The Calvin Alumni Association board met in early October and emphasized the support of establishing stronger college-related networks between alumni themselves and with the institution.

“Two words describe the year ahead: transition and connection,” said board president Jon Kuyers ’89.

“Transition relates to the new strategic plan we are working on and that a new president is coming to Calvin College. Both realities demand that our board be forward thinking, creative and visionary this year,” he said.

“In addition, we understand that for the association to be strong and for the college to benefit from the expertise of its alumni, we need to be better connected—as alumni to alumni and alumni to the college,” said Kuyers. “Our effort this year will be focused on that goal.”

Kuyers, a business executive from Pella, Iowa, is joined on the alumni board executive committee by Perrin Rynders ’82, an attorney from Grand Rapids, and Marla Ehlers ’89, the assistant director of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Eight new members joined the board at this meeting. See the current roster.

The board heard a presentation from Brian Bolt, chair of the football feasibility task force, and had a lively dialogue on the pros and cons of football at Calvin. Also in plenary, the board voted to take a new look at the number of awards the association gives (currently three—Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Service, and Faith and Learning) and the process of nominating and selecting people for these honors.

Reports from the presidential search and association strategic planning committees were also discussed. Benita Samuel ’05 represents the board on the search effort, and the strategic planning group is comprised of current and former alumni board members. That group met in Chicago in September and plans to do so again in February.

In committee, board members assigned to alumni programs discussed rebranding chapters with the name “the Calvin network” to emphasize the importance of alumni connections at regional gatherings. In addition, a Calvin phone app was previewed; another committee looked at a proposal to promote a Calvin license plate in Michigan.

In partnership with the career development office, ideas for a Chicago Career Fair were discussed. Board members meeting with admissions and development staff brainstormed ways to promote high school student visits to campus and alumni giving to the annual fund. The faculty engagement committee will be working on a reception for alumni at the Faith and Writing Festival in April. In the student and young alumni area, First Knight, the event for sophomores officially welcoming them into the alumni association, was a highlight, and there was conversation about developing a series of young alumni themed events in the cities with the largest Calvin young alum residents.