December 31, 2023 | Matt Kucinski

The 2023 calendar year was full of national honors, award-winning films, new programs, and new varsity teams at Calvin University. As 2024 approaches, we look back at the Top Ten most shared News & Stories articles in 2023.

10. A Visit to Campus Turns Parent into Professor

When Rocky Chang escorted his daughter back to college, he didn’t anticipate he’d be joining her on campus a year later. His visit proved fruitful, and his calling seemed undeniable. Now, he’s doing something he’s never been able to do before in his 30-year teaching career: integrate his faith and his teaching.

9. One Class Leads to Course Correction

Fifteen years ago, Tyler Greenway experienced his first semester as a student at Calvin and a single class caused him to make a course correction. This fall, he began his first semester as a professor at his alma mater. His office is next door to the professor who taught that class.

8. Flipping the Script Unlocks Stories of Transformation

While Nate Roels ‘17 started at Calvin in 2013 as a business major, he soon discovered a deeper passion for film and media. So, he flipped the script, switched his major to a minor and pursued filmmaking. His documentary “Behind Our Walls” made its debut on the big screen in July 2023.

7. Calvin University Appoints New Chief Diversity Officer

A Calvin University search committee selected Nygil Likely as the institution’s next chief diversity officer. Likely previously served as vice president of student affairs at Lake Michigan College.

6. Calvin Grad Named National History Teacher of the Year

Matt Vriesman became hooked on history at Calvin. For the past 15 years, he’s helping high school students get hooked too. In 2023, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is honoring him as its National History Teacher of the Year.

5. Calvin University Announces Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Program

The launching of the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence program provides students, faculty, and staff unique opportunities to learn from and forge relationships with top-tier literary talents.

4. Calvin University in High Demand, Setting Multiple Enrollment Records

Calvin University welcomes more than 1,000 incoming students for the 2023-2024 academic year, representing a 15% year-on-year increase in the incoming class. The diversity of learners choosing Calvin also set university records.

3. Scott Rush Named Professor of the Year

Scott Rush, associate professor of business at Calvin is the 2023 Professor of the Year. The award is granted by the Student Alumni Association on behalf of the senior class to honor a faculty member who has made an impact on the lives of his or her students.

2. Calvin University Announces First Head Football Coach

Trent Figg is the first head coach in Calvin University football history. Figg came to Calvin from the University of Oregon, where he served as the football program’s senior offensive analyst.

1. Calvin University Selects First Vice President for Marketing and Communications

The most shared story in 2023 features La’Leatha Spillers being selected as the vice president for marketing and communications. Spillers brings 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, fundraising, and public relations and is leading a newly created division in an effort to help the university advance its reputation and better tell its story.

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