The Calvin community gathered on Monday, June 25, to express their gratitude to Gaylen and Susan Byker.
At 10, a.m. on Monday, June 25, Calvin faculty, staff and students—including summer researchers and Entrada Scholars—gathered on the Commons Lawn to say a final farewell to Gaylen and Susan Byker. There was cake; there was punch, and there were heartfelt thanks.
“For me, he’s the only president I’ve ever known … I’ve always appreciated his leadership, his connection to this institution, and I think we’re going to feel the effects of it years into the future.” JB Britton, associate dean for student development
“As beautiful as this weather has been, his career at Calvin has been the same: exemplary in Christian leadership.” Won Lee, professor of religion
“I appreciate his good work.” Ellen Alderink, graphic designer, instructional graphics
“I think it’s a blessing and a very fitting celebration … When Gaylen came here, he wanted to stay 10 years, and there were many good things that he did.” Kumar Sinniah, chemistry professor
“It was just an incredible day, and as I walked up I heard the joyful laughter of people—and Gaylen and Susan are a part of that.” Shirley Hoogstra, vice president for student life
“Things will be different now that he’s not here. We can see some of the fruits of his labor in the buildings and the stabilized funding he’s leaving—and thank him for his work on behalf of the college.” Michelle Loyd-Paige, dean of multicultural affairs
“It’s sad to see them go because they’ve done a lot for this place—I think a lot of it out of the limelight: more than people know. But I’m excited for them to have some time for themselves and with their family. I’m pretty confident that they won’t be leaving for long. Gaylen will always be a part of Calvin.” Paula Englin, coordinator of student organizations
“He was good to physical plant—good to grounds. He had plants donated to him. I was walking with him, and he pointed them out—Black Lace and Sambucus—I was impressed that he remembered them.” Bob Speelman, supervisor landscape operations, physical plant
“I hope he flourishes in all his new endeavors and comes back to visit. I’ll miss him, and Susan.” Quentin Schultze, professor of communication arts and sciences
“I would say, ‘God bless and keep you—and thanks.’” Jo Cooper, immigration coordinator