Your Editor’s Desk “Prof and Student” (spring 2017) resonated with me. First, the influence of a teacher with a student is very powerful, and I was happy to read about the work of Kevin den Dulk (political science) as he and I were roommates our senior year. And I know of the influence of my buddies Jeff Winkle (former Classics) with his interim trips to Greece, and the passion Steve Staggs (history) brings to his teaching and work with students.
Second, your concluding story about your own son and his professor from eight years ago caused me to reflect. You see, this spring marks 25 years since my graduation from Calvin, and on most days something about my Calvin experience still crosses my mind. Many of these professors from my time have retired, but their influence is lifelong. I recently emailed Dr. Gary Schmidt (English) looking for recommendations for a “One Book, One School” title. Mrs. Pat Oostenink (education) upon completion of student teaching gave us tiny rubber ducks to remind us to “keep our ducks in a row.” These ducks (and her encouragement) have followed me in many classrooms and offices, even to this day. Dr. Yvonne Van Ee (education) and I exchange cards and updates at Christmas. Dr. Arden Post (education) and I recently spoke on the phone. I was stunned when she recalled not only the school where I had my first practicum, but also the name of the teacher with whom I worked, 28 years later. With Dick Wilkins in the PE equipment room is where I worked for four years, making popcorn and selling pop at basketball games, and where many great friendships developed. Dr. Jan Koop (mathematics) modeled for me and drew out in me a passion for math education. I could go on very easily.
Third, you write about the “countless conversations with prospective families.” I am reminded that at some point during orientation, my mom had the opportunity to speak with Chaplain Dale Cooper, who gave her reassurance that she spoke of for years to come.
The influence of my professors— professionally and spiritually—cannot be measured. I am who I am; I think the way I think; my passion for my work and my work ethic are results of my time at Calvin. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to attend Calvin.
—Tim Bickhart ’92
Maple Glen, Pennsylvania