September 06, 2018 | Matt Kucinski

A drawing of a portrait of Rich and Helen DeVos

A love for west Michigan.

Those five words are central to Rich DeVos’ legacy. DeVos, an alumnus of Calvin College, died on Thursday, September 6, 2018, at the age of 92.

“For decades, Rich and [his late wife] Helen lived out their commitment to Christ by contributing to the flourishing of their neighbors in Grand Rapids,” said Michael Le Roy, Calvin College president. “The city specifically, and the west Michigan area more broadly, are thriving in 2018 in no small part due to their dedication to this community.”

One of the communities Rich and Helen were committed to was their alma mater. Both personally and through their foundation, they expressed their dedication to the Calvin community through funding scholarships for students, supporting centers and institutes, giving toward faculty research, and underwriting lectures and other community events like the January Series.

“Rich and Helen demonstrated their commitment to the young people at their alma mater time and time again, from creating spaces for students to study and gather, to supporting numerous scholarships, to providing opportunities for students to study off-campus and overseas,” said Le Roy. “Rich and Helen’s generosity has also extended to our faculty, through contributing to their research and scholarship and supporting our centers and institutes.”

They also provided major gifts on impressive building projects, including the Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex that opened in 2009 providing state-of-the-art athletic, recreation and wellness facilities, and were lead donors on the DeVos Communication Center, which, in 2002, extended the college’s academic space across the East Beltline. The space includes studios for film and media, smart classrooms and theaters. It is also home to the Paul B. Henry Institute and an on-campus speech pathology and audiology clinic.

And while Le Roy is grateful for the difference the DeVos’ generosity has made in the life of Calvin students and faculty to date, he also said their impact will be felt for generations to come.

“We are grateful for their longtime support of their alma mater,” said Le Roy. “Their generosity has provided great opportunities for Calvin to live out its mission of equipping students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Rich’s family will be in our prayers as they mourn his loss and celebrate his life.”

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