“Godly leadership is not about attaining recognition or glory; it’s about serving others.”
—John M. Perkins, Leadership Revolution

Calvin's John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows are a small group of students who are selected to participate in a series of leadership development opportunities during their first two years of university. These opportunities prepare Perkins Fellows to address big issues like poverty, injustice, racism and materialism. Perkins Fellows strive to be servant leaders who are committed to renewal and restoration of our communities.

This program includes specially-designed leadership courses, dinners with prominent Calvin leaders and an all-expenses-paid spring break service trip. Freshman members of the program reside in community on the Perkins Floor in the Residence Halls.

Two students will also be selected for a
to Calvin University

Who qualifies

  • High school seniors planning to enter Calvin University in fall 2021.
  • Preference given to first-generation university students (students in a household where neither parent has earned a bachelor's degree).
  • Students who have a desire to be servant-leaders in their communities.
  • Open to all students considering any major.

Next steps:

If you wish to get involved with the John M. Perkins Leadership Fellows at Calvin University, you will need to do two things:

1) Express your interest

Let us know you want to be considered for this program and we'll be in touch soon!

Yes, please consider me!

Note: on this form, you may also choose other special programs for first-year students for which you'd like to be considered.

2) Apply to Calvin

Complete Calvin's application early in order to be admitted by December 1. Without your application, unfortunately you will not be considered for this program.

Apply to Calvin


After you express interest in the program and complete your application to Calvin, here is what you can expect to happen:

  1. Invitations to attend the virtual Ministry Leadership Cohort interview weekend on February 27, 2021.
  2. This invitation includes interacting with current students in the Perkins Fellows Leadership Cohort, interviewing for a chance to be selected as a member of the Perkins Fellows Leadership Cohort, and other opportunities to learn about the program. Students will also have an opportunity to hear from Dr. John M. Perkins.
  3. Prospective students will be notified of their acceptance to the program by April 2021. Students not invited to participate in the program will be put on a waiting list.

Program details

Each year, 25 students are selected to form the Perkins Fellows. The program spans each student's first and second year at Calvin.

Yearly Schedule

Year One

Fall Semester / Interim

Spring Semester

The group takes an Emotional Resilience interim class together. Participate in an all-expenses-paid service-learning trip to the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation in Jackson, Miss.
Attend a dinner with Calvin's President to discuss leadership. Attend a regional Christian Community Development Association conference for free.
The group takes the Perkins First Year Seminar and an IDIS class together.

Year Two

Fall Semester / Interim

Spring Semester

Complete a leadership practicum, either on Calvin's campus or in the community. This could include residence hall leadership positions, service-learning opportunities off campus or many other options. Enroll in an advanced leadership course.
Attend leadership dinners with prominent campus, alumni, community leaders and other Perkins Fellows. Attend a regional Christian Community Development Association conference.
Enjoy a celebratory weekend retreat where you will develop and share your "plan of action" for how you plan to develop yourself as a Christian leader at Calvin, and beyond.