As the Calvin Alumni Association board convened this October, president Perrin Rynders ’82 let the members know that the meeting marked a new beginning for the association and the college.

“We have a new president at the college and a new strategic plan to begin,” said Rynders, an attorney from Grand Rapids. “We’ve changed our board meeting structure to account for them both—and I hope you will notice that we are responsible for driving the plan forward.”

Rynders was referring to the shift from a traditional committee structure, with representation from the association and the college, to working groups—a task-force format of alumni-led sessions that relate directly to the association’s five-year strategic plan themes of “connect, support and inspire.”

Board members received general information from college officials in a plenary report delivery so that alumni leaders were all hearing the same information and could engage administrators with questions and dialogue.

In October, board members met in working groups related to the admissions office ReCommend program, faculty engagement, spiritual inspiration, alumni association revenues, student-alumni relations programs, alumni communications and career networking.

Anticipated new activities for the year include the Chicago Career Fair (spearheaded by board member Russ Clousing II ’87), an alumni reception at the Festival of Faith and Writing, a year-end celebration event for pre-law students getting into law school, and a second volume of alumni devotionals, a reprise of the popular 2000 book My Heart I Offer.

The board is led this year by Rynders and Jessica Rooks Westra ’94, a public relations professional from Holland, Mich., and Pam Haralakova Marmon ’05, a business consultant from Seattle, Wash. 

Eight new members joined the board at this meeting. They are Charles Ash ’95, an attorney from Grand Rapids; Luci Bosch Draayer ’76, a medical administrator from Denver, Colo.; Rodrigo Farach ’07, a businessman from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Doug Jorritsma ’87, a businessman from Redlands, Calif.; Carol Vanden Bosch Rottman ’60, an author from Greenville, Mich.; Chris Wiesehan ’05, a business analyst from Chicago, Ill.; Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom ’93, a nonprofit analyst from Ann Arbor, Mich.; and John Wynbeek ’77, a nonprofit executive from Grand Rapids.

Board members had the chance to spend an extended time with new college president Michael Le Roy, who shared some initial impressions of Calvin and explained the coming college strategic planning process, which will include the alumni board in particular and alumni in general.

In the late hours of Friday and early hours of Saturday during the board sessions, members participated in a K4L (Knights for Life) midnight breakfast event in the Commons, with alumni serving the meal and handing out K4L sipper cups to sophomores. Sophs have been at Calvin for over one year and are now technically members of the alumni association.

“Calvin Alumni Association board members are doers who want their time to be highly productive for the benefit of the college and its 60,000 alumni,” said Rynders.

The board convenes on campus again during uKnight Weekend, Feb. 14–16, 2013.