Diversity and Inclusion in Calvin’s history

  • 1876 Calvin College and Seminary began as one institution—De Theologische School—for Dutch immigrants in 1876, taking students through six years of curriculum that incorporated both literary and theological training.
  • 1894 The first international student, David Adams from northwestern Iran, attends Calvin College.
  • 1918 The first Asian student graduate, Lum K. Chu (aka Chin Lum) from China completes Calvin’s 2-year program in education.
  • 1953 The first African-American student, Sadie Gale Barham, graduates with a BA in education.
  • 1956 The first Native-American student graduate, Doris Rose Aitson, graduates with a BA in education.
  • 1985 The Comprehensive Plan for Integrating North American Ethnic Minority Persons and Their Interests Into Every Facet of Calvin’s Institutional Life is drafted by the Minority Concerns Task Force. The document is intended to plot out a course that would make Calvin College the multicultural community envisioned by many. The Comprehensive is adopted as a key institutional document.
  • 1991 The Entrada Scholars Program begins. Spanish for “entrance” or “gateway,” Entrada immerses high school junior and senior students of color in a college experience whose core is academic excellence. They take a college class, live in the residence halls, eat in the dining halls, study in the library, attend workshops, shoot hoops in the gym, perform service projects, and enjoy outings.
  • 1995 Rangeela, the annual cultural show from the international student body at Calvin College, begins.
  • 1996 The Mosaic floor becomes a part of the Kalsbeek-Huizenga dorm. The Mosaic Community was formed to promote diversity at Calvin by creating an environment where people could come together and learn about each other. By experiencing what it is like to live with others different from ourselves, “we learn and practice Christian understandings of human diversity, to be change agents both within Calvin and in broader society” (Mosaic Vision Statement).
  • 1997 The Christian Reformed Church in North America explores adopting an anti-racism policy. Members of the CRCNA attend workshops and trainings with Cross-Roads Ministry, an anti-racism training organization.
  •   Pathways to Possibilities launches. P2P is a partnership between Calvin and churches in Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon in an effort to help at-risk youth stay excited about education.
  • 1999 CRCNA mandates all affiliate institutions, including Calvin College, to organize an anti-racism task force, offer anti-racism trainings, and review key institutional identity documents. CART (Calvin Anti-Racism Team) is formed. This team was originally composed of seven members representing faculty and staff across several departments. The team provided 90-minute anti-racism trainings and began the process of reviewing key identity documents, especially the Comprehensive Plan.
  • 2000 UnLearn Week is founded by the Multicultural Student Development Office. This week is a series of programs organized by students which challenges the generalizations, stereotypes, and assumptions underlying racism. The series features speakers, panel discussions, films, and food festivals meant to bridge a cultural gap within the Calvin community.
  • 2001 In 2001, Calvin, along with New York s Nyack College, received the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ Robert and Susan Andringa Award for Advancing Racial Harmony. Calvin College “strongly seeks to be diverse, but has such deep theological and ethnic roots that it’s a challenge for them,” said Richard Gathro, senior fellow at the council. He emphasized that it’s not the fairly common requirement that faculty sign on to a particular statement or subscription of faith that limits Calvin’s recruiting pool so much as its restriction on specific church membership or worship style. “There’s a certain style of doing church that’s more ethnically connected,” Gathro said.
  • 2003 The Dean for Multicultural Affairs position is added to the Provost’s staff.
  • 2004 From Every Nation: Revised Comprehensive Plan for Racial Justice, Reconciliation and Cross-Cultural Engagement at Calvin College (FEN) is approved by the Faculty Assembly in October 2003 and in February 2004 by the Board of Trustees.
  • 2006 The Sexuality Series began in January 2006 as a means of helping students explore a wide range of sexuality topics.
  • 2007 SAGA begins in the fall. SAGA is a peer education group of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ), and straight students who support each other and educate the campus. They meet weekly for fellowship and learning. Multiple events throughout the year seek to foster a more welcoming and educated community.
  •   Calvin College is awarded NAFSA’s 2007 Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization. Only five of these awards are given annually.
  •   Calvin College becomes a founding institution of the West Michigan President’s Compact. The 11-member compact is composed of institutions that are committed to promoting diversity, sensitivity to people of diverse cultures, and addressing issues of racism at our various institutions and within the West Michigan community.
  • 2010 A five-year review of FEN document completed.
  •   Calvin College receives “Provisional Partner” designation from Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC). PRFC works with organizations, businesses, schools, congregations, and others to provide tools necessary to build an inclusive and racism-free environment and be positioned to succeed in the new multicultural economy.
  • 2012 Calvin College receives “Full Partner” designation from PRFC.
  • 2013 Interim Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion position is added to the president’s office staff and the president’s cabinet.
  •   The Dean for Intercultural Student Development position is added to the student development office.
  • 2014 A “Strengthening Diversity and Inclusion Efforts” theme is included as one of the six major themes Calvin’s Strategic Plan: 2019.
  • 2015 Calvin College receives “Credentialed Partner” designation from PRFC.
  •   (Permanent) Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion position is added to the president’s office staff and the president’s cabinet.
  •   Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion is added to the Provost Office.
  • 2016 IMPACT Orientation for Calvin AHANA students is launched