analytics Command Center.

Denise Dykstra ’06 has been recognized with a 2022 Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education at Rutgers University for her teaching in the philosophy department.

10 E. Chloe Lauer ’01, who runs her own urban planning consultancy firm in San Diego, California, has won a Woman of Impact in Activism award from California assembly member Tasha Boerner for her many advocacy projects in the city. Lauer is the co-producer of the Bay to Park Paseo project, a volunteer-led effort to create an inspiring pedestrian experience between the Bayfront and Balboa Park. She has also been advocating for freeway lids over the I-5 freeway to reconnect urban communities. In 2022, she co-founded Walk N Roll San Diego (@walknrollsd), a non-profit organization committed to “remaking the city’s streets into safe and inspiring places for all people, whether they walk, bike, roll, or use transit.”

Community ecologist Rachel Vanette ’06, an associate professor at the University of California Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has been selected as a Chancellor’s Fellow, a five-year title. Vanette is among 13 faculty members chosen to receive the honor, which includes $25,000 in unrestricted funds for research or other scholarly activities. She is a leader in microbial ecology who studies interactions between plants, insects, and microbes.


07 09 08 10 CLASS NOTES 11 40
11 Deborah Ramamoorthy ’10 and husband Ben Vander Plas ’11 live and

work in Tena, Ecuador—a small part of the Amazon Rainforest. They recently launched the non-profit TandanAgua, a public health initiative dedicated to improving the health of Ecuadorian indigenous communities through access to clean water. They hope to promote sustainable access to locally produced, affordable household water filters across the Amazon region of Ecuador. Programming is focused on community empowerment, health education, and innovative market-based solutions. They combine Vander Plas’ background in environmental engineering with Ramamoorthy’s experience in health and nutrition to better the lives of populations in low-resource, rural communities in the region where they live. They can be found at


12 Rebekah Baas ’21 has been deputized and sworn in as the deputy court clerk for the criminal division of the Milwaukee County Court. She is responsible for felony, misdemeanor, and traffic cases resulting from violations of state law or Milwaukee County ordinances, as well as jury trial and municipal appeal requests from the 19 municipal courts located throughout Milwaukee County.

Lifelong Impact

Calvin alumna Dr. Ann Janssen Noteboom ’46 recently celebrated her 100th birthday. As both an alum and former professor, she has seen Calvin through many seasons of change. For her milestone birthday, friends, family, and community members gathered to celebrate her life and accomplishments.

Noteboom was born and spent her formative years in Steamboat Rock, Iowa. After completing a two-year teaching program at Central College in Pella, Iowa, she began a career in education, becoming the principal of a small school in Fulton, Illinois, at just 19 years old.

Noteboom went on to complete her bachelor’s degree at Calvin and a master’s degree at Northwestern University. After teaching at several Christian secondary schools in Illinois, New Jersey, and Indiana, she was sought out by Calvin to teach English and speech (now oral rhetoric). It was the mid-1940s, and servicemembers were returning from war and enrolling in universities, accessing higher education through the GI Bill.

To this day, Noteboom remains passionate about her learning experiences with students. “We learned how to make literature, the audience, and ourselves, one,” she recalls. “Becoming one with the message—that’s teaching speech.”

One of Noteboom’s greatest personal accom-

plishments was earning her doctorate. With it she made a place for herself on Calvin’s faculty.

“I could tell right away when I came to Calvin with a master’s, and I saw all those men and no women, that I had to be an equal,” Noteboom says. “So, during my summers, I was at Northwestern University. I knew I had to have that [doctorate], too. Just to be on that faculty.”

For 35 years, Noteboom held a distinguished place as a member of the Calvin faculty. She retired in the late 1980s and continued her legacy with a named scholarship she set up with her husband, William, for students showing promise in oral rhetoric.

Noteboom loved her work and the ways she was able to impact students. She is still known for the heartfelt scripture readings she gave at church and her individualized approaches to student learning.

Though she worked hard for her many accomplishments, Noteboom credits the Lord for the successes she enjoyed along the way. “Things that happened to me came as surprises. I often was in prayer asking for what was necessary. Many times, I didn’t know what was necessary or I hadn’t set the goal, but it came to me as a surprise.” Her frequent delight in God’s plan for her life stems from a continued trust in his ongoing providence.

Alumna and former Calvin faculty Dr. Ann Janssen Noteboom on her 100th birthday

Growing Flowers and Equity in City Green Spaces

Visit the parks or downtown corridor of Holland, Michigan, during spring, summer, or fall and chances are you’ll witness the visual artistry of city greenhouse specialist Emily Van Staalduinen Barnes ’17. Barnes, who is “in charge of all things flowers,” operates the city’s state-of-the-art greenhouse, raises flowers for the city’s parks—including the famed tulips of Tulip Time, and designs and oversees planting in the downtown parks and downtown corridor. It’s a year-round endeavor, from seed to flower and back again.

Originally from the Chicago area, Barnes says she chose Calvin because it was one of the few universities where she could double major in art and biology and still graduate in four years. “People used to say, ‘What a weird combination. What will you do with that?’” While she wasn’t entirely sure, her work in the science building greenhouse and

a concentration in botanical art linked the seemingly disparate disciplines.

As part of her job, Barnes occasionally holds local talks and tours for civic groups such as the Holland Horticulture Club, Hope Academy of Senior Professionals, and the Women’s Literary Club. She enjoys talking about the intersection of art and biology and how she marries the two disciplines in her current role.

At Calvin, Barnes’ advisor, Professor Dave Warners, introduced her to the public health benefits of community green spaces. “We were created to be in nature and need to be in nature to flourish. We all need beauty to feel good and to have places to gather. It brings an aspect to the soul that we were created to crave,” she says.

As the city of Holland experiences a period of

rapid growth, Barnes’ passion to increase accessibility to Holland’s 23 parks has grown. She wants to be intentional about how to use limited space, where to invest resources, and how to beautify all the city’s parks, not just the ones downtown.

“I want to make sure our parks are inclusive, welcoming spaces for all people so people of all backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities can enjoy them.”

Realizing that deep hope in her adopted city requires a unique mix of vision and plant knowledge. Whether organizing fall cleanup, placing winter seed orders, sketching new designs, or spending a Saturday morning in the greenhouse watering young plants with her one-year-old son, Roland, Barnes brings her diverse skill set to making Holland a place everyone can enjoy.

The city of Holland’s greenhouse specialist Emily Van Staalduinen Barnes prepares annuals for planting downtown.
Photo credit: Kristin Kirsch
BOOKS BY CALVIN ALUMNI AND PROFESSORS 06 07 08 09 11 12 14 13 01 A Short History of the National Parks: The Southeast Will De Man ’21 Self-published 02 Calvinists and Indians in the Northeastern Woodlands Stephen T. Staggs ’94 Amsterdam University Press 03 The Canadian Guide to Creative Writing and Publishing Patricia Westerhof ’85 Dundurn Press 04 Chasing God’s Glory Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young ’99, illustrated by Alyssa de Asis WaterBrook 05 Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and Promise James H. Olthuis ’60 Wipf and Stock 03 04 05 10 15 02 01 06 Followership: Faithful Following in an Age of Confusion Steven R. Timmermans ’79 Wipf and Stock 07 Grand Rapids Walking Tours Kids Can Lead Tom Mulder ’82 Scribe Publishing
Lent Through the Little Things: Encountering Jesus in Life’s Ordinary Moments Linda Kingma Hanstra ’85 MiWoods Press
to Awkward
tions and Unifying Dialogue in the Church Todd Pheifer ’94 Credo House Publishers
Classroom Practice Kathy
Fifer Teachers College Press
Talk! A Guide
10 Making Schools Work: Bringing the Science of Learning to Joyful
Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick
Kimberly Nesbitt, Carol Jasperse
’81, Elias Blinkoff, Ginger
Love and Courage Lois
Deep River Books
11 Marv Taking Charge: A Story of Bold
12 Momma Knows Best
and Writing InterVarsity Press
13 Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape Our Faith
L. Holberg, professor of English and co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith
Third Culture
14 Sky, the Deaf Home Run Hero
Carolan ’03
Workplace Pam
15 Speak Up or Stay Stuck: Get Your Voice Heard When Fast and Forced Change Happens in the

Former Sigma 5 roommates held a reunion in Ouray, Colorado, in August 2022.

From left to right: Scott Enserink ’87, Alan Stout ’87, Mike Kelly ’87, Shareen Buys Kelly ’87, Dirk Van Til ’87, Connie Bilthouse Van Til ’81, and Joe Gibes ’87

(Attended virtually: Andy Kalt ’89)

These former housemates met in Ft. Lauderdale in January 2023, to enjoy a long weekend together.

From left to right: Lisa Meiste Stoepker ’07, Laura Boersma Visker ’07, Rachel Knol Van Wylen ’07, Tracy Systma Claypool ’07, Alyssa Elenbaas DeMaagd ’07, Lindsey Klooster Lindemulder ’07


Planning to get together with four or more Calvin alumni roommates, teammates, or friends this fall? Request a “Reunion in a Box” kit from reunion-box for your party!

Fellow nurses and Calvin alumni held a reunion in January 2023.

Back row, from left to right: Aimee VanSloten Rice ’04, Sheri Meeuwsen Hunderman ’04, Stacey Lambert Nagelkirk ’04

Front row, from left to right: Laurel Wallinga Van Dyke ’05, Jodie Koops Gritter ’04


On February 18, 2023, alumni gathered in Malaysia. The group enjoyed getting to know one other and sharing stories from their Calvin days.

Back and middle rows from left to right:

Sarah Wong ’11, Angel Guerrero ’09, David Tan ’09, Rebecca Chia ’16, Hwok-Chuen Lee ’09, Dorothy Lee ’03, Rachel Guerrero ’12, Jen Lyn Sin ’18, Jen-Li Sin ’16

Front row:

Shen Yen Leong ’14, Tabitha Lim ’12 (on screen), Lemuel Ong ’18

Former 1970–71 Veenstra suitemates met in Texas for a reunion. This photo was taken at Hays Bridge in San Antonio on April 22, 2023.

From left to right:

Barb Meyer Hartgerink ’74, Deb Pranger Reitsema ex’72, Jo Lenters VanderWal ’74, Mary Brune VanDyk ’72, Cindy Medema-Hook ex’71

Longtime Calvin buddies reconnected in Atlanta in May 2023. From left to right: Jeff Haverdink ’97, Glenn Carlson ’97, Thomas Storteboom ’97, Troy Van Orman ’98, Casey Kuperus ’97



(graduated more than 50 years ago)

Frances Gesink Baker ’57

Jan. 15, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Carl Balk ’67

Jan. 30, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Betty Vander Beek Ballast ’67

May 3, 2023, Grandville, Mich.

Derke Bergsma ’51

Nov. 17, 2020, Tinley Park, Ill.

Johan Betten ex’58

March 30, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Joanne Zondervan Boer ’60

March 28, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Florence Moes Bolhuis ex’44

Nov. 28, 2022, Pinckney, Mich.

Abraham Bos ’55

Feb. 3, 2023, Sioux Center, Iowa

Kay Bosgraaf ex’63

Nov. 10, 2022, Durham, N.C.

Kathleen Joling Bushen ’75

Jan. 21, 2023, Fremont, Mich.

Sharon Dolfin Bylsma ’70

Nov. 24, 2022, Newaygo, Mich.

Robert Cooper ex’50

March 12, 2022, Nampa, Idaho

Norman Curtiss ex’66

April 27, 2023, Caledonia, Mich.

Howard De Glopper ex’49

Nov. 11, 2022, Spring Lake, Mich.

James De Haan ex’60

July 16, 2022, Brookfield, Wis.

Shirley Lonkhorst De Joode ex’50

March 10, 2022, Salida, Calif.

Sidney De Waal ’57

Jan. 1, 2023, Laredo, Texas

John Dekker ex’50

July 3, 2020, Englewood, Colo.

Beth Vander Mey Dertien ’72

April 26, 2023, San Diego, Calif.

Eugene Dornbush ’55

Feb. 3, 2023, Zeeland, Mich.

Eva De Kok Dow ’62

Jan. 29, 2023, San Antonio, Texas

David Engels ’65

Jan. 28, 2023, Walker, Mich.

Charles Ezinga ex’60

Feb. 2, 2023, Kentwood, Mich.

Donald Feyen ’71

March 3, 2022, Grandville, Mich.

Lois DeWind Galema ’48

Feb. 2, 2023, Oskaloosa, Iowa

Marvin Gortsema ex’55

Jan. 26, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Margaret Vander Vate Hamilton ’63

Nov. 27, 2022, Ontario, Calif.

Charles Hamstra ’60

April 28, 2023, Bloomington, Ind.

Lois Poppen Hannink ’48

April 10, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dennis Hassing ’69

Feb. 13, 2023, Southern Pines, N.C.

George Hiemstra ’52

April 10, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.

Gerald Horstman ’56

Jan. 27, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Wayne Hubers ’59

Feb. 22, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jakob “Jack” Jagt ’69

Jan. 18, 2023, Nepean, Ont., Canada

Elaine McKellar Jasperse ex’63

July 26, 2022, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

Corrine Kass ’50

April 23, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, 1976

Sandra Bierens Keizer ’67

April 24, 2023, Kentwood, Mich.

Elizabeth Meyering Klaassens ’52

Dec. 25, 2022, Elmhurst, Ill.

Donald Koeze ex’46

Dec. 22, 2022, Pinehurst, N.C.

Carol Huizenga Kok ex’51

Oct. 27, 2020, Randolph, Wis.

John Kok ex’49

May 21, 2022, Edwards, Calif.

Linda Vanderkooi Kredit ’63

April 22, 2023, Lynden, Wash.

Joan De Jonge Laarman ’71

April 2, 2023, Niagara, Wis.

Robert Lamberts ’49

Jan. 25, 2023, Fairport, N.Y.

John Leegwater ’63

Feb. 19, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ruth Hommes Lobbes ’60

April 18, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Martha “Marcia” DeRyke Luy ’53

Feb. 11, 2021, Richmond, Ky.

Joyce Van Dyke Masselink ’62

Dec. 29, 2022, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Trena Hartog Meeter ex’48

Dec. 16, 2022, Wyckoff, N.J.

Mary Heynen Mellema ex’65

Jan. 1, 2023, Pasadena, Calif.

Alvin Menninga ’56

Jan. 16, 2023, Stoughton, Wis.

Thomas Meyer ’72

April 30, 2023, Alto, Mich.

Howard Meyers ex’50

March 18, 2021, Meridian, Idaho

Lois Aldrich Moore ’49

April 22, 2021, Lawrence, Mich.

Arthur Mulder ex’52

Nov. 5, 2020, Byron Center, Mich.

Gertrude Tolsma Mulder ex’51

Nov. 2, 2022, Byron Center, Mich.

Arlene De Jong Nichols ’61

Feb. 10, 2023, Vacaville, Calif.

Curtiss Nyenhuis ex’50

Nov. 21, 2020, Oostburg, Wis.

Del Nykamp ’65

March 11, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mary Stremler Oordt ex’58

Dec. 29, 2022, Lethbridge, Alta., Canada

Cornelius Pastoor ex’53

Jan. 10, 2022, Jenison, Mich.

Thomas Penning ’71

May 14, 2022, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Glenn Petroelje ex’50

May 21, 2020, Holland, Mich.

Marilyn Vos Piebenga ex’48

Oct. 24, 2021, Wayland, Mich.

Raymond Potts ’50

Feb. 19, 2021, Jenison, Mich.

Miriam Smith Rasmussen ex’50

Feb. 15, 2021, Petoskey, Mich.

Frances Gelderloos Rosema ’57

Jan. 22, 2023, Cape Coral, Fla.


Luke Schaap ’53

Feb. 28, 2023, Homer Glen, Ill.

Shirley Vanderwall Schuil ex’50

March 2, 2020, Visalia, Calif.

Norma Kalawart Solle ex’50

Feb. 1, 2023, Grandville, Mich.

Lois Volkers Stegink ex’48

March 4, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Arline Griffioen Stoepker ex’50

Dec. 31, 2020, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jack Stoepker ’51

Oct. 11, 2022, Grand Rapids, Mich.

William Talen ’48

Feb. 26, 2023, Northfield, Minn.

Arlene Schutt Tenckinck ex’63

Feb. 6, 2023, Bedminster, N.J.

John Ulferts ’63

April 19, 2021, Tacoma, Wash.

Benita Van Andel-Vandermey ’72

Jan. 8, 2020, Surrey, B.C., Canada

Martin Van Dyke ’50

Jan. 4, 2022, Denver, Colo.

Ruth Bult Van Dyke ex’49

March 1, 2022, Denver, Colo.

Harold Van Eerden ’72

Feb. 26, 2023, West Olive, Mich.

Clarence Van Englehoven ’59

April 6, 2023, Marion, Iowa

Lester Van Essen ’57

Jan. 15, 2023, Caledonia, Mich.

Dale Van Kley ’63

March 14, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Theodore Van Loo ex’57

Feb. 21, 2022, Belding, Mich.

Gerald Vander Velde ex’54

April 10, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Henry Vander Zyden ex’48

April 3, 2022, Wellsburg, Iowa

Lowell VanDeRiet ’58

March 2, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Wilma Tamminga Vanleeuwen ex’50

May 4, 2020, Riverview, Fla.

Lawrence Veenstra ’53

March 14, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

James Veltman ’62

Aug. 28, 2021, Conroe, Texas

John Venhuizen ex’70

March 10, 2023, Manhattan, Mont.

James Ver Meer ex’58

Jan. 31, 2023, Pella, Iowa

Marjorie Schaap Verbeek ’51

Nov. 9, 2020, South Holland, Ill.

Edna Puite Verkaik ’51

May 22, 2020, Hudsonville, Mich.

Albert Visbeen ex’50

March 9, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Warren Waalkes ’54

March 24, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Alberta Dykstra Walcott ex’49

March 10, 2020, Mesa, Ariz.

Gordon Werkema ex’57

March 26, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Grace Buma Westra ex’53

May 22, 2022, Fort Valley, Ga.

Abraham Willems ’51

Dec. 26, 2020, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Jennie Vander Linden Wilting ex’48

Jan. 5, 2022, Edmonton, Alta., Canada

Rhea VanTongeren Zandee ex’59

Feb. 7, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Carol Fridsma Zuidema ex’52

April 22, 2023, Grosse Point Park, Mich.


Barbara Blok Cumming ’78

March 8, 2023, Marietta, Ga.

Adrienne Krol De Nooyer ’78

Feb. 16, 2023, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Jack Gezon ex’76

April 1, 2023, Kentwood, Mich.

Stuart Hoffman ’77

Jan. 11, 2023, McLean, Va.

Cornelius Pool ’74

Jan. 22, 2023, Riverside, Calif.

Ronald Steenwyk ’77

April 12, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Pamela Sanderson Van Lopik ’78

Oct. 25, 2022, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Doreen Bonnema Gunnink ’80

March 12, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

James Klingenberg ’88

April 3, 2023, Vassar, Mich.

Kristen Postma Rietkerk ’89

March 11, 2023, Escondido, Calif.

Diane Klaver Steffens ex’83

Oct. 11, 2022, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Lori Meter Weesies ’83

April 30, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.


Jeffrey Steiginga ’96

Dec. 29, 2022, North Haledon, N.J.


Rebecca Hiemstra ’12

March 19, 2023, Ann Arbor, Mich.


As a longtime advocate for children with disabilities, Corrine Kass ’50 was widely recognized as a leader in the field of special education. She served two tenures at Calvin: first in the education department and later as the dean of academic administration and dean of graduate studies. Kass died on April 23; she was 96.

Kass’ initial tenure as a professor at Calvin was in the mid-1960s, just as special education was beginning to garner national attention and support. She taught the first course at Calvin about exceptional children before leaving for posts at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. and in the special education department at the University of Arizona.

During these years, Kass was recognized for her numerous contributions, including honors from the Association for Children with Disabilities for her distinguished government service, the International Federation of Learning Disabilities for her international leadership, and the Arizona Federation of the Council for Exceptional Children as Special Education Teacher of the Year.

She was also honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Michigan and Calvin University.

She returned to Calvin in 1980 to direct Calvin’s new graduate program in learning disabilities.

Former colleague Tom Hoeksema said Kass had an effective, no-nonsense approach to teaching.

“Direct, possessing strong opinions, and action-focused, Corrine was a catalyst in the teacher education program and as director of graduate studies,” said Hoeksema. “Behind her ‘don’t mess with me’ exterior was a brilliant mind devoted to children and their well-being.”

Kass retired from Calvin in 1992, but she volunteered generously, tutoring scores of at-risk children in a program hosted by her church. She maintained ties with her alma mater through the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL), both as a learner and leader, and served on the board for six years, including three years as vice president and president; during that time, she helped grow CALL to more than 2,000 members.

Kass will be lovingly remembered by the Calvin community and her numerous nieces and nephews to whom she served as a mentor and friend.

CORRINE KASS | 1927–2023 48


Every student at Calvin University is telling a story. Collectively, their stories make up Calvin’s story.

Your support fills the gap where tuition dollars stop and allows the university to respond to the needs of our students with thoughtfulness and flexibility.

Save the date for the dorm challenge: September 25–29!

Donate to the annual fund and help students thrive at 49




SEPTEMBER 29–30, 2023

Calvin Classic registration is open!

On-campus 5K race

On-campus youth fun run (ages 3–9)

Virtual 5K or fun run

Sign up at

Plus, don’t miss these other events for alumni and families throughout the weekend:

Women’s volleyball vs. St. Mary’s

SAO concert: Gable Price and Friends

D1, D3, and alumni hockey games

Maroon & Gold football scrimmage

Calvin Music Festival

View the full event schedule at

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