50 Year Reunion—Class of 1963

Row #1: Mary Venema Swierenga, Beryl Morgan Walkotten, Ward Walkotten, Ruth De Vries Holkeboer, Bernice Schipper Nagelkirk, Nancy Oosting Hardy, Shirley Beversluis Kok, Leonard Donk, Marilyn Brower De Young, Wanda Van Klompenberg, Jean De Kryger Andree, Jeralyn Davids Ryskamp, Jean Riemersma Vander Steen, Janet Meter Bundrick, Jane Ten Brink Loerop, Bea Hofman Hoek

Row #2: David Swierenga, Marlene Knoll Blankespoor, Beryl Dornbos Jansen, Robert Otte, Duard Warsen, Jan Treur, Nancy Daverman Treur, Lorraine Mersbergen Vis, Faith Palmbos Lawson, Joanne Joling Vander Lugt, John Vander Lugt, Judy Guikema Vander May, Jim Vander May, Ken Zylstra, James Achterhof, Jeff Pettinga, Ed Heethuis, Jim Timmer, Jack Koeman, Calvin Vander Meyden

Row #3: Margaret Vander Vate Hamilton, Roseann Dykstra, Dan Vander Ark, William Van Tol, Jeanne Engelhard, Sandy Kamminga Gronsman, Ruth Wassenaar Bos, Beverly Bysterveld Meyer, Henny Pleysier De Roo, Linda Vanderkooi Kredit, Leora Strootman Kredit, Luthene Bruinsma Chappell, Mary Hoogwerf, Norma King Wierenga, Arthur Wierenga, Roger Becksvoort, Lewis De Kryger, Roy Glover, Lois Hoitenga Roelofs, Florine Van Andel Buys

Row #4: Hilda Hoeks Ragon, Judith Hofstra La Fleur, Fred Wind, Jack De Roo, Mary Ann Uken Meyer, John Meyer, Anthony Louwerse, Edward Blankespoor, Sas De Horn Cooper, Marlene Leinse Koster, Vern Steenwyk, Karen Boerman Steenwyk, Berniece Betten Verbrugge, Gordon Buys, Marv Roelofs

Sometimes you simply get the feeling that a particular class or group of alumni is something special. That feeling happened quickly with the Class of ’63, from the ease of recruiting a planning committee to the enthusiasm and creative ideas that flowed from the leaders to the number of reservations that flooded the alumni office from the start.

In all, the Class of ’63 broke alumni association records for the number (182) and percentage (36%) of class members attending, and for the overall attendance at the event (274).

“This was a reunion like no other reunion I have attended before,” noted class member Nelson Miedema, who also emceed the evening program. “The speakers were tremendous, and the Meistersingers entertained in richer tones than I can ever remember. The stories of the alumni were inspiring; they made me so proud to be a Calvin alum and gave us a Christ-filled memory of our professors.”

The speakers Miedema referred to were class members invited to tell their vocational journey after graduating 50 years ago. Roy Glover, Pete and Jan Lanser, and Richard Grevengoed gave stirring testimonies. Glover talked about his work at the University of Michigan with polymer preserved bodies for medical study and research (which has grown into the nationally known “Bodies Revealed” exhibition).

The Lansers shared their family business and ministry story, providing clean water to Nigerian villages. And Grevengoed gave an emotional rendering of his life as an agent for change in race relations.

Later in the evening program, the Meistersingers made a glorious return, filling the Great Hall of the Prince Center with songs such as “The Halls of Ivy” and “Aura Lee.”

The Saturday chapel service featured a homily by class member Bill Van Tol, with Lois Sterk Miller serving as liturgist and Pete Tigchelaar as soloist. After the service, the class was given their medallions and participated in the college’s commencement ceremonies in the Van Noord Arena.

Dan Vander Ark wrote the traditional message to the graduating Class of 2013 and in it told the new Calvin graduates that “our Class of 1963 prays that you will stand on Christ the Rock as the hope for all of your life and the anchor of your soul while social sands swirl. The world will grab at your shirt; the Word will keep you tethered to your faith.” (Read the complete message below.)

The Class of ’63 now joins the Heritage Class, which has an annual reunion on campus in June. The upcoming 50-year Class of ’64 will have its celebration on Calvin’s 2014 Commencement Weekend, May 23-24.


(from the Commencement program)

Dear Calvin College Class of 2013:

Greetings from the Class of 1963 and congratulations on your graduation.

Times have changed. Fifty years ago our commencement ceremony was in the Civic Auditorium downtown. In our senior year, Knollcrest was still mainly a farm, but the first-year students were taking their classes on this campus for the first time in one classroom building, and living in two dorm complexes with the dining hall in between. The place was mainly mud from construction; now it is an arbor.

For us as we graduated, our world was nearly as serene as Calvin’s landscape is now: blooming bushes, green grass for sunning, and winter gone. Most of us found jobs or went to graduate school. There were, though, omens of change: a Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, social protest songs, and racial divisions. Within a decade, what we thought was a land of dreams became a land of racial riots, Vietnam protests, and “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” which we now were.

What you will face as the Class of 2013 is daunting. Christopher Smith’s Souls in Transition describes a social landscape for those in their 20s or
30s that is foreboding: experimenting, hooking up, living at home or out there and back again, working a little in a variety of jobs, wandering from faith, and the like. That’s why our Class of 1963 prays that you will stand on Christ the Rock as the hope for all of life and the anchor of your soul while social sands swirl. The world will grab at your shirt; the Word will keep you tethered to the Truth.

God has given you roots at Calvin: a really strong biblical worldview; internships in connecting this faith to life, as far away as China and as close as campus chapel; and developed answers to questions such as “What in the world am I doing here?” It’s a good time to be grateful to God for this. But it’s also a time to look forward, to be strong—to be daring and willing to suffer, even—and to bring Christ’s love to a whole world. This commitment starts with “I give my heart to you, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.”

The Class of 1963 believes you are well prepared, well rooted, to bear fruit in Christ’s kingdom, serving him and others. Take this promise with you: “God will hold him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on him” (Isaiah 26:3). Take this humble prayer too: “Lord, help me till gratefully / The plot of ground you gave to me.”

Dan Vander Ark
for the Class of 1963