October 17, 2012 | Myrna Anderson

Nine days of celebration will culminate in the inauguration of President Michael K. Le Roy.

Michael K. Le Roy will be officially inaugurated as Calvin College’s 10th president at a Ceremony held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The event will take place at the college’s Van Noord Arena.

Sixty-five delegates—presidents and other representatives of U.S. colleges and universities—will attend the inauguration, and Le Roy will receive prayers, symbolic gifts and words of encouragement from Calvin colleagues,  the broader community: inaugural committee co-chairs Roger Brummel and Claudia Beversluis (Calvin’s provost), Whitworth University president emeritus Bill Robinson, Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga, Calvin board of trustees chair Scott Spoelhof and vice chair Michelle Van Dyke, alumni board president Perrin Rynders, Deputy Director of the CRCNA Peter Borgdorff, Calvin dean for multicultural affairs Michelle Lloyd-Paige, Calvin Chaplain Mary Hulst, members of the college’s faculty and staff, and the president of Calvin’s student senate, Yeaji Choi.

Student involvement

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have been given the chance to express our hopes for President Le Roy,” said Choi, who will represent the student body on the platform. “This significant event is even more meaningful for us students, because we already feel connected to our President, and so we are thrilled to recognize this celebratory occasion with him.”

Choi is one of eight students participating in the inauguration ceremony. Three more will perform in a dance—led by kinesiology professor Julia Start Fletcher—that leads the inaugural procession into the arena, and four Calvin seniors will serve as marshals for the event. The inclusion of students is an intentional departure from the protocol established for college and university inaugurations, said Darlene Meyering, a member of Calvin's inauguration committee: “What guided us is to make this ceremony to be fitting for Michael Le Roy, as he very much has students at heart.”

In many other ways, the ceremony will adhere to the format traditional for college inaugural celebrations. The visiting delegates will head the procession into the arena, and they will be followed in turn by Calvin's board of trustees and the Calvin faculty in full regalia—ranked according to both seniority and status.

“There are many details involved in formal inauguration protocol,” said Donna Joyce, the senior events coordinator for the advancement division. Joyce began researching college inaugurations 18 months ago—just after former Calvin president Gaylen Byker announced his retirement. The Inaugural Committee is drawn from many Calvin departments: the office of the president, the office of the provost, the departments of conferences and campus events, development, physical plant, communications and marketing, multicultural affairs, various academic departments, the president’s cabinet and the board of trustees.

“It’s been a blessing to collaborate with the campus community and plan the many inauguration events,” said Joyce.

The inauguration’s collaborative focus grew from its theme: “Together we offer our hearts to you, Lord.” The committee, with Le Roy, chose the theme to cast a shared vision, Beversluis said: “Michael has shown himself to be a person who places a high value on listening and learning from students, faculty and staff. He truly lives out his belief that vision is created and shared by the entire community in response to God’s call on our lives.”

The buildup

Le Roy began his tenure at Calvin on July 2, 2012, following a 12-month presidential search process. He brings to the office of the president a depth of experience—administrative, academic and scholarly—in Christian higher education.

Before coming to Calvin, Le Roy served as provost and executive vice president at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., and he is credited with helping to build that institution’s academic excellence. His Whitworth colleagues describe him as a sincere man of faith—a leader who values consensus and handles difficult situations with grace and integrity. He is the third of Calvin’s 10 presidents to be formerly inaugurated.

The Inaugural Ceremony is the culmination of Inaugural Week, nine days' worth of festivities that kicked off with a Student Showcase—a musical event where students entertained the Le Roy family with highlights from several perennial student shows—and also includes worship services, inaugural lectures, receptions for faculty and emeriti, an academic poster fair, a delegate and faculty brunch, a music festival and the Inaugural Gala. (See schedule of inauguration events.)

The many people who worked on the many facets of the event are pleased to see the celebration unfold, said Joyce: “Inauguration Week is building in energy and excitement each day.”

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