May 19, 2017 | Matt Kucinski

Nolan Coallier credits the supportive and challenging community at Calvin for his receiving a full ride to med school.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan—On Saturday, May 20, 2017, more than 900 students participated in the college’s 97th annual Commencement ceremony, held at 2 p.m. in the Van Noord Arena on the campus of Calvin College. The graduates represent more than 60 majors within the arts and humanities, social and natural sciences, and professional programs.

Calvin’s multifaceted core curriculum, experiential education opportunities and off-campus program offerings continue to serve students well, and employers and students alike see the liberal arts foundation that Calvin provides as crucial to their post-graduate success.

Evidence of that success is demonstrated by the college’s most recent employment and graduate school report, which shows that more than 99 percent of 2016 Calvin graduates were either employed or attending graduate school within nine months of graduation.

And this year’s class appears to be headed in the same direction, with students heading around the corner and across the globe to pursue career opportunities—everything from doing software engineering analysis in San Francisco, California to teaching English in Hong Kong, China, to being a healthcare nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. And students are attending top graduate schools—everything from studying immigration law at the University of Michigan to pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary to studying Veterinary Science at The University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Full ride to med school

Nolan Coallier (Unity Christian H.S./Hudsonville, Michigan), graduating with a double major in biochemistry and international development studies, has accepted a full ride scholarship to the Medical College of Wisconsin. He credits the one-on-one mentorship of his professors, challenging coursework, his study abroad experience in Honduras and a pair of internship opportunities his professors connected him with as being crucial to him receiving the scholarship to medical school valued at more than $200,000.

“How incredibly thankful I am to Calvin. When I got the call [that I received a full ride scholarship], I immediately went around to my professors, saying ‘thank you so much for how much you’ve helped me, for giving me opportunities to get this scholarship,’” said Coallier. “I received two completely different degrees at Calvin for a fraction of the price of one of them because of financial aid, plus I’ll get a medical degree for free because of how I’ve been developed at Calvin.”

And while the outcome stats of a Calvin College education are impressive, the college sees the formation of its students’ faith as a qualitative indicator of success. Coallier’s journey is evidence of that as well. He says studying N.T. Wright’s Surprised By Hope in a theology class his freshman year “really shaped my faith and made it way more missional. My calling really developed to go into medical missions.”

Commencement Week events

Bryan Dik, associate professor of psychology at Colorado State University and CEO of jobZology, delivered the Commencement address on Saturday. Bill Warners, a history major and student senate president, provided remarks on behalf of the Class of 2017. Along with the ceremony at Van Noord Arena, a number of events took place during Commencement weekend, including the Commencement worship service, the Commencement celebration cookout and a ROTC commissioning service.

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