Spark Spring 2024

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“Keep talking about what you learned this month. Keep reading. Keep learning.

And please keep being curious.”



Did you miss the January Series? You can still watch some of our speakers at

TOP: Pearl Shangkuan conducts a performance of Calvin’s own Capella. During her talk, she reflected on a career that has taken her to six continents. BOTTOM LEFT: Associate professor of religious studies at Stanford and award-winning author Lerone Martin speaks on his book The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism. BOTTOM RIGHT: Joanne Diaz and Abram Van Engen ’03 hosted a live recording of their podcast Poetry For All, with guest Marilyn Nelson, a three-time finalist for the National Book Award and one of America’s most celebrated poets.

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

Spark is published three times a year by the Calvin Alumni Association, office of alumni engagement, Calvin University, 3201 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. ©2024 by the Calvin Alumni Association.

Telephone: 616-526-6142.


Spark on the web:



climbing wall, modeled after Red River Gorge, Kentucky, is among Outdoor Recreation’s many popular programs and activities.
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of Alumni, Calvin
3201 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. CANADIAN POSTMASTER: Publication Mail Agreement No. 40063614. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: CRCNACalvin University, 3475 Mainway, P.O. Box 5070, Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8. SPRING 2024 VOL. 70, NO. 1 10 MAKING CALVIN THEIR OWN Five legacy students share the ways they’re making Calvin their own. 14 ADVENTURE AWAITS
Recreation offers students rich opportunities to explore and learn in the wilderness.
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Editor: Jeff Haverdink ’97

Managing Editor: Sara Korber-DeWeerd ’00

Art Director: Amanda Impens


Colton Credelle ’14

Vicki Dolsen

Ben Carpenter ’25

Contributing Writers:

Sara Korber-DeWeerd ’00

Matt Kucinski HON

Lynn Bolt Rosendale ’85

Contributing Photographers:

Christian Frazier

Ryan Humm

Amanda Impens

Honglei Yang ’25


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.)

Amy Waanders Jeninga ’88 (Brookfield, Wis.)

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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Paralympic athlete Simon Detmer ’22 dreams of building authentic community where all belong. Michelle Huyser ’06 is the first Navajo surgical oncologist in the nation.
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Connecting with Knights in the American Southwest


Although my parents tell me we stopped there briefly on our way home to Michigan during a tour of the American West when I was young, I still cannot summon the memory of my first visit to Rehoboth. It was with fresh eyes, then, that I was blessed to spend a bit of time there during a trip to visit Calvin alumni in the Southwest.

Beyond the incredible beauty of the landscape and the historical connections to these places, I was moved by the incredible work and dedication of Calvin alumni in yet another part of the world.

The trip began with a wonderful alumni event in Phoenix. Then, after a memorable drive through the Arizona mountains in white-out snow conditions, I arrived in Rehoboth, a town that lies just outside of Gallup, New Mexico, amid the Navajo Reservation. Growing up in the Christian Reformed Church, I had known of this place, so it was truly an honor to drive onto this well-known campus again for the “first” time.

I was wonderfully hosted by Rehoboth Christian School’s executive director, Bob Ippel ’81, and high school principal, Dan Meester ’95. To hear them both talk about the deep calling they’ve felt to be a part of this school is humbling, and to see these alumni living out that calling is inspiring.

Bob and Dan are certainly not the only Calvin alumni living out their calling at Rehoboth; it was terrific to meet many other grads there including Emily Jeninga ’16, who told me about her current collaboration with Calvin speech pathology students and their virtual therapy sessions with Rehoboth students.

I also journeyed about an hour south to visit more Calvin grads serving the Zuni people, a vividly different and distinct group of Native Americans. Zuni Christian Mission School and Zuni Christian

Reformed Church are adjoined on slightly more than one acre of land in a community with a highly diverse religious culture.

The tour of Zuni was led by Tim Becksvoort ’97, the principal of Zuni Christian Mission School, and James Zwier ’06, the pastor of Zuni CRC. The experience was extra special for me, as Tim and I have been friends since preschool. Tim, James, and several other alumni gave us a tour and shared their rich understanding of the Zuni culture during our visit. I left with deep respect for their commitment to that community and the work they do there.

In this edition of Spark, you’ll read about Calvin’s Outdoor Recreation program, directed by Ryan Rooks. I met one of Ryan’s former students, Chad Meekhof ’08, in Rehoboth. Chad is now deeply involved with Rehoboth’s renowned outdoor programming, and he and Ryan still actively collaborate on innovative ideas. You’ll also find a profile about Michelle Huyser ’06, the first Navajo surgical oncologist in the nation, who grew up in nearby Window Rock, Arizona, and returned to the Southwest to serve Native American people, among others, in her practice.

Just like my visits with alumni in the Southwest did for me, I hope that, wherever you are, the stories of our fellow Knights in this edition of Spark inspire you and reenergize your own commitments and service in God’s kingdom.



Sid Jansma, Jr. ’65 is the recipient of the 2024 Kuyper Prize, which is awarded annually by Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary. The award, named after Dutch theologian and politician Abraham Kuyper, is awarded to a scholar or community leader whose outstanding contribution to their chosen sphere reflects the ideas and values characteristic of Kuyper’s Neo-Calvinist vision of religious engagement in matters of social, political, and cultural significance in one or more of the spheres of society.

Jansma, an influential business leader, served for more than 40 years as the CEO of Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation, and he is currently chairman of the board. He is also engaged with the local church and various philanthropic activities locally and internationally.

One of the spaces Jansma has invested his time in most heavily is higher education. He spent time serving on the boards of Calvin Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He was instrumental in the vision of the School of Business and played a key role in the creation of the Calvin Prison Initiative (CPI), a leading exemplar for prison education nationwide.

Jansma received the prize during the Kuyper Conference at Calvin in early April.

Dean of the School of Health Adejoke Ayoola and nursing department chairperson Jaclynn Lubbers


In the fall of 2024, Calvin University will launch its latest graduate-level offering, a master of science in nursing.

Over the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 193,100 openings for registered nurses (RN) and 29,100 openings for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) each year— representing a 38% increase in employment during this timeframe.

A recent survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing also reveals another gap in the workforce: about 62% of educational institutions reported vacant full-time positions during the 2022–2023 academic year.

Calvin’s new program is created with working nurses in mind and will prepare them to meet the industry demand and act as agents of renewal, striving for better patient outcomes and higher system standards. There are two tracks: certified nurse educator and certified nurse leader. The flexible online program is designed to be part-time and can be completed within two years. Three-credit classes will be offered every eight weeks.

A total of 37–40 semester hours are required and both tracks include 500 hours of clinical fieldwork.

The Master of Science in Nursing program is currently admitting students for Fall 2024. Learn more at

attended the Academic Nurse Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., in October 2023. Business leader Sid Jansma, Jr. holds a deep commitment to higher education.


In late February 2024, the Calvin University board of trustees appointed Gregory Elzinga ’90 to serve as the university’s interim president following former president Wiebe Boer’s resignation.

Since 2018, Elzinga has served his alma mater, most recently as its vice president for advancement. Prior to Calvin, Elzinga spent a decade as director of global engagement for Partners Worldwide, an international Christian nonprofit focused on ending poverty through economic development.

“Greg has a deep well of skills and experience in and outside of Calvin, as well as an equally deep knowledge and dedication to the institution,” said Bruce Los ’77, chair

of the board of trustees. “In his role as vice president for advancement, Greg has already fully engaged in the day-to-day operations of the university and is well situated to provide effective continuity in leadership while the board conducts a thorough search for the university’s next president.”

Filling Elzinga’s vacated vice-presidential role on an interim basis is senior gift officer Ken Erffmeyer ’86, who served from 2008 to 2021 as Calvin’s vice president for advancement.

The board of trustees is now focused on developing a process for the upcoming presidential search.


Junior Maggie Styf has started something new at Calvin. Styf, who was a competitive ski racer in high school, wanted to continue competing at the collegiate level.

With the help of a couple of professors, administrators, and some peers, Styf and 15 other Calvin students were soon hitting the slopes as members of the Calvin Ski Club.

“At Calvin, you can take your passions, speak them to people, and once people pick up on them, they will help you and guide you through the process of making them a reality,” Styf said. “It was a great experience working as a student in a leadership-oriented role, getting to start something, to figure out the logistics, and working with Calvin and the collegiate ski association.”

In their first season of competition this winter, the club team consistently placed third in both slalom and giant slalom in a conference that includes the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Central Michigan, and Grand Valley State. In a late January competition, the women’s team placed second, trailing only Michigan.

“It’s very exciting the success we’ve had so far,” said Styf. “And I’m excited to see where it goes in the next couple of years.”

Find more campus news at

Gregory Elzinga is appointed interim president as Calvin’s board of trustees begins its search for a new president.
STAY UPDATED Read more news from the Office of the President at 7
The student-led Calvin Ski Club enjoyed its inaugural season.


Alumnus, paralympic athlete, and disability advocate fosters deeper hospitality and inclusion on campus.

Simon Detmer ’22 has always had to advocate for himself so he knew stepping into a role as a college student-athlete with cerebral palsy would be no different.

“When I came to Calvin, I was quite surprised and blessed to find that people were much more receptive than I expected,” Detmer says, “because my other experiences have taught me that many people are resistant to change.”

Detmer came to Calvin because he was looking for a university that would allow an athlete with a disability to train and compete on its teams.

“I met with then head cross country coach Brian Diemer who said to me, ‘Simon, if you come here, we’re going to do incredible things. We’re going to fully integrate you into the team.’

“After meeting with him and [assistant cross country and track and field] Coach Rick Otte, it was a clear sign that I would be headed to Calvin,” Detmer says.

As a three-sport athlete in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field, Detmer quickly made his mark. He qualified for the Junior World Team in para track and field; broke the U.S. national record in the 800 meters in his classification group, T-37; and twice was named MIAA Athlete of the Week. Most recently he competed in the 2023 Parapan American Games, along with former Calvin student Matthew Paintin.

While success on the track continues to be a goal for Detmer, his greater aspiration is to be a voice for people with disabilities.

“I see a future where people with disabilities can come in and be encouraged in all of their experiences at Calvin,” he says, “where they can find friends without being judged.

“America is behind in its thinking about disability,” adds Detmer. “There needs to be a paradigm shift in social culture.”

To help facilitate that change at Calvin, Detmer partnered with the president’s office as a research assistant last year.

“I am passionate about ways that Calvin can be more inclusive, especially in terms of our mission to be agents of renewal,” says Detmer. “I believe we have a responsibility to be more hospitable.”

“I see a future where people with disabilities can come in and be encouraged in all of their experiences at Calvin.”

Some specific outcomes of Detmer’s work include the initiation of a new student organization called the Disability Inclusion Project; a seminar for professors on how to make classes more hospitable; a review of Calvin’s ADA compliance, including some changes at the dining halls and other places on campus; and an exploration of opportunities at Calvin for adaptive sports.

“As part of my vision, I see an area where we can all come together, and that is through intramural clubs of adaptive sports where people with and without disabilities can compete together,” Detmer says. “I see sports like wheelchair tennis or wheelchair basketball, where people without disabilities can get in a wheelchair and compete with people with disabilities. These united events are where I see social change being integrated actively into the student environment.”

While challenging the Calvin community to be innovative thinkers and leaders in this cultural shift is Detmer’s top goal, he also continues to physically test himself as an athlete. After the elimination of the 800 meters as an official event in track and field,

Detmer’s top event became the long jump. He is currently training for the 2024 Para Athletics World Championships to be held in Kobe, Japan, this coming May, and for the Paralympic Games to be held in Paris later this summer.

“It is a very packed and challenging training schedule,” Detmer says. “In order to qualify, I need to break the national record by 0.4 meters, and I’m not quite there yet.”

His former Calvin coach Rick Otte has already seen Detmer challenge himself and achieve great things on and off the track. “Simon is not one-dimensional at all, and in every one of his dimensions he incorporates his love for and belief in Christ. He has been successful because he is so humble and because he is passionate. He is very persistent once his passion kicks in, which is why he gets things done.”



Left to right: Kendy DeHaan, Morgan Gee, Madelyn Helmus, Jason Van Veldhuisen, Maggie Sytsema
Legacy students discover fresh possibilities in a familiar place

Whether from two miles down the road or across the country, legacy students—children of alumni—often feel like they know Calvin.

The “Christian school pipeline,” the “safe choice,” or “too familiar,” are common impressions these students have prior to enrolling at the university.

When reflecting on their actual experiences, however, current legacy students say they have found Calvin to be “surprising,” “diverse,” “challenging,” and “exciting.” They emphasize “amazing opportunities” and have “no regrets” about attending the same college as their parents, grandparents, or perhaps great-grandparents.

While Calvin remains rooted in its mission to equip students to think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world, its vision continues to evolve to meet the goals and needs of the current generation—students who give back by enriching the Calvin community with their energy, innovation, and hope for the future.


It took three visits to convince Kendy DeHaan to come to Calvin. The Florida native had heard from her mom, Rachel Schepel DeHaan ’96, and her grandparents that Calvin would be a great fit for her.

“I would hear side comments about how great Calvin is,” she says, “but they always said, ‘but we’re not pressuring you to go there.’

“I toured lots of schools in Florida. And then I decided to humor my family and visit Calvin. After I visited, I couldn’t get Calvin

off my mind, and I was comparing other schools to Calvin, so I had to keep asking myself, ‘What does that mean?’”

DeHaan has no regrets about choosing Calvin. To maximize her experience, she has purposefully challenged herself to step outside her regular community.

“I would tell someone to try three things that make you so uncomfortable, and see what happens from there,” she says. “Those three things have looked different for me every

single year. I applied to be an RA [resident assistant] and attended a whole bunch of club events. I even tried out for Dance Guild and realized that was not my thing.

“I put myself out there and have changed so much, and it’s been really incredible.”

Kendy DeHaan ’24

French secondary education, English secondary education



As a student at Grand Rapids Christian High School, Calvin was considered the “safe choice,” according to Morgan Gee. “I wanted to be different. I wanted to go anywhere else.”

But throughout high school, Gee was encouraged to keep an open mind.

“The majority of my teachers, my parents, my brother all went to Calvin,” she said. “And my brother was the last person I would have ever expected to go to Calvin, and he loved it.”

After an overnight visit arranged by her brother, Gee was all in. “I remember telling my mom, ‘This is where I’m going, sign me up, I’m going to Calvin.’”

And a few years later, Gee has discovered that “you can make it your own world.”

“Even though it is just down the street, it doesn’t feel like it’s just down the street,” she says. “It just depends on if you want to put yourself out there.”

Gee has also discovered that Calvin is not the safe choice. “Calvin really pushes you. It challenges you in every aspect: socially, academically, spiritually. Everything they say in their mission statement is true. And I am so ready in every way to go out there and have my own classroom.”




Maggie Sytsema likes to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a big decision like where to attend college.

“I live just 20 minutes away, so proximity was definitely one of my considerations,” she says. “I also knew a lot of people already at Calvin and going to Calvin Christian [High School], I knew a lot of people who were planning to go.”

Sytsema took dual enrollment classes in high school, which brought her to Calvin’s campus a couple of times per week. “I was wondering if it was going to be different enough because I really didn’t want just the same thing,” she says.

With the boost of a significant financial aid package and some encouragement from her mom, Sytsema chose Calvin despite any misgivings.

She has been surprised by and appreciates the diversity represented on campus and has enjoyed the opportunity to engage in active research.

“One of the big things that helped me realize that Calvin is innovating and moving forward was the Phage research class that I took,” she says. “It really helped me get plugged into active research and get a better feel for the biology field itself.

“I feel like I am going to be challenged in new ways to think about things differently.”

Maggie Sytsema ’27 Environmental health and conservation, Spanish

“Calvin really pushes you. It challenges you in every aspect: socially, academically, spiritually. ”


Jason Van Veldhuisen of Brookeville, Maryland admits he felt a lot of pressure to attend Calvin. “Both my parents went to Calvin and my brother and sister. I grew up hearing about Calvin a lot.”

Despite his reservations about attending a “small school,” Van Veldhuisen has found a large community of people with which to connect.

“I found that I really like the size of Calvin; it’s small but not too small. There are a lot of opportunities to meet new people. I have a really good friend group, and I’m still meeting new people in my classes,” he says.

“I like the intramural program, too. I didn’t know about that before I came.

“I would definitely say that the community that you get living in the dorms, all of the dorm events, getting to know so many people has been the most surprising to me. Everybody there, they’re really good people.”


“I thought I knew everything about Calvin,” says Madelyn Helmus. “I had taken swimming lessons there since I was five years old—that kind of thing.”

What she found at Calvin was a much broader community than she was expecting.

“The first week I was there I got lost on campus,” she says with a laugh. “That’s when I realized that there was a whole other side to exploring Calvin that I knew nothing about.

“It’s much more diverse than I thought it would be; it’s a much bigger community. There are so many people on campus. It’s a small college, but not really.”

Helmus has been pleasantly surprised by the opportunities available to students. She has traveled with the Clean Water Institute, conducted summer research, and worked as an office assistant for the School of Health.

“The connection with professors has surprised me,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to build all of the relationships I have with them. They have been so helpful with internships and other opportunities.

“If you’re wanting a Christian environment that expands your horizons, where you have profs that pour into you, then Calvin is going to be a great experience,” Helmus says.

“It’s all about what you make of it.”



Student instructors manage rock climbing sites during the North Channel Leadership Course. Students learn whitewater rafting in North Carolina during fall break. Incoming students enjoy sea kayaking in the North Channel.

On a sun-kissed summer day, a group of rising first-year Calvin students assemble to take a communal dunk in the cold waters of the North Channel, a 120-mile stretch of water along the north shore of Lake Huron in Ontario. They’ve just completed a 14-mile day of sea kayaking, and to celebrate their milestone they’re all taking the plunge. Outdoor Recreation Program Director Ryan Rooks holds his iPhone high to capture the moment, leading the countdown and cheering the group as they emerge laughing and refreshed.

Every summer for the last 19 years, first-year students have navigated the North Channel’s open waters on an eight-day adventure known as Calvin Wilderness Orientation.

The North Channel is just one of many wilderness adventures Calvin students can enjoy throughout their four years. Rooks, who has directed and grown the multifaceted Outdoor Recreation program since 2004, has led annual courses and trips to the Grand Canyon, Costa Rica, Yosemite, Red River Gorge, and Joshua Tree.

In addition to its memorable off-campus opportunities, Outdoor Recreation also includes a residence floor focused on creation care and sustainability, the Calvin climbing wall, campus events, classes, and a recreation leadership minor. The popular offerings meet important learning and community-building targets such as introducing new students to Calvin; training Wilderness First Responders; developing student leaders; and teaching new skills, like ultralight backpacking and whitewater kayaking.

“Iconic places, deep community experiences, and challenges in the wilderness enrich the Calvin student experience,” Rooks says.



With resounding consensus, student participants and leaders agree. The friendships they form by participating in Outdoor Recreation carry them through Calvin and beyond, while the lessons they learn shape their life trajectories in significant ways.

“Outdoor Rec shaped my entire Calvin experience, from meeting my future housemates and making lifelong friends on the North Channel kayaking trip to having life-altering experiences in the Grand Canyon and Costa Rica,” says Trent Elders ’11. “After getting certified as a Wilderness First Responder, I led these same trips.”

A clinical pastoral educator for Corewell Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elders says his involvement in Outdoor Recreation informed his dissertation research about learning through the disorientation of the wilderness. It continues to shape his professional work as he takes chaplain students on wilderness trips at the beginning of their residencies.



Elders’ experience is a familiar one. Rooks routinely trains students to co-facilitate Outdoor Recreation trips, giving them opportunities to share their skills, interests, and gifts with their peers. A student leader might teach a group of first-year students how to rappel down a cliff for the first time or demonstrate how to safely self-rescue from an overturned kayak.

“Most new Calvin students are absolutely blown away that they are being instructed and led through technical terrain and moderate risk experiences by their fellow Knights,” Rooks explains. “They quickly catch a vision that they too have the potential to help others have a powerful experience in the wilderness.”

Rooks says empowering student leaders is one of the most rewarding aspects of directing Outdoor Recreation. “What I love is when students arrive with preexisting aptitudes. I love helping them develop classes or trips in their areas of passion and interest.”

Current junior engineering student Steven Koopmans, for example, teaches a woodworking class, leading participants in building a canoe or kayak paddle. Senior Ben Richards developed two popular oncampus programs: the Outdoor Recreation Bible study and a mountain biking program.

Rooks says he’ll continue to keep studentfocused programs and leadership opportunities at the center of Outdoor Recreation. “Student leadership is the engine of the Outdoor Recreation program at Calvin. Passionate student leaders create memorable and highly transformative experiences for their peers.”

Upper left: A group ascends Half Dome in Yosemite National Park during the Federal Lands Wilderness and Recreation Management course.

Lower left: Students head into Joshua Tree National Park for a climbing instructors course.

Upper right: A climber navigates a rock face in Red River Gorge, Kentucky—one of Outdoor Recreation’s long-standing destinations.

Lower right: Introduction to Backpacking students put their new skills to the test in Manistee National Forest, Michigan.



Rooks estimates over 500 students participate in an overnight Outdoor Recreation trip every year. He continues to be amazed how time in the wilderness impacts students’ lives, helping them build community and giving them a sense of identity at college. “The experiences become a significant part of their Calvin story,” he says.

Matt Greeley ’14, a software developer from Verona, Wisconsin, participated in multiple wilderness field courses and trips as a student but says a three-week expeditionary course to Costa Rica changed his life. “The world seemed so much larger—I’d never kayaked or made sugar from the cane or surfed in the ocean; but the world also seemed so much smaller—establishing deep relationships with the people there, so much so that I lived with the same host family for a few months after graduating. That trip showed me that God’s creation is worth exploring—both the people and the world.”

There are plenty of opportunities to build community on campus, too. Students living on the Outdoor Recreation and Creation Care dorm floor share their passion for outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and sustainable living. Jess Stehouwer ’21 says she “learned so much about what it means to be a strong leader, develop emotional intelligence, and foster community” while living on first van Reken. A graduate student at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stehouwer still finds time to serve as an adjunct backpacking and climbing instructor at Calvin.

Left: The Climbing Center is free to all Calvin students and is used by up to 120 climbers per day.

Top right: Adventurers enjoy a variety of activities on the Costa Rica and Rainforest Expedition trip during January Intensive, including whitewater kayaking on the Savegre River.

Middle and bottom right: Students of the Sierra wilderness and recreation management course volunteer in Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, California.


Something unique happens when adventurers spend time alone or in small groups surrounded by God’s creation.

“Having abundant opportunities to connect with creation is part of God’s design,” Rooks says. “Wilderness creates the space for something rare and distinct to happen in our lives. I am always amazed by how a simple backpacking weekend in Manistee National Forest enriches the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of students.”

Rooks cites long-standing program traditions, such as the wilderness solo retreat and evening small groups, that help participants tap into the spiritual benefits of time in nature.

Joshua Maher ’19, a manager at National Solar Energy Company in the state of Wyoming, appreciates how “the Calvin Outdoor Recreation community exemplified spiritual curiosity. Expeditions and weekend trips presented faith-based conversations outside of a strictly academic context. The topics discussed and the friends made taught me to hold space for spiritual growth in challenging and new environments,” he says.



Calvin’s Outdoor Recreation program is the largest of its kind among Christian universities in the U.S., but it wasn’t always that way. In the ’80s and ’90s, student outdoor enthusiasts could enjoy a student-run climbing club or an annual road cycling trip.

Today, after two decades of what Rooks calls “rich collaborative work” among faculty, staff, alumni, and students, Outdoor Recreation offers a wide variety of trips, classes, and programs, including the newly revamped recreation leadership minor.

Standing as a sentinel to its valuable place in the community, its flagship climbing program greets every visitor who steps through the doors of the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex. The perennially popular climbing wall boasts over 50 routes that are designed, set, and changed weekly by current Calvin students, and it logs over 10,000 climber sign-ins per year.

Rooks feels immense gratitude for the many visionaries, supporters, and volunteers of the program, including emeriti professors Glen Van Andel and Don DeGraaf as well as former vice president of student life Shirley Hoogstra, who fostered and supported the original vision for the program. He emphasizes that Outdoor Recreation’s growth and success hinges on the many colleagues, students, and alumni who continue to invest in the program.

Scan to learn more, or visit outdoor-recreation/



Alumni faculty at a large university foster Christian community on their campus and beyond.

Calvin University has a long-standing heritage of graduating alumni who go on to establish meaningful careers in academia. Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, is the professional home of seven such alumni. On a July morning in 2023, Calvin welcomed five of these alumni for a panel discussion about their scholarship, teaching, and the unique community they’ve built with Christian colleagues—a kind of community they say they first encountered as Calvin students.


Locally rooted in the city of St. Louis near the campus of Washington University, The Carver Project exists to “empower Christian faculty and students to serve and connect university, church, and society.” The organization’s members host dinners, reading groups, and speaker series, in addition to partnering with local churches for community-building events.

Founded by John Inazu in 2017 and led by Abram Van Engen ’03, the non-profit has more recently increased its national

reach through a blog, online mini courses, and an annual speaking event, the Carver Conversation. In partnership with Interfaith America, The Carver Project also sponsors three cohorts of Newbigin Fellows, Christian faculty who participate in an 18-month program to help them “develop interfaith cooperation on non-Christian campuses.”

“The Carver Project takes its name from George Washington Carver, whose life revolved around community, engagement, and dialogue within the context of his Christian faith and his calling to higher

education,” Van Engen says. “Carver, who was born into slavery, became an artist and a scientist, and throughout his life embodied in his work what it means to integrate faith, learning, and service.”


The Carver Project faculty have built a thriving academic community across Washington University’s seven schools by co-teaching courses, researching, and hosting community-building events together both on and off campus.

“The Reformed tradition has an inbuilt openness to wonder, exploration, curiosity, faith-seeking, and understanding that allows it a kind of generosity towards the world.”

“The robust interdisciplinary engagement of Christian faculty with Washington University makes it a welcome presence on campus,” Van Engen says. “When you start doing things the university finds valuable— connecting with the city, connecting with local churches, inviting well-regarded speakers to campus, doing cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and work— then they’re happy to support you.”

That work involves a balance of advancing both scholarship and teaching—investing in both ideas and people.


Perhaps it seems cliché to talk about the important difference teachers make in the lives of their students. That’s likely because the sentiment conjures up images of Hollywood-style super-teachers who defy challenging odds to win the hearts and minds of students. That kind of differencemaking is a construct of an industry interested in concise, flashy stories. Real learning, on the other hand, is much more complex, and the impact teachers make on students’ lives is often quieter and slower. It involves open office doors, unhurried conversations, and leadership by example.

Abigail Jager ’98, senior lecturer of mathematics at Washington University, says, “The faculty at Calvin are role models for how to teach.” She felt academically well-prepared to rub elbows with Ivy League graduates in her doctoral program at the University of Chicago and says she still models her teaching on what she experienced


at Calvin. “My job is almost entirely student focused. I try to create courses I would like to take and to treat my students as I would like to be treated.”

According to The Carver Project faculty, that means keeping their office doors open to students while continuing to make advances in scholarship and research within their fields. Van Engen, who understands the challenge of that balance, says, “The doors of Calvin faculty were always open. As a student, I thought this was amazing. I received a form of mentoring that I never could have gotten elsewhere.”

Professor of linguistics Kristin Van Heukelem Van Engen ’03 says her career path emerged from conversations she had with her Calvin professors. As a first-year student, she hoped to study medicine but also loved her English courses. A casual conversation with English Professor Jim Vanden Bosch led her to take her first linguistics course and eventually pursue it as a career.

Visual artist and professor Cheryl Wassenaar ’93 says she came to understand the concept of vocation as a Calvin student. As a professor, she says, “It’s a real privilege to walk alongside students while they’re still developing their convictions and their own emerging identities and to be able to help them shape the kinds of ongoing questions about vocation that will follow them as they mature into their professional and broader lives.”


Founded in 1876, Calvin has always valued learning as a means of gaining a greater understanding of God’s world. The liberal arts tradition of learning across multiple disciplines and points of view brings both breadth and depth to that endeavor.

Washington University business professor Peter Boumgarden ’05 says he especially appreciated this aspect of Calvin. “Finding a way to speak with a distinctive viewpoint rooted in tradition but engaging across pluralistic bounds is a piece that I loved about my Calvin time. That’s the type of thing that makes me proud to be a Calvin alum.”

Abram Van Engen agrees. He says Professor Dave Warner’s biology class designed for non-science majors emphasized the value of viewing God’s world with deeper awe. “The Reformed tradition has an inbuilt openness to wonder, exploration, curiosity, faithseeking, and understanding that allows it a kind of generosity towards the world. It allows us to say there is common grace in the world; let’s go see what it looks like.”

The Carver Project faculty say this distinctive aspect of Calvin has helped them remain rooted in their faith, build community with other Christian faculty, and engage meaningfully at their current academic home. In the years ahead, they hope The Carver Project can serve as a model for other universities like theirs for how Christian faculty at non-Christian universities can integrate faith with teaching and scholarship.

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Alumni Profiles

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

Michelle Huyser ’06 is a surgical oncologist in Phoenix, Arizona, where she is building an oncology program focused on research and improving cancer care for Native American patients.

Co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers Kyle VanStrien ’07 creates award-winning, smallbatch spirits made with Michigan ingredients. As a small business owner, he’s helping revitalize Grand Rapids’ west side.

Katerina Parsons ’15 is a U.S. policy specialist for USAID’s Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance. She’s a passionate advocate for human rights worldwide and helps ensure people impacted by wars, poverty, and natural disasters have access to humanitarian assistance.

Entrepreneur and engineer Michael VanWoerkom ’95 founded ExoTerra, a company dedicated to reducing the cost of commercial space exploration through the development of new and more affordable technologies.

Michelle Huyser ’06 Kyle VanStrien ’07 Michael VanWoerkom ’95
Katerina Parsons ’15

Healing Cancer, Building Equity

Michelle Huyser ’06 Biology Surgical oncologist, Phoenix Indian Medical Center Phoenix, Arizona

Michelle Huyser ’06 remembers the moment she decided not to transfer from Calvin to a different university. Attending a multicultural dinner at DeWit Manor, she was seated next to former President Gaylen Byker. By that time, she had already been accepted as a transfer student to two different schools and a move felt imminent, but talking to Byker changed her mind.

Surprised by the breadth of Byker’s world travel prior to Calvin, she remembers thinking he could have built a career anywhere, but he felt called to be in Grand Rapids.

“He said, ‘If I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be having dinner with this diverse group or having this conversation with you,’ ” Huyser explains.

“I knew in that moment I was supposed to stay at Calvin. Someone who had all these opportunities to live anywhere in the world felt called and could listen to the call and stay, despite not always feeling comfortable. Ultimately, I felt my own desires paled in comparison to what God wanted me to do.”

Today, Huyser works as a surgical oncologist at Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC), where she is building a surgical oncology program in partnership with the Mayo Clinic of Arizona from the ground up. A governmentrun facility with limited resources, PIMC is also chronically understaffed, and getting patients the care they need can be challenging. Huyser identifies patients at PIMC who need large cancer operations that her hospital cannot support. She performs these more complex surgeries at Mayo Clinic, where patients have access to facilities and ancillary subspecialty care needed for successful outcomes.

“I have always believed what I am doing is bigger than me and part of God’s plan.”

Huyser also conducts research on disparities in Native American health care. She hopes defining the problem can lead to improved access to care. “Native Americans are generally hesitant to work with people who are non-Native because of the historical trauma they’ve experienced,” Huyser says, “so the reasons for not getting treatment are often different than for other groups.” Huyser’s research shows that “patients face geographic and cultural challenges to accessing appropriate care, especially cancer care, and often have a distrust of westernized medicine.” Far from leading her to a place of discouragement, however, she feels motivated.

Huyser grew up in Window Rock, Arizona, the political capital of the Navajo Nation; her Navajo heritage plays an important role in her work. “I feel as though I can help bridge this gap and help communicate difficult health concepts to a vulnerable patient population,” she says.

Though her parents raised her in the Christian Reformed Church and her family has many ties to Calvin, Huyser remembers she sometimes felt like an outsider on campus. Her childhood experiences vastly differed from many of her Calvin peers, including expressions of faith, cultural values and traditions, and even the landscape and weather.

Huyser majored in biology and, as she studied, grew to appreciate Michigan’s climate and ecosystems. She found mentors in professors Dave Warners and John Beebe. “They helped me see my interaction and place within the world differently, especially our responsibility as Christians to be stewards of creation and to protect and advocate for the voiceless,” Huyser says.

She at first planned to pursue a PhD in restoration ecology, but she found she missed interacting with people. Huyser’s parents had always encouraged her and her four siblings to pursue their passions, believing that God would use their children’s gifts to “accomplish his will through them.” A career in medicine, Huyser decided, would be a natural extension of her love of science and her desire to help others.

Huyser has chosen a challenging career path; to become a surgeon in a subspeciality like oncology takes more than a decade of post graduate study and practice, and the demands and hurdles of providing cancer care to patients at a resource-limited medical facility are many. Yet she says that “even when things get difficult, I have


believed what I am doing is bigger than me and part of God’s plan. I just have to stay true to his vision, not my own, and the path will be laid out before me.”


Take No Short Cuts

Kyle VanStrien ’07 Business and political science Co-founder and Co-owner, Long Road Distillers Grand Rapids, Michigan

The story of Long Road Distillers begins with Kyle VanStrien’s love of Grand Rapids’ west side, a community he got to know during his junior and senior years at Calvin, while interning at The Other Way Ministries. The internship also became his first job post-Calvin. “Working downtown and then living there for several years helped me gain a better understanding of what it’s like to live in an urban setting. And I fell in love with it.”

Since 2015, VanStrien ’07 and business partner Jon O’Connor have run the only distillery in the city of Grand Rapids, boasting an impressive list of awardwinning, hand-crafted spirits and three tasting and dining locations, the first of which they opened in the heart of the west side.

A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, VanStrien, whose parents attended Calvin, expected the university to feel familiar and comfortable. Yet he was surprised by how his classes and professors challenged him to see the world from new perspectives. A business and political science major, VanStrien says a January interim trip to Uganda ignited a passion for community development. “When I came back, I was kind of disenchanted with the idea of a business degree and wanted to fine tune what I was studying. Bonnie Speyers in the career development office helped me realize I needed something that I really believed in.”

That’s how VanStrien found his way to The Other Way Ministries and Grand Rapids’ west side. Today, Van Strien, his wife Jennifer, and their two children call the west side home.

Over the years, to generate enthusiasm for the area, VanStrien and a group of friends planned and hosted community events— everything from a winter festival in historic Richmond Park to Live West, a month-long challenge for residents to frequent and support local businesses. After earning a master’s degree in public administration,

VanStrien worked for Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, a city-adjacent organization that preserves and maintains city green spaces.

VanStrien says starting Long Road Distillers felt like a natural segue from ministry and urban development—a means of putting down deeper roots in the community he’d grown to love. He met his business partner Jon O’Connor, a real estate appraiser and broker, while serving on the board of the West Grand Neighborhood Organization. For years, he and O’Connor talked about what kind of business they’d like to contribute to the west side’s revitalization.

Though the friends knew nothing about the art of distilling spirits, they shared a common interest in visiting distilleries in Traverse City and Kentucky with their wives. “There had never been a legal distillery in the city. So we thought there’d be an opportunity there. We figured if anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be us. And let’s do it in the neighborhood we love.” After 18 months of learning the business, they opened their first location on Leonard Street.

VanStrien says the greatest challenge of developing Long Road Distillers into a thriving business has been creating a niche

for their products in a historic and wellestablished industry. “We’ve had to carve out small spaces for ourselves to compete and get a foothold with consumers, being really creative with small batches. We’ve tried some styles of spirits that most people hadn’t considered or heard of before, like aquavit, which is what we’d call gin’s Scandinavian cousin.” Aquavit is now one of Long Road’s signature spirits and has won prestigious national and international industry awards.

VanStrien takes pride in sourcing local ingredients to craft his products. “Our Michigan is an all-Michigan-ingredient gin where we either forage for our ingredients or source them from local farmers. We handpick juniper on Beaver Island. It’s a really cool experience for our staff and for us to create something from scratch that is pretty unique and really delicious.”

VanStrien sees Long Road Distillers as a place to daily live out his faith. He and O’Connor chose their distillery’s name based on their mutual commitment to “take no short cuts.” From the distilling process to best business practices to continuing to give back to the community he loves, VanStrien has taken the long road to build a thriving business in a revitalized corner of his adopted city.

“We’ve had to carve out small spaces for ourselves to compete and get a foothold with consumers, being really creative with small batches.”
“It’s a remedy for discouragement to remember we don’t have to start something new to create change.”

Katerina Parsons ’15 is a writer and specialist in international development who has spent the last nine years working both abroad and stateside for a range of organizations—from small, grassroots nonprofits to the U.S. government. Her career has brought her to places like Mexico, Guatemala, North Korea, and Ukraine.

Currently, Parsons works with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Based in Washington D.C., she serves in the policy office of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, where she and her team manage engagement with Congress on humanitarian aid, helping all the different parts of government “talk” to each other as they enact policy about humanitarian crises from Gaza to Ukraine to Haiti.

In the fall of 2023, Parsons spent two months in Poland and Ukraine, on rotational assignment for USAID. Her experiences there and around the world have taught her the complexity of acting justly on a large scale, especially in places where natural disaster or military conflict deprive people of their basic needs and rights. Her belief that all people bear God’s image motivates her deep commitment to protecting and restoring human rights and dignity.

“On a fundamental level, people deserve to live and be free of suffering and to have certain rights. And it feels like such a basic idea, but it’s also clear that actually providing that isn’t so simple.” She says protecting human rights on a large scale “requires us to interrogate policy and to remember to hold up humanity and human well-being, particularly in countries that may not have a positive relationship with the United States.”

At Calvin, Parsons majored in writing and international development. She describes her first international development class as “life changing.” Parsons also served as the online editor for Chimes and prized the paper’s emphasis on accountability, curiosity, and storytelling. “We would write something on the front fold of Chimes and the campus would be talking about it the next day. And I think that was my first introduction to how powerful writing is, how it creates conversations,” explains Parsons, who says supporting clear communication through writing is a key aspect of her job.

A semester abroad in Honduras led to Parsons’ first job after Calvin. As a junior, she studied under professors Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen, the husband-andwife team who founded the Association for a More Just Society (ASJ). From 2015–2019, she worked for ASJ in Honduras supporting

fundraising and communication for the U.S.-based arm of the organization. She says studying, working, and living in Honduras offered her first-hand experience within communities facing significant challenges. “I’m really grateful I had that experience, because I learned not to accept simple answers or generalizations about complex issues like violewnce or poverty,” she says.

She moved to D.C. in 2019 to attend grad school and work as a foreign policy advocate lobbying Congress. Her time at ASJ informed her perspective and work. “I had seen these big humanitarian challenges in Honduras, and now I could ask how the United States’ funding and policy decisions shape the issues the people I had been living with face.”

When asked if she ever grows discouraged by the scale of human need she encounters, Parsons says, “No.” Instead, she holds two important perspectives. First, she sees “the incredible creativity, innovation, and courage people demonstrate every day. It seems defeatist to say it’s too hard to change when others don’t think so and are actively out there working for change.”

Second, Parsons emphasizes the importance of acting justly in day-to-day life. Newly married, she and her husband, Michael Brown, an economist for the World Bank, seek meaningful opportunities to serve their local community. “Joining the board of my church or volunteering to talk with a teenager once a week or doing park cleanups—these things that feel so small in the scope of the world’s needs—matter. It’s a remedy for discouragement to remember we don’t have to start something new to create change.”


Act Justly

Katerina Parsons ’15 Writing and international development U.S. policy specialist, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance Washington, D.C.

Engineering the Future

Michael VanWoerkom ’95 Mechanical engineering Founder and president, ExoTerra Littleton, Colorado PHOTO CREDIT: RICKAYLA FERGUSON

Michael VanWoerkom ’95 remembers becoming fascinated with outer space the first time he saw Star Wars as a little kid. “I was up near the front row in the movie theater, and watching that huge star destroyer come in overhead left me in awe.” From that point on, he knew he wanted to be part of reaching that distant frontier.

As a young adult, VanWoerkom continued to pursue his passion with a major in mechanical engineering. He met his wife, Wendi Kuiper ’96, a fellow engineering major, at the end of his junior year and credits her support as a key to his success.

Among his many career highs, VanWoerkom says learning to fail forward at a young age taught him to take risks and keep pushing toward his goals. A math error in the design of his Calvin senior engineering project, for example, bore catastrophic results. “We built a solar-powered airplane and it failed miserably. I made a math error and effectively made a solar-powered glider. When we threw it off the top of the Science Building, it immediately crashed.” Disappointing as it was, VanWoerkom says he gained a lot from the experience.

After earning a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, VanWoerkom secured his first job at Lockheed Martin in Denver, Colorado. During his tenure, he served as the mechanical engineering lead for the Orion crew module, which was part of George W. Bush’s Constellation Program, a plan to return to the moon by 2020. When the project was canceled in 2011, VanWoerkom was part of the team that helped resurrect it that same year. “But after that happened, we had an organizational change, and I didn’t really like how it all shook out for me. That was the point when I decided to give starting my own company a try and see what would happen,” explains VanWoerkom, who had dreamed of launching a startup as a Calvin student.

That same year VanWoerkom founded ExoTerra, with the hope of developing affordable technologies to reduce the cost of space exploration. “My dream has always been to send people back to the moon,” VanWoerkom says, “and I’ve always believed that if we’re going to put people on the moon permanently, we need to come up with a profitable means of doing so.”

“My dream has always been to send people back to the moon.”

VanWoerkom says he began by looking for natural resources outside of Earth that could be used to expand further into the solar system. “We were looking at how to mine oxygen on the moon,” says VanWoerkom, who quickly realized that even if he succeeded in doing so, there was no ready customer for this advanced technology. “NASA wasn’t there yet, and they might not be for another 10 years.”

That development led VanWoerkom and his team of engineers to explore how they could reduce the cost of gravity. “One of the things we were looking at is how do we make spacecraft smaller and propulsion systems more efficient.”

Designing efficient propulsion systems has become ExoTerra’s unique market niche. They currently specialize in providing efficient propulsion for tiny satellites. Last June, VanWoerkom celebrated a career highlight when ExoTerra launched its first thruster, a rocket engine involved in both the propulsion and control of a spacecraft. “I’d been working on the company for a decade and we’d had a lot of problems with customers canceling flight programs for reasons that had nothing to do with us. So to finally get a thruster into space and show that it works was a huge deal.”

In the larger picture, VanWoerkom operates in the continual pursuit of better. “The big thing that’s always driven me is the goal of getting into space and trying to push commercial space further. The long-term goal is still to put people back on the moon and on Mars in whatever way I can help.”

With his family behind him, his strong work ethic, and his commitment to chasing innovation, it seems there’s a good chance VanWoerkom will do just that.


Throughout the winter and spring, Calvin alumni gathered for local networking and to hear Calvin updates from university representatives. Two groups gathered in Chicagoland, with events in Crete and Oak Brook, Illinois. The new year began with a trip to the American southwest with stops in Rehoboth, New Mexico; Zuni, New Mexico; and Phoenix, Arizona. Calvin staff attending a CCCU conference in San Diego, California, met up with local alumni and friends, while the Calvin Gospel Choir also made stops in southern California on their spring break tour.





Alumni and friends celebrated the return of watch parties for this year’s Rivalry on January 27. Maroon and gold were well-represented across the country, with host sites in Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Milwaukee; Denver; and Visalia. Local alumni headed to Hope College’s DeVos Fieldhouse to cheer on the Knights in person or to the Grand Rapids watch party at Big E’s on the East Beltline.

The Alumni Association hopes to add more watch parties for next year’s Rivalry on February 1, 2025. If you would like to host a watch party next year, let us know at


Class of 1974 50-year Reunion

May 3–4, 2024


May 4, 2024

Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning

May term courses

April 30–May 23, 2024

Homecoming & Family Weekend

October 4–5, 2024

Calvin Classic 5k & Youth Fun Run

October 5, 2024

On campus or virtual—run where you are!

For a full list of Calvin events, see


Autumn in Appalachia

October 9–16, 2024

Host: Debra Freeberg

Explore arts and culture, friendship and faith on this all-women’s tour through the greater Appalachian region. Travel solo or invite a friend to see fall colors at New River Gorge National Park, peruse museums, tour vineyards, and more.


May 5–17, 2025

Host: Jim Bratt, Suzanne Bratt

Experience a special journey through Germany highlighting the music of J.S. Bach and the heart of the Protestant Reformation. Your expert hosts will offer insights into historical sites, take you on a cruise of the Elbe River, and accompany you to a concert in Leipzig.


May 1–10, 2025

Host: Karin Maag

Tour the castles and countryside of Scotland while you follow the footsteps of John Knox and the Scottish Reformation. Highlights include visits to the John Knox House and St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Glencoe and Glenfinnan, and the new Loch Ness Centre with cruise.

Find itineraries and registration details at



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)

Jim Deur ex’68 recently marked a volunteer milestone as a builder for Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, logging an incredible 4,000 hours of service. Deur, who is retired, currently volunteers three days a week constructing homes for individuals and families in need in west Michigan.


The Van Raalte Institute and Hope College honored Jacob Nyenhuis ’56 and his wife, Leona, with the addition of their names on the Theil Research Center. The newly renamed TheilNyenhuis Research Center has been the home of the Van Raalte Institute since 2004, which specializes in research about the immigration and contributions of Dutch people in the United States. Nyenhuis joined the faculty of Hope College in 1975, where he served in many roles, including professor of classics, dean of arts and humanities, and provost. He is a past director of the Van Raalte Institute and continues to be actively involved there.


Professor emeritus of history at Kent State University, and research professor at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College Robert Swierenga ’57 celebrated the publication of A. C. Van Raalte: Pastor by Vocation, Entrepreneur by Necessity, a biography about the founder of the city of Holland, Michigan and Hope College. A dinner was held at Hope College in October 2023 and attended by many members of Swierenga’s family and Calvin alumni.

Left to right: Celia Swierenga Groenhout ’84, Kate Breems ’26, Henry Breems ’21, Bob Swierenga ’57, Dianne Nagelkirk Ritsema Swierenga ’61, Cheri Ritsema Dykhouse ’85, Ken Dykhouse ’81, Brent Breems ’93, Suzanna Swierenga Breems ’92

Five Calvin alumni currently serve on the board of directors of Rescue One, a Christian ministry that partners with Haitian churches to provide education, health care, and food to vulnerable children in Haiti while they continue to live with their families. The board members are Carol De Mots Woltjer ’64, Nancy Wierenga Tuit ’66, Dan Rinzema ’76, Jody Otting Vogelzang ex’76, and Bill Warners ’17 1970s


In 1973, a group of 17 Calvin students and alumni formed a community in Grand Rapids, Mich., that they named the Logan Street Covenant House. The Covenant House continued as a Christian cooperative for almost 30 years. Though it’s no longer in operation, in September 2023, a group of those involved in the cooperative in its early years gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Clockwise from lower left: Carl Strikwerda ’76, David Timmer ’73, Gail Bossenga ’75, Bert Duinkerken ’75, Mary Spoelman Timmer ’75, Kathryn VanderKooi DenHouter ’69, Benjamin VanderKooi ’75, Melody Takken Meeter ’75, Daniel Meeter ’75, Johanna

DeKleer ’75, Anne Duinkerken ex’79, Anna Margaret Sietsema Binder ’75, Neil Binder, Ruth Linton, Thomas Linton ’76, Cynthia Dieleman De Young ’75, Dennis De Young ’75, Thomas Jonker ex’73, Elizabeth Jonker, Deborah VanderKooi.


04 Dale Bos ’85 was honored at halftime during a men’s basketball game for 41 years of service as the official statistician and scorekeeper of the men’s team. Over the years, he served as a volunteer for Calvin athletics in many other capacities, including as a fill-in scorekeeper for Calvin women’s basketball.

Jill Toonstra Dahm ’83 serves as the lead teacher at Community Preschool, which offers affordable Pre-K education to families of all income levels in Roselawn, Indiana.

Nurse practitioner Lynne Kuipers Eggert ’86 serves as vice-chair of directors for the Blue Ridge Free Clinic, a care facility specializing in meeting the medical needs of underserved people in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Virginia.

01 02 03

After a 35-year career in city management, most recently as city administrator of Norton Shores, Michigan, Mark Meyers ’86 followed his passion for community and economic development to become the community development director for the city of Holland, Michigan.


In November 2023, educators who are also Calvin alumni met at Sekolah Pelita Harapan, a private Christian international school system, to attend an ASCI–ICEC regional conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Front row, left to right: Megan Guinter ’21, Sua Cho ’21, Sung Sil Kim ’22, Ha Yeon Choi ’22, Samantha Fraser ’23

Back row, left to right: Sung Ji Choi ’18, Alexandra Tuit ’18, Rene Sompie MEd’15, Sheryl Sheeres Taylor ’87, So Yeon Kim ’19, Shin Iac Kim ’20

Lisa De Vries Vander Wel ’86 was recently appointed as the executive director of hospice and palliative care at Spectrum Health Continuing Care.



Founder and director of North County Pole Vault Club (NCPV Club) in Escondido, California, Mike Wagenveld ’91 was awarded National Coach of the Year by USA Track and Field (USATF). Considered one of the

highest honors in coaching, the award recognized Wagenveld for his achievements in the sport, including coaching many California state medalists as well as the all-time best high school girls squad in U.S. history at Poway High School. Through his organization, Wagenveld has increased access to a sport many high schools do not offer and has dedicated himself to helping young athletes successfully advance to compete in collegiate track and field. Wagenveld got his start in pole vault as a decathlete on Calvin’s track and field team.


07 Author and ordained minister in the Presbyterian church Traci Smith ’01 has been named the program director of a new initiative at Chalice Press called Family Faith Every Day. The initiative, which received a fiveyear, $1.25 million grant from the Lily Endowment, will help parents and caregivers incorporate faith practices into everyday family life. The initiative builds on a book series called Faithful Families written by Smith.

Nathan Zwagerman ’02, associate professor of neurological surgery, otolaryngology, and surgery, was recently appointed as the program director for the neurosurgery residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin.


Grant Austin ’14 launched RGA Tech Support in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2017. The company’s mission is to provide honest, client-centered technology support with a strong focus on education. In addition to providing on-site support, RGA Tech Support also partners with local organizations to provide community classes, including courses for the Calvin CALL program and the Aquinas College OLLI program.

08 Avid long distance hiker Kevin DeVries ’12 completed the Triple Crown, a designation for hikers who have walked the Appalachian, Continental Divide, and Pacific Crest Trails in their entirety. DeVries achieved this distinction with his completion of the PCT in November 2023.


09 Emily Steen ’23, a 2023 recipient of the Hatfield Prize, and Calvin faculty advisor Mark Mulder published their research findings through the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) in fall 2023. The pair studied the challenges of individuals’ reentry into society after incarceration. Steen and Mulder’s research highlights that “reentry care should be an integral part of prison education programs” and stressed “the need for

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collaboration between government and various institutions to [effectively] support returning citizens.” The Hatfield Prize was established in honor of the late Senator Mark O. Hatfield from Oregon, who integrated his Christian faith and public policy commitments.

This academic year Halle Zuiderveen ’23 took her first teaching job as a second-grade teacher at Rose Stein Elementary School in Lakewood, Colorado. To find the position, she connected with Tyler Amidon ’94, principal of Denver Christian Middle School, who offered his expertise on the school districts in Denver. Zuiderveen says, “I love my job and the staff at the school. Having the support and connections that Calvin alumni provided me was incredibly beneficial in my journey to find the right job post-graduation.”

Ellen Helgeland Jewart in 2018, eager to return to her studies at Worcester State University, recovers from one of many surgeries following a 2016 skiing accident.


From Slopes to Strength


Ellen Helgeland Jewart ’79 was an avid skier who frequently spent winter weekends hitting the slopes of New England with her adult children. On a winter day in 2016, however, everything changed.

A serious skiing accident shattered her knee in 10 places. After a bone infection, eight surgeries, and a full knee replacement, Jewart still walks with a foot brace and experiences ongoing complications related to the accident.

“God stopped me in my tracks. I had a lot of time to think,” Jewart says. No longer able to sustain 60–70-hour work weeks and frequent travel as a financial advisor, Jewart took early medical retirement and looked for new opportunities.

She had always wanted to write a book, so she enrolled at Worcester [Mass.] State University and graduated in May 2023 with a master’s degree in English, following a second bachelor’s degree in English.

As a child, Jewart found school difficult. Undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and hearing loss in her right ear taught her to compensate for her disabilities at a young age. She graduated from high school at 16, attended community college for a year, and entered Calvin as a sophomore at 17. She majored in music and earned her education certification. No less determined to excel in her creative writing program at Worcester State, Jewart finished top in her class and carried the department flag at graduation.

Today, Jewart is planning her first book— a criminal suspense novel with a female protagonist “who learns to stand on her own feet in a time of great crisis.”

Though she’s excited to dive in, these days her greatest joy is caring for her granddaughter four days a week. “She keeps us young,” Jewart says.

Jewart’s accident changed her life, but it has not stopped her. “My body may not be doing the things that one would expect, but I don’t feel like 65 in my head. I still feel like my 30-something self who balanced four kids and a job,” she laughs.

“Interestingly, the more I slow down the more I am drawn to a more devotional life with God. I’m more willing to set aside housework and take 30 minutes to put up my feet to take the swelling out, and I might use that time for worship or prayerful meditation.”

Jewart recalls waiting to get wheeled into emergency surgery, when words she learned as a child ran through her head: “‘What is your only comfort in life and in death?’” she recites the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism. “‘That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.’”

“Those words have really guided me over the years,” she says. Though life has thrown her many challenges, Jewart’s faith remains steadfast.

BY CALVIN ALUMNI 06 07 08 09 11 12 13 01 Using Graphic Novels in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Classroom William Boerman-Cornell ’88, Josha Ho, David Klanderman ’88, and Sarah Klanderman ’14 Bloomsbury Academic Press 02 Mom Dad Not Hear Mickey Carolan ’03 Third Culture Books 03 Arise Beautiful: An Illustrated Scripture Devotional Diane DeKorte Ford ’03 Westbow Press 04 To the Nth Degree: Genesis through Revelation Marjorie Ribbens Gray ’68 Outskirts Press 05 Jonestown: An American Family Tragedy Harriett Jansma Jones (H.J. Jones) ’69 Mission Point Press Wipf and Stock 03 04 05 10 02 01 06 The Way Home: Discovering the Hero’s Journey to Wholeness at Midlife Ben Katt ’03 St. Martin’s Essentials 07 The Gray Man and Other Stories: Tales of the Paranormal C. Stephen Layman ’77 Wipf and Stock 08 Pain-Free Pickleball: Preventing Injuries Before They Start Trent Stensrud ’12 Self-published 09 Juneteenth Is Natasha Likkel Tripplett ex’99 Chronicle 10 The Blue Pickup Natasha Likkel Tripplett ex’99 Harper Collins 11 The ALMA Telescope: The Story of a Science Mega-Project Paul A. Vanden Bout ’61, Robert L. Dickman, and Adele L. Plunkett Cambridge University Press 12 Superheroes in the Streets: Muslim Women Activists and Protest in the Digital Age Kimberly Wedeven Segall ’92 University Press of Mississippi 13 The Fifteenth Commandment Steve Sieberson ’70 North Dakota State University Press 40


Planning to get together with four or more Calvin alumni roommates, teammates, or friends this summer?

Request a “Reunion in a Box” kit from for your party.

Back row, left to right: Samuel Allison ’13, Mitchell Groenenboom ’13, Nolan Worstell ’13, Matthew Wever ’13

Front row, left to right: Annamarie Koster Groenenboom ’13, Aimee Diepstra Rynearson ’13, Alissa Jones Worstell ’13, Allyson Hofman Wever ’13

These alumni celebrated 20 years since their semester abroad in Honduras together. They are grateful for the ways those four months transformed both their lives and friendships. Left to right: Kimberly VanDerKolk Helder ’06, Tera Keeler Dent ’05, Sarah Shubitowski Teater ’06, Jessica (EunMee) Coleman Willm ’04 Fellow nursing grads gathered in Holland, Michigan, in September 2023. Left to right: Kari De Boer Rentfrow ’14, Stephanie Tuinenga Buiter ’14, Ashley Visser Woldman ’14, Lauren Kerkstra Wierenga ’14, Leslie Ellens Israels ’14 Former Calvin classmates spent the day together with their little ones in Portage, Michigan, in October 2023.
Alumni of the speech pathology program bonded over their shared Calvin roots at a reunion on August 30, 2023. Left to right: Kelli Van Wyk Van Der Heide ’13, Hannah Pettinga ’16, Karli VanDeBerg Wiersma ’15, Libby Hunt Boot ’15 These five alumni gathered for a weekend reunion in Summit County, Colorado, in October 2023. Left to right: Sara Iwema ’06, Kay Bykerk Kapteyn ’05, Hannah Brown Davenport ’06, Melanie Hebert ’07, Laura Spoelma Koster ’06 These high school friends and Calvin classmates reunited at a cottage on Barlow Lake on a chilly mid-November day in 2023. Left to right: Heidi Bouwma DeBlecourt ’99, Katie Oosterhouse Kuiper ’00, Meredith Bush Mockabee ’99, Laura Hoeksema ’99, Mandy Helder VanderMeyden ’99, Jill Jonker Herweyer ’98 These alumni gathered in Sparta, Michigan, in October 2023. They rekindled their school spirit by singing the Calvin alma mater together. Clockwise from left: Kris Kuipers Ponstine ’77, Vicki Landheer Van Wingerden ex’77, Bob “BC” Cumings ’76, Jack Ponstine ’77, Jim Herrema ’78, Randy Van Wingerden ex’77 Calvin swimmers and housemates met at the Venema Aquatic Center in January 2024 to cheer on the swim team.
Left to right: Danielle Mitchell Yu ’10, Laura Price Rescorla ’10, Libby Veldkamp Willard ’10, Maggie Vail ’10 A Caribbean cruise was enjoyed by three alumni couples in January 2024. Left to right: Kristie Jager Nolta ’87, Jeff Nolta ’87, Deb Dykstra Jager ’83, Doug Jager ’78, Erinn Boot Hoekstra ’02, Dan Hoekstra ’02 These friends enjoyed a weekend in Pentwater, Michigan, in November 2023. Back row, left to right: Sarah Curtis DeBaets ’00, Michelle Sawyer Bennett ’00, Kara Schaafsma Kroll ’00 Front row, left to right: Amy Eld Maffeo ’00, Jonna Van Schepen Fey ’00, Tracey Jaeger Gort ’00 Four friends spent a weekend at a cottage in Frankfort, Michigan, in October 2023. Left to right: Tracy Bakker Kinney ’99, Katy Frey Bever ’99, Karen Eshelman Wit ’99, Kristen Fergus Van Stee ’99 Alumni gathered at the home of Jisoo Kim ’16 in Incheon, South Korea, for a January 2024 reunion.
Back row, left to right: JT Lee ’15, Sunghun Choi ’16 with his wife and baby, Chanmi Moon ’19 and her husband Front row, left to right: Seungyong Lee ’16, Jisoo Kim ’16, Somi Yi ’19, Eunjin Kwan ’17, Ahee Kim ’18, Myungha Kim ’21 A dozen Calvin grads enjoyed a tailgate party for Calvin Football’s first intrasquad scrimmage during Homecoming and Family Weekend. Back row, left to right: Alex Schierbeek ’13, Mark Bowers ’14, Dara Veenstra Bowers ’15, Aaron Meckes ’13, Ben De Waal Malefyt ’14 Front row, left to right: Megan Visser Roode ’15, Trevor Roode ’13, Justin Smit ’13, Ben Cok ’13, Elise Doezema Smit ’13, Jenna DeKryger Schierbeek ’13, Lauryn Cok, Abbie Hoekstra Meckes ’12, Becca De Waal Malefyt Two Calvin alumni couples enjoyed time together on Merritt Island, Florida, in December 2023. Left to right: David Bolt ’99, Kim Berkhof Bolt ’00, Jodi DeRidder DeJonge ’99, Dave DeJonge ’99. These alumni met in Grand Rapids in November 2023. Left to right: Ryan Buteyn ’10, Linsey Pott Buteyn ’10, Mary Warpinski DeKorne ’11, Eric DeKorne ’09 Six former housemates met in Nashville, Tennessee, to golf together in October 2023.
Left to right: Taylor VanEps ’06, Kyle Hollemans ’07, Todd Schuster ’07, Andy Draayer ’07, Mark Tigchelaar ’06, Brad Jansen ’06


These alumni couples enjoyed time together in Lexington, Kentucky, just after Christmas 2023. Left to right: Jared Moberg ’10, Rachel De Young Moberg ’10, Mary Hoogstra De Young ’14, Adam De Young ’13 These alumni soaked up the sun on Anna Maria Island, Florida, in November 2023. Left to right: Sarah Derrico Smith ’04, Amanda Bergsma Wagenmaker ’04, Lindsay Campbell Buckingham ’04, Becky Welsh Groenewal ’04 Members of the Wispelwey family reunited in Bethany Beach, Delaware, on Labor Day 2023 to sport their Calvin swag. Left to right: Brian Wispelwey ’76, Beverly TeBos Wispelwey ’75, Pat Bulthuis Wispelwey ’74, John Wispelwey ’73, Rhonda Wispelwey Klein ’71 housemates reunited in October 2023. Left to right: Lisa Smith ’98, Courtney Smith Lampen ’98, Katie Ramos Rogers ’98, Jenn Van Barneveld Hipple ’98, Kara Poel ’98, Patti Deenik Lenting ’98, Shelley DeVries Plaggemars ’98 This picture was taken aboard the Viking Neptune while cruising the Aegean Sea in November 2023.
Left to right: Pete Veenema ’70, Ruth Roukema Veenema ’70, Paul Veenema ’70, Beth Nawyn Veenema ’70, Ron Veenema ’69, Gail Pellow Veenema ’70, Dave Vandergoot ’69, Beverly Nyland Vandergoot ’70



Betty Vanderaa Arnell ex’48

Sept. 15, 2023, Crete, Ill.

Lugene “Archie” Bazuin ’47

Jan. 12, 2024, Munster, Ind.

Robert Boerema ex’49

Aug. 19, 2023, Livingston, Mont.

Nella Musch Boeve ex’49

Feb. 25, 2023, Muskegon, Mich.

Sheila Drost Buus ’43

Sept. 30, 2023, Tucson, Ariz.

Lois Blom Camping ex’48

Dec. 17, 2023, Riverside, Calif.

Roy Datema ex’48

June 23, 2023, Stuart, Fla.

Betty Schouten De Vries ex’42

Jan. 10, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thomas De Vries ex’47

March 24, 2023, North Olmsted, Ohio

Katherine Doezema ’44

Feb. 9, 2024, Grand Haven, Mich.

Julia Rudenga Eggebeen ex’48

June 26, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Cornelia Dekker Eskes ex’45

Jan. 13, 2023, Martinez, Calif.

Robert Faber ’49

Jan. 4, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

William Feenstra ex’48

Dec. 12, 2023, Redlands, Calif.

Ann Van de Ree Fisher ’49

Jan. 7, 2024, Waldwick, N.J.

Tena Bosma Huizenga ex’43

Oct. 17, 2023, Visalia, Calif.

William Kamstra ’49

Dec. 5, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Flora “June” Boslooper Kapteyn ex’46

Jan. 25, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gertrude Kornelis Kooy ex’47

Sept. 19, 2023, Quincy, Wash.

James Lampen ex’49

Jan. 11, 2023, The Villages, Fla.

Florence Bos Malefyt ex’45

Aug. 20, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Bernice De Vries McGovern ex’48

Jan. 18, 2023, Webster, N.Y.

Sadie Hanenburg Negen ex’48

Dec. 28, 2023, Artesia, Calif.

Marilyn Rykse Nichols ’47

July 16, 2023, Fort Myers, Fla.

Roger Otten ex’49

Sept. 28, 2023, Sheboygan, Wis.

Theresa Anema Plaggemeier ex’43

Sept. 19, 2023, Spokane, Wash.

William Post ex’48

Feb. 10, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gary Ritsema ex’47

Jan. 14, 2023, Denver, Colo.

Ruth Kraak Robart ex’43

Nov. 16, 2023, Flint, Mich.

Edward Rudenga ’48

Sept. 14, 2023, Schererville, Ind.

Gerard Sinke ’47

June 4, 2023, Sanford, Mich.

Theodore Van Bruggen ex’49

July 28, 2023, Seminole, Fla.

Jeanette Van’t Hof Veltman ’40

Dec. 17, 2023, Jenison, Mich.

John Walhout ex’47

March 3, 2023, Muskegon, Mich.

Elsie Schilperoort Wassenaar ’49

June 6, 2023, Lynnwood, Wash.

Milton Wyngarden ex’43

Oct. 17, 2023, Zeeland, Mich.

Eleanor Estie Zylstra ex’45

Dec. 14, 2023, Lynden, Wash.


Phyllis De Jonge Aurich ex’58

March 7, 2023, Marquette, Mich.

Herbert Bergsma ’58

Oct. 16, 2023, Bourbon, Ind.

Mary Monsma Bicknell ’57

Sept. 13, 2023, West Olive, Mich.

Allan Bishop ’58

Dec. 30, 2023, Ripon, Calif.

Janet Bonnema ex’58

Jan. 18, 2024, Okeechobee, Fla.

Rodger Brayman ex’53

Oct. 23, 2023, Howardsville, Va.

Joanne Eppinga Brouwer ex’57

July 26, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Phyllis Kuipers Brouwer ex’50

April 23, 2023, Minneapolis, Minn.

Charles Canaan ex’59

Jan. 21, 2024, Rapid City, S.D.

Lyle Canough ’56

Jan. 21, 2023, New Haven, Ind.

Stuart De Jong ex’50

Feb. 13, 2023, Fort Myers, Fla.

Lavonne De Kock De Ruiter ex’59

Sept. 19, 2023, Pella, Iowa

Bernice Westra De Vries ’50

June 15, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Gladys Van Beek De Vries ex’51

Dec. 19, 2023, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Lydia Moes Dokter ex’50

Dec. 5, 2023, Sun City, Ariz.

Eleanor Strating Droogsma ex’51

Nov. 25, 2023, Osseo, Minn.

Harold Dykhuizen ex’52

Jan. 11, 2023, Minneapolis, Minn.

Elroy Dyksen ex’50

Nov. 8, 2023, North Haledon, N.J.

Harold Eiten ’53

Dec. 1, 2023, Kentwood, Mich.

Donna Tuinstra Erickson ex’55

Dec. 25, 2023, Harris, Mich.

James Fles ex’59

Dec. 2, 2023, Spring Lake, Mich.

Anna “Joey” Fridsma ex’51

June 1, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Robert Goudzwaard ex’50

Jan. 3, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Edna Beebe Greenway ex’54

Jan. 9, 2024, Rockford, Mich.

Jenny Uitterdijk Gritter ex’58

May 17, 2023, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

John Groen ’53

Oct. 3, 2023, Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Eunice Zimmer Hamill ex’57

June 15, 2023, Redlands, Calif.

Theodore Haringa ex’52

April 2, 2023, Whitinsville, Mass.

John Harris ’58

April 23, 2023, North Kildonan, Manitoba, Canada

Roger Harrison ’50

Sept. 3, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Violette Ferguson Hayes ex’55

Dec. 29, 2023, Kirkwood, Penn.

Steven Hoekman ’50

Oct. 28, 2023, Ripon, Calif.

Outstanding Service Award recipient

Robert Hooyer ex’56

Jan. 13, 2024, Wheaton, Ill.


Marlene Van Heest Jabaay ex’58

July 24, 2023, Munster, Ind.

Catherine Verhage Johnson ’52

June 30, 2023, Lynnwood, Wash.

Allan Jongsma ’55

Feb. 2, 2024, Jenison, Mich.

Jenice Hollaar Kashey ex’51

Jan. 30, 2024, Northumberland, Penn.

Molly Timmer Klingenberg ex’58

Nov. 10, 2023, Zeeland, Mich.

Cornelius Korhorn ’56

May 10, 2023, Byron Center, Mich.

Jack Kuiper ’51

Oct. 23, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Marvin Lanser ex’50

Sept. 10, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Faith Schemper Lenger ’59

Sept. 30, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Madge De Jager Liscomb ’58

Oct. 23, 2023, Granbury, Texas

Agatha Lubbers ’59

Nov. 2, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Shirley Lubbers ’55

May 21, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Henry Luth ’51

Feb. 11, 2023, Chino, Calif.

Jack Matheis ’52

Sept. 6, 2023, Lynden, Wash.

Louis Meyer ex’50

Aug. 11, 2023, College Station, Texas

John Moes ’59

Oct. 29, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marvin Monsma ’57

Oct. 13, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marcella Van Hove Muller ex’52

Dec. 3, 2023, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Frances Vander Woude Niewenhuis ex’50

Nov. 22, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

William Oosse ex’58

March 15, 2023, Coopersville, Mich.

Orville Pasma ’56

Jan. 15, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Iris Barsema Persenaire ’57

Jan. 18, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Philip Persenaire ’56

June 27, 2023, Peabody, Mass.

Henry Ploegstra ’56

Sept. 18, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Marvin Poutsma ’58

Oct. 11, 2023, Lexington, Ky.

Clifford Prince ’50

Oct. 17, 2023, New Era, Mich.

Glenn Prince ’56

Oct. 5, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Marlene Van Huesen Prins ’54

April 9, 2023, Jenison, Mich.

Richard Rinck ’55

Nov. 7, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Albert Ritsema ’52

March 23, 2023, Oshkosh, Wis.

Melvin Rosema ex’59

March 19, 2023, Coquille, Ore.

Carolyn Feddema Schaapman ex’54

Jan. 23, 2024, Ripon, Calif.

Nicholas Schoon ’50

Sept. 1, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Caroline Diekman Schrier ex’54

July 19, 2023, Grandville, Mich.

Helen Hoekstra Selles ex’50

Oct. 9, 2023, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Loretta De Boer Smith ’51

Sept. 27, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.

Janet Boersma Stern ex’53

May 9, 2023, Spring Lake, Mich.

Arthur Stienstra ’58

Nov. 26, 2023, Saint Paul, Minn.

Walter Terris ’56

May 3, 2023, San Francisco, Calif.

Ruth Alberda Teune ’52

July 8, 2023, Holland, Mich.

Kenneth Thomasma ’53

Nov. 14, 2023, Jackson, Wyo.

June Gabrielse Tilma ’55

Jan. 2, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Sylvia Bos Tubergen ’57

Dec. 30, 2023, Kentwood, Mich.

Jaren Van Den Heuvel ’59

Jan. 4, 2024, Oakton, Va.

Lorna Frieswyk Vanderkooi ’50

June 29, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Barbara “Sugar” Grant Vander Laan ’54

Nov. 7, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

David Vander Ploeg HON

Nov. 20, 2023, Saint Joseph, Mich. Outstanding Service Award recipient

Janice Riemersma Vander Werf ex’57

May 11, 2023, Elkhart, Ind.

Arie Van Eek ’54

Nov. 7, 2023, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada

Marilyn Roskam Van Loo ex’50

May 22, 2023, Mansfield, Ohio

Donald Van Vuren ex’55

April 4, 2023, Orland Park, Ill.

Bernice Tromp Vermeer ex’50

Dec. 25, 2023, Pella, Iowa

Theodore Verseput ’50

Sept. 19, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Adeline Goris Verwolf ex’52

June 13, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Mary Boerema Vroon ’55

Feb. 3, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Frederic Walker HON

Jan. 19, 2024, Virginia Beach, Va.

Audrey Vandenberg Wyma ex’52

April 29, 2023, Vero Beach, Fla.

Robert Yff ex’55

June 6, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Judith Bouma Zigterman ex’51

Jan. 24, 2024, Richland, Mich.

Mary Vanden Bosch Zwaanstra ’58

Feb. 9, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Walter Ackerman ’66

Dec. 1, 2023, Denver, Colo.

Jerry Alferink ’67

Dec. 29, 2023, Holland, Mich.

David Altena ’60

Jan. 2, 2024, Holland, Mich.

Anne Kwantes Benschop ’62

Oct. 24, 2023, Wooler, Ontario, Canada

Joyce Potts Blauw ’64

July 2, 2023, Saint John, Ind.

Dan Bloem ’66

Jan. 31, 2024, Jenison, Mich.

Bert Boerema ’60

Feb. 5, 2024, Caledonia, Mich.

Mary Plakmeyer Bol ’63

Feb. 4, 2023, Jenison, Mich.

Jennifer Vander Wall Bouman ex’65

Oct. 14, 2023, Sacramento, Calif.

Kathleen Keessen Bouman ’67

Jan. 6, 2024, Lowell, Mich.


Robert Broersma ’62

Sept. 16, 2023, Cincinnati, Ohio

John Cole ’63

Sept. 22, 2023, Ada, Mich.

Robert De Boer ’65

Oct. 2, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.

Fred De Jong ’60

Oct. 13, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Patricia De Jong ’67

Nov. 3, 2023, Salt Lake City, Utah

Lloyd De Vries ’68

Oct. 26, 2023, Caledonia, Mich.

Peter Dirkse ’63

May 7, 2023, Yakima, Wash.

Wallace Duvall ex’61

Sept. 28, 2023, Roseville, Mich.

Winson Elzinga ex’65

March 28, 2023, Chatham, Ontario, Canada

Donald Frelier ’63

Jan. 11, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Sheila Meeuwsen Frens ’65

Sept. 22, 2023, Anoka, Minn.

Larry Heemstra ex’62

Sept. 1, 2023, Jenison, Mich.

Frederick Heslinga ’69

Sept. 26, 2023, Blenheim, Ontario, Canada

Beatrice Hofman Hoek ex’63

Jan. 29, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Iran Huizenga ex’61

July 18, 2023, Zeeland, Mich.

Gary Jaarda ’69

Jan. 15, 2024, Bonita Springs, Fla.

Frances Karnemaat ’60

Nov. 25, 2023, Coopersville, Mich.

Barbara Veen Kieft ’65

Oct. 2, 2023, Bradenton, Fla.

Hennie Woldhuis Kloosterman ex’60

Jan. 16, 2024, Kalamazoo, Mich.

Martin Kooistra ’68

Oct. 30, 2023, Byron Center, Mich.

Thomas Kornoelje ex’63

Jan. 12, 2024, Artesia, Calif.

Mary Van Vels Le Blanc ’65

Dec. 20, 2023, Traverse City, Mich.

Harold Mast ’66

Dec. 20, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Wesley Meeuwsen ’65

Dec. 25, 2023, Fremont, Mich.

Johannes Morsink ’63

Oct. 5, 2023, Chestertown, Md.

James Potts ’67

Oct. 27, 2023, Indianapolis, Ind.

Joyce Kamstra Roelofs ex’68

Nov. 9, 2023, Grand Haven, Mich.

Catherine Wybenga Schneider ’69

Oct. 5, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ronald Sprik ’64

July 21, 2023, Belmont, Mich.

Kenneth Vanden Berg ’63

Nov. 8, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ronald Vandenberg ’60

Sept. 20, 2023, Estero, Fla.

Dale Vander Veen ’64

Oct. 25, 2023, Jenison, Mich.

Lois Aardema Van Houten ’68

Jan. 4, 2024, Ormond Beach, Fla.

Peter Van Putten ex’60

Aug. 26, 2023, Byron Center, Mich.

Martin Van Staalduinen ’61

Feb. 4, 2024, Holland, Mich.

Stefford Veltema ex’64

March 15, 2023, Walnut Creek, Calif.

James Workman ex’60

Jan. 10, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Janice Dirkse Wyma ’60

Nov. 15, 2023, Zeeland, Mich. 1970s

Clarence “Bert” Altena ’78

Jan. 20, 2024, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Beverly Den Ouden Becksvoort ’70

Jan. 20, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Lisa Ortega De Vries ex’77

March 8, 2023, Winter Garden, Fla.

Gertrude “Connie” Schilstra Dykstra ’70

Sept. 25, 2023, Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada

Sharon Hambleton Hershberger ’72

Oct. 4, 2023, Augusta, Mich.

Lori Holstege ’79

Jan. 11, 2024, Lake Leelanau, Mich.

Cheryl Krull Marsden ’71

Jan. 22, 2024, Lititz, Penn.

Ellen Hulst Meyer ex’76

Feb. 11, 2024, Rockford, Mich.

Elizabeth Werner Paauw ex’73

Dec. 27, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Bruce Tuinier ’75

Nov. 5, 2023, Crystal Beach, Fla.

Joanne Houseward Van Denend ’73

Oct. 8, 2023, Ripley, Ohio

Sharon Dykstra Whalen ’72

Sept. 15, 2023, Ivins, Utah 1980s

Jack “Bob” Andree ’80

Jan. 23, 2023, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Carla Burgess Beukema ’82

Dec. 12, 2023, Zeeland, Mich.

Margot Vandeventer Rogers ex’84

Sept. 18, 2023, Tubac, Ariz.

Julie De Graw ’88

Aug. 28, 2023, East Lansing, Mich.

Douglas De Vries ’83

Jan. 24, 2024, Muskegon, Mich.

Stephen Holtrop ’82

Oct. 14, 2023, Sioux Center, Iowa

Carole Kass Jansen ’82

Nov. 7, 2023, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Betsy Jansen Kamphuis ’82

Oct. 26, 2023, Greenville, Mich.

Curtis Mulder ex’80

Dec. 1, 2023, Ft. Collins, Colo.

Julie Heyboer Piers ’88

Nov. 29, 2023, Byron Center, Mich.

Paul Schoedel ex’80

Dec. 24, 2023, Evanston, Ill.

Jena Rich Vander Ploeg ’88

May 12, 2023, Byron Center, Mich.

Richard Vander Sluis ’87

Oct. 2, 2023, Chicago, Ill.


Rhae-Ann Richardson Booker ’91

Feb. 3, 2024, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Joel Bratt ’91

Aug. 28, 2023, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Peter “Tim” Geis ’92

Jan. 3, 2024, Manistique, Mich.

Mark Janecek ’96

Sept. 16, 2023, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Beverly Martens ex’97

Jan. 2, 2023, Bensenville, Ill.


Nicole Luurtsema Hermance ’02

Oct. 24, 2023, Hudsonville, Mich.

John Hwang ex’07

Oct. 29, 2023, Ada, Mich.

Thomas Sytsma ’06

Jan. 15, 2024, Byron Center, Mich.


Jacob Westmaas ex’12

Dec. 12, 2023, Wyoming, Mich.



For a quarter century, Edna Beebe Greenway ex’54 taught in the Calvin University Spanish department. Greenway, 88, died on Friday, January 9, 2024.

While at Calvin, Greenway developed programs for elementary and secondary Spanish teachers, pioneered a program in bilingual education, and was involved in the creation of a program to certify teachers of English as a Second Language.

Greenway is best remembered for her commitment to her students. “Her relationship with her students was not contractual but rather covenantal,” said Professor Cynthia Slagter, who knew Greenway first as her teacher at Calvin and later as a colleague. “Students understood that her care for them was rooted in her faith.”

Greenway’s love for teaching was always present. After graduating from Calvin, she taught first grade at Seymour Christian School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also home–schooled her five children while serving with her husband on the mission field. She earned her Ph.D. at the age of 50 and enjoyed a 30-year career in higher education. Even in retirement, Greenway still volunteered as a tutor at Buchanan Elementary and as a discipleship leader at The Potter’s House Christian School.

“She embodied the idea of faith-infused teaching. This is a legacy of hers that I try to carry on and that we tried to enshrine in the Edna Greenway Scholarship that we established when she retired [in 2001],” said Slagter.

The Edna Greenway Scholarship is awarded annually to the education student who writes the best essay on “the importance of the integration of faith in their own lives and careers.” Future teachers have and continue to benefit from Greenway’s perspective on teaching and learning.


Rhae-Ann Richardson Booker ’91 served at Calvin for two decades. She died on February 3, 2024, at the age of 56.

During her tenure, Booker served as an evaluator, director of pre-college programs, director of multicultural student development, and assistant dean of academic multicultural affairs. In each of her roles, she was committed to opening doors and helping Calvin feel more like home for all.

“When we at Calvin say that we stand on the strong shoulders of those who went before, we must remember intrepid pioneers like Rhae-Ann Booker,” said provost emeritus Joel Carpenter. Booker’s fingerprints are on the foundations of Calvin’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts, Carpenter explained.

“If you look at the back page of “From Every Nation”—a statement describing Calvin’s goals of racial justice and reconciliation— you will see Rhae-Ann’s name there as one of its architects,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter noted that Booker not only helped craft the document, but that she also “played a major role in giving legs to the ideas and principles” listed in its pages.

Booker helped launch the Entrada Scholars Program, Calvin’s premier college access program. She also helped create UnLearn Week—the basis for UnLearn 365, an initiative that helps participants unlearn biases and embrace biblical anti-racism.

A scholarship created in Booker’s name continues her legacy of opening doors and providing all students with opportunities to pursue their educational goals. The $2,500 Dr. Rhae-Ann Booker Entrada Scholarship will be awarded to a student for the first time in 2024–2025.



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