April 26, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

Students in black caps and gowns watching at their graduation ceremony.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, more than 800 students will graduate from Calvin University. In doing so, they become the first class to both begin and end their journey at the institution under its current name.

In 2019, Calvin changed its name from “college” to “university” in an effort to better reflect the institution’s reality and to help it further move toward its global vision. Over the past four years, the university has indeed lived into its new last name.

“I’m excited to celebrate with the Class of 2023 on Saturday. Four years of a Calvin education is indeed a formative experience. I know this from my time as a student here,” said Wiebe Boer, who is completing his first year as president of his alma mater. “To be able to celebrate with students and families from literally all over the U.S. and world, will be quite meaningful. What we’ll witness on Saturday is what it looks like for a university to open its doors wider.”

A formative four years

Since becoming a university, Calvin has expanded from three graduate-level programs to 11. And, on Saturday, more than 100 students will graduate with master’s degrees. This is nearly double the number of graduates who earned such a degree just four years prior.

Over the past four years, the university has also established schools in the areas of Health, Business, Education, STEM, and the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences to better serve students and advance the institution’s reputation. This year’s class includes graduates with degrees in 75 areas of study.

Since 2019, the university also has graduated the first three classes—the fourth cohort graduating this year—from the Calvin Prison Initiative program. The third class from the Ready for Life program, which serves students with intellectual disabilities, will receive their certificates on Saturday.

Expanding globally

The university also continues to expand its reach around the globe. This year’s graduating class hails from 32 U.S. states and 28 countries and is part of a university whose current student body of 3,200 students comes from 55 countries, 48 U.S. states, and five Canadian provinces.

With this vision of expanding Calvin’s influence globally, Calvin is welcoming Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, to give the 2023 Commencement Address. His address aims to inspire graduates of Calvin University to put their formative education into action, wherever they are called, whether it’s around the corner or across the globe.

“Calvin University has a compelling mission that attracts students from all over the world,” said Adesina. “The formative education students receive here equips them to go out into the world and to live out the call of Proverbs 3:27, ‘to not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.’ I hope that students will see that call as both a responsibility and a great joy as they go about their life’s work.”

Note to media: To request an interview with Dr. Adesina or President Boer, contact Matt Kucinski at 616.307.7429 or matthew.kucinski@calvin.edu.

About Calvin University

Since 1876, Calvin University has lived into Christ’s promise to make all things new. A world-class Christian university in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Calvin exists to empower students as they discover a bold, transformative education rooted in Christian conviction. Calvin welcomes all who are compelled by God’s work of renewal to join in the formative pursuits of lifelong learning, teaching, scholarship, worship, and service. Discover more at calvin.edu.

Recent stories