Spark readers: We are no longer printing newcomers and marriages in the Class Notes section of Spark. This section will emphasize the service, vocational and Calvin reunion stories of graduates, along with “In Memoriam” notices. We have found over the past few years that Facebook and other social media sources have increasingly become the primary place where friends share personal celebrations.

However, the alumni association remains interested in knowing about these important family milestones. Please continue to send them to, and in return, we’ll send you a whimsical Calvin bib (for babies) or a beautiful Calvin chapel window nightlight (for marriages).


(graduated more than 50 years ago)

Hudson Nyenhuis ’47 enjoyed a 30-year career as director of Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. He continues to encourage the Bethany staff from a “retired distance” and serves on a care committee at the Holland Home, reaching out to those needing special support. He adds that he is “keeping his professional training in social work well lubricated.”

Henry “Hank” Zuiderveen ’58 and wife Verla continue to volunteer near and far from home. Hank served as a principal of Calvin Christian High School, and Verla was a registered nurse. Locally, the Zuiderveens serve at their church, at area schools and for the Grand Rapids Symphony; globally, they have cared for orphans in Romania and taught English in Cuba.

Dennis Tolsma ’61 is retiring—again—after 11 years as the consulting director and senior scientific adviser at Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. Kaiser had coaxed Dennis to rebuild its research center after he had retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta after a 31-year career as a public health administrator.

Rosalie Bronkema Rosenfeld ’52, who is retired in Florida, has hand knit 541 sweaters (so far) for children in need through, which distributes worldwide through WorldVision. “I also crocheted some sweaters and made some baby blankets, but the sweaters go faster, thanks to European-style knitting, maybe inherited from my Old Country grandmother,” she wrote.

Gloria Goris Stronks ’57, emerita professor of education, has co-authored a book with her daughter, Julia Stronks. Teaching to Justice, Citizenship and Civic Virtue: The Character of a High School Through the Eyes of Faith considers how students learn and what students need in order to determine what God is requiring of them.


Eltjen Flikkema ’66 was honored by Drury University in Springfield, Mo., for 39 years of service to the school as a professor of German, director of admissions, assistant dean and chair of the languages department. He was the first director of Drury’s honors program. In retirement, he and wife Jerri have been volunteering with the Ozarks Food Harvest, a large food distribution center that serves about 30 counties in Missouri and northern Arkansas.


Steven Cooke ’77 recently completed an 11-year consulting contract in the Middle East and now is semi-retired on a coconut plantation in the Philippines. He continues chemistry teaching activities and consulting online while working with local residents to improve economic opportunities and sustainable agriculture in the region.

Jim De Boer ’78 has been adjunct associate professor of music at Hope College (Holland, Mich.) for the past 12 years. In January 2016, after a 30-year career teaching music, most recently at Holland (Mich.) Public Schools, Jim was also appointed director of “The Awakening Institute,” a summer program for high school students interested in worship and the arts, funded by a $500,000 grant from the Lilly Foundation. Jim also serves his community by directing choir and technology at First Reformed Church in Zeeland.

Nancy Bushhouse De Boer ’76 was elected mayor of Holland, Mich., in November 2015. Nancy has served on the city council for 10 years and is now the first female mayor of the city. Nancy also is the executive director of the West Michigan Character Council.

Susan Schneider Hasseler ’77 has been appointed as the 21st president of Muskingum University (New Concord, Ohio). She will take office July 1, 2016. She most recently served as senior vice president for academic affairs at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D. Previously, Susan was a professor of education at Calvin and served as associate dean for undergraduate and graduate teacher education.

Robert Ottenhoff ’70 is president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining CDP, Bob spent a decade as president and CEO of GuideStar, an industry leader in the use of providing high-quality data to help donors make better decisions and improve nonprofit practice. While there, Bob developed a sustainable business model that supports free and fee-based services to more than 10 million users.

Robert Pauw ’74 is a founding partner of Gibbs Houston Pauw in Seattle, Wash. Since 1983 he has successfully represented thousands of individuals and businesses in immigration cases. He has extensive experience in all aspects of immigration law and is nationally known for his focus on immigration-related litigation.


Howard Bushouse ’80 has spent the past 23 years working as an astronomer and programmer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md. The institute is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope and soon to become the mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is on schedule for launch in late 2018. Over the years he has designed and implemented software used to process, calibrate and analyze data for several Hubble science instruments, including leading the effort at Goddard Space Flight Center to validate the scientific operation and readiness of the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument before it was launched and installed in Hubble in 2009. He now leads the software team that’s developing the calibration software pipelines for all five science instruments that will be on the James Webb. These software systems put the images and spectra coming from the telescopes into a form that’s ready for astronomer analysis. His personal research activities over the past several years have concentrated on studying the rapidly varying emission from the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, trying to better understand the physical processes involved as matter is accreted onto (“eaten by”) the black hole.

Jack Van Coevering ’80 has joined Foster Swift’s Grand Rapids office as an attorney focusing in the areas of state and local tax, where he assists municipalities with complex property tax cases and taxpayers in state business tax disputes. Prior to joining Foster Swift, Jack served as chief judge and chairman of the Michigan Tax Tribunal and engaged in private practice. He has also authored chapters in Real Property Tax Appeals in Michigan (ICLE, 2010) and taught advanced property tax classes at Cooley Law School. Jack has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for tax law litigation and controversy from 2013–2016 and Lawyer of the Year for 2014.


Catherine DeWitt-DeVries ’91 has been working in the Christian publishing industry for 25 years, starting with a 17-year tenure at Zondervan in Grand Rapids, learning about publishing from the ground up. This was followed by time in Nashville to work on The Common English Bible, a new translation from United Methodist Publishing House, which is now in the top-10 selling Bible translations. In 2010, she moved with her family to Colorado Springs, Colo., to join David C. Cook, a Christian books and media company, as an editorial manager over Sunday School curriculum. Her latest project, the Action Bible Study Bible ESV, is a finalist for the 2016 Christian Book Awards from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

After more than 20 years as a government relations professional, Mark Lemoine ’93 has launched his own consulting services endeavor, Fifth Level Ventures LLC, based in Rockford, Mich. He plans to provide assistance in the areas of business development, community engagement and public policy analysis. Mark had been the systems director for government affairs for Spectrum Health.

Tami VandenBerg ’97 is the executive director of Grand Rapids-based nonprofit Well House, which recently announced it has hit a major “100-person” milestone. Since VandenBerg joined the nonprofit in January 2013, 103 people have been moved off the streets into safe, low-cost and permanent housing, with 91 percent of those individuals not returning to homelessness.


Anthony Minnema ’05 studied history, medieval studies and Latin at Calvin and completed his PhD in European history at the University of Tennessee. He is currently a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer at Valparaiso University in Indiana. His areas of research and teaching interest include premodern Christian-Muslim relations, Arabic-to-Latin translation movements and the history of information technology.

David Gebben ’01 works for RTI Health Solutions in Durham, N.C., as a research statistician in health economics. Gebben has a degree in economics from Calvin, a master’s from Michigan State and a PhD from Colorado State. Prior to his work at RTI, he served as a teacher in the Dominican Republic, an intern at World Renew’s Source of Hope in Haiti and a research associate on invasive species at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Elías Ortega-Aponte ’02, assistant professor of Afro-Latino/a religions and cultural studies at Drew Theological School (Madison, N.J.), was honored as a 2015 Justice-Building Innovator by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Justice-Building Innovators are recognized for improving the capacity and effectiveness of United Universalist congregations and their parishioners to engage in sustained justice work. They will undertake a unique project that’s geared to meet the needs and vision of the host congregation or partner group.

Jacqueline Klamer ’08 is the co-author of From Aid to Trade: How Aid Organizations, Businesses, and Governments Can Work Together, Lessons Learned from Haiti. The book confronts the inadequacies of current foreign aid strategies and offers a clear means of economic and personal growth for individuals seeking a positive future for Haiti and other developing countries. Jacqueline has worked in business development for nearly a decade with experience throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Anissa Adkins Eddie ’05 has been appointed the process facilitator and project manager for KConnect, an organization doing collaborative impact work for the Kent County Family and Children’s Coordinating Council. She will be facilitating meetings that include representatives from a variety of community organizations who are working to improve outcomes for children as they relate to educational achievement and economic prosperity.

Aaron Winkle ’00 has been named head of school at Living Stones Academy in Grand Rapids. He had been serving as an associate chaplain at Calvin College.

Erin Connelly ’04, a Calvin biology major, received her PhD in English from the University of Nottingham (England) in December. She is completing the first edition of a medieval medical text called the Lylye of Medicynes. It is the only extant Middle English translation of Bernard of Gordon’s Latin Lilium Medicinae (1305). She has transcribed and edited the 245 folios of the manuscript over the past three years (equal to 665 pages of word-processed text). The edition of the Lylye of Medicynes is in the final stages of completion for publication. Furthermore, this work is connected with novel research into the efficacy of medieval ingredients to combat infectious disease, which holds great promise for the development of new methods to fight antibiotic-resistant microbes. Two of the Lylye’s recipes are being tested by the AncientBiotics team at the University of Nottingham (an interdisciplinary team of medievalists and scientists), and preliminary data show encouraging results.

Emily Rattray Wenstrom ’07 (E. J. Wenstrom) has published her first novel, Mud: Chronicles of the Third Realm World. It’s a dystopian fantasy novel that borrows heavily from both Greek mythology and Judeo-Christian tradition for a story that has been described as “primal,” “brave” and “reverent.”

Brent Seely ’09 is the director of Urban Light, a nonprofit in Chiang Mai, Thailand, that seeks to prevent sex trafficking. On a rare break from his work and engaged in a favorite recreational activity—mountain hiking—he turned a trail corner on Mount Kinabalu on the island in Borneo in Malaysia and saw a hiker in a Calvin College shirt. The hiker was Calvin senior Colin O’Brien ’16, on Christmas break with his family in the Philippines and also on a mountain excursion.


Jeffrey Bloem ’13 is currently a student in Michigan State University’s department of agricultural, food and resource economics. He is also a research assistant at MSU with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy project in Burma (Myanmar), funded by USAID. He blogs regularly at

On a recent flight from Charlotte, N.C., to Detroit, Mich., Issac Vis ’11 struck up a conversation with a random fellow passenger seated next to him (Matt Greeley ’15).

“He was traveling from Charlotte to Detroit to catch his connection to Madison, Wis.,” wrote Vis. “I was headed to Grand Rapids. He told me he was originally from Midland, Mich., but he graduated from Calvin College. This was the first time we started freaking out. The nearby passengers heard our commotion over the strange coincidence. If that wasn’t strange enough, we found out we had many mutual friends and were even at some of the same events throughout the past four to five years. The craziest part is that we were both RAs—on the same floor (2nd VanDellen)—just four years apart!

“The rest of the flight was spent telling hilarious RA stories. We stopped every so often and relished in the fact that these coincidences are beautiful, and we’ll remember it forever.”