May 02, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

From the perspective of a graduate: A student in cap and gown at podium on stage.
On April 29, 2023, student body president Nain Miranda Duarte '23 provided an inspirational address to the graduating class.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, 804 students representing 75 different areas of study were celebrated as graduates of Calvin University in front of a full 4,500-seat Van Noord Arena. While the 148th Commencement in the history of Calvin included many of the traditional elements, it also featured a few novel moments.

Global Commencement Speaker


Dr. Akinwumi Adesina delivered the Commencement Address. In doing so, he became the first international guest to provide the main remarks at a Calvin Commencement ceremony. Adesina is the world-renowned president of the African Development Bank Group and he called the Class of 2023, a class that hails from dozens of countries and U.S. states, to “Be God’s Instrument of Change” throughout their lives.

Calvin University grads through and through


The Class of 2023 is the first graduating class to both begin and end their journey at the institution under the last name “university.” Calvin changed its last name from “college” to “university” in July 2019.

Quadruple the celebration


The Martinez Vasquez family had multiple reasons to celebrate on Saturday. Four to be exact. David, Elaine, Misael, and Naty—the first quadruplets born in west Michigan—all graduated from Calvin University on the same day. It was a proud moment for their parents, including their mom, Maria Rodriguez, who also donned a cap and gown for the occasion as a professor of Spanish at Calvin University. See their story on FOX 17, WOODTV, and WZZM.

Inspirational and emotional student address


In addition to firsts, a highlight of the event was the inspiring remarks of student body president Nain Miranda Duarte. The 2023 grad chronicled his impossible journey to graduation day, a journey that began in the slums of Managua, Nicaragua, his family of seven living on $1.67 per day. Duarte, who earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting, paused multiple times to compose himself as he reflected on God’s grace and people’s generosity in moments when the impossible became reality, including the moment when an additional scholarship, “The Central America Scholarship,” made coming to Calvin possible.

He then ended with this charge to his classmates:

“Class of 2023, it is my turn now, it is your turn now, it is our turn to be the hands and feet of God. It is our turn to embody the grace of God through generosity, it is our turn to make impossible dreams a reality!”

Duarte returned to his seat, with the entire auditorium standing in applause. He is joining EY (Ernst & Young) this summer as a technology risk consultant.

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