November 29, 2018 | Matt Kucinski

Students study at a few circular tables in an open space with lots of natural light.

A date has been set. Calvin College will become Calvin University on July 10, 2019. The timing, which coincides with Reformer John Calvin’s birthday, for whom the institution is named, was shared with the Calvin College Board of Trustees during its fall meetings.

“We have a distinctive and enduring Christian mission that we are excited to share with more people around the corner and across the globe,” said Craig Lubben, chair of the board of trustees. “As we look to the future of Calvin, we are confident that this name change will help audiences both familiar with and new to Calvin to better understand its direction and progress. The whole world belongs to God, and we are pursuing a compelling vision over the next decade. Calvin is equipping, as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world, an expanding scope of students with an expanding scope of programs.”

Part of a bigger vision

In May, the board of trustees approved the name change as part of Vision 2030—a vision which upholds Calvin’s historic Christian mission and builds on its current distinctive strengths. Preserving residential undergraduate education at its core, Calvin will pursue this innovative vision: to become a university with a Christian liberal arts approach to learning; to become a trusted partner for learning throughout life and in service; and to promote a Reformed Christian faith that is global, diverse, generous, committed, hospitable, and inspiring.

“I look back over the last 100 years and am grateful to God for the legacy of the college’s great mission in Christian higher education, and I look forward with great expectation to Calvin University’s potential to serve more learners in new ways,” said Michael Le Roy, Calvin’s president. “Our aspiration is to grow our capacity to reach new populations of students and to offer innovative programs shaped by our desire to follow Christ. Becoming a university challenges us to think in new ways about our role as educators in a changing world.”

Committed to the mission

Le Roy says as Calvin transitions to a university, it remains committed to its mission, its liberal arts approach to learning, and student-centered focus. He views these as hallmarks of a Calvin education.

“The mission is, and will always be, at the heart of our aspiration here. And we’re excited that as part of Vision 2030, that our faculty and staff will gain a deeper understanding of this Reformed Christian mission that animates everything we do here,” said Le Roy. “The liberal arts focus will continue to unify our educational approach, and it is clear in talking with current students and alums that the transformational experiences that occurred in their lives at Calvin were because of relationships, so fostering an environment where meaningful relationships are formed will remain central as well.”

The Class of 2019 will be the 99th and final class to graduate from Calvin College (which awarded its first four-year degrees in 1921). The Class of 2020 will be the first to graduate from Calvin University.

For more information on Vision 2030, including the transition to Calvin University, visit

About Calvin 

Founded in 1876, Calvin is a top-ranked, liberal arts institution located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that equips its more than 3,700 students from 45 U.S. states, 65 countries, and five Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin is proud to offer 100+ majors and programs, including graduate-level offerings in accounting, education, and speech pathology and audiology. Calvin students engage in intensive internships, community-based service learning, and significant research that results in publishing and presenting alongside world-class faculty. Discover more at

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