(graduated more than 50 years ago)

Jerry Talen ’49 has been organizing a get together for the classes of ’48 and ’49 every year for 30 years. This year they gathered May 28 for a fish boil at Cherry Point Market in Shelby, Mich. Seated: Emma Kuipers Talen ‘48, Bette DeBruyn Bosma ‘48, Miriam Cooke Schaafsma ‘48, Wayne Dornbush ‘49, Corrine Kass ‘49. Holding the sign: Talen and his grandson Kemal Talen ‘16 who graduated 68 years after his grandfather.

Dennis ’58 and Jeni Plooy Hoekstra ’57 continue their ministry to the people of Kenya. Denny helped build a demonstration and training farm to teach farmers zero-grazing and using silage. Jeni teaches computer skills to young people and collects laptops to send to Kenya for these students. If the students learn basic typing, Word and Excel, they get to keep the laptops. This spring, the Hoekstras took their 24th trip to Kenya and planned to go again in the late summer.

In 1948 the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Johannes Morsink ’63 has written a new book to make the point that the language of human rights is a valid one to address the world’s disputes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Challenge of Religion (U. of Missouri Press, 2017) was published to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR adoption. Johannes is emeritus professor of political philosophy at Drew University. He lives in Madison, N.J.

Marilou De Wall Kratzenstein ’59 recently completed 60-plus years as a church organist and choir director. Upon graduating from Calvin, she studied organ in Paris before returning to the U.S. for advanced degrees. Her first appointment was at Calvin. This was followed by numerous faculty positions and church music positions. She also played recital tours in Europe, U.S. and Mexico and authored several professional articles and books. Upon retiring as professor of organ from the University of Northern Iowa in 2002, she moved to San Diego where she continued performing as church organist until arthritis in her hands forced her to quit. In her retirement Marilou has undertaken various volunteer activities—tutoring refugee children in San Diego, plus working in Guatemala in Quiche Indian villages.


Richard Sjoerdsma ’62 was honored with the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Ohio State University School of Music. The recognition was based on his multifaceted career as a scholar, teacher, performer and editor. The latter refers to his continuing position as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Singing, an international journal on voice. He is also professor emeritus of music at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wis., following a 39-year tenure there.

Henry Baron ’60 is the translator of a new book The Comfort Bird by Hylke Speerstra (Mokeham, 2017). Speerstra is one of the most acclaimed authors to write in the Frisian language of the Northern Netherlands. The Comfort Bird follows the experiences of two real families from a small town in the Northern Netherlands. One family moves across the ocean to seek their fortune on the American Prairies. The second family is too rooted in the old country to emigrate. They keep their head above water by performing seasonal work in Germany. In a strange twist of fate, World War II brings the families together again, on opposing sides of the conflict.


Timothy Hoekman ’76 was the featured composer at a chamber music concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 10, 2017. Students and alumni of Florida State University, where he teaches, performed several of his works, including two song cycles, two pieces of vocal chamber music, an opera excerpt and the premiere of a movement from his oratorio “Prophet Songs.”

Jan (Jon) Lawrence DeWaal ’78 is director of education at Eagle Ranch School in Georgia. Eagle Ranch is a therapeutic ministry that helps make life better for at-risk children and their families, positively affecting communities for the glory of God. The organization’s name comes from Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Students live on the ranch for 18 to 24 months, attend grades six through nine at Eagle Ranch School, and with their families receive counseling and therapy.

Glenn Visbeen ’75 of Franklin, Tenn., and his friend, Cal Tigchelaar ’75 of Chicago, recently made a reunion trip with Calvin friends. Dennis Sikkema ’75 of Grand Rapids joined them. The three flew to California and made several stops, ending in Lynden, Wash. At each stop they reunited with friends from their days in Beets Hall and their rented house at 76 Diamond N.E. They called this “The Epic Beets Hall, 76 Diamond Air Tour.” Pictured (from left): Dan Haan ’75, Dennis Sikkema ’75, Cal Tigchelaar ’75, Diederik Bron ’75, Glenn Visbeen ’75, Jon Bron ’74, Gail DeBoer DeHoog ’74, Kent DeHoog ’75, Bryan Brink ’74. Others they connected with were Stan Winters ’75, Steve Opperwall ’77 and Bill Eppinga ’76.

Douglas Brouwer ’75 is the author of How to Become a Multicultural Church (Eerdmans, 2017). In 2014 Doug became pastor of the International Protestant Church in Zurich, Switzerland, a multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural church. In his book, Doug distills the lessons he has learned from that experience, offering wisdom on such issues as language barriers, theological differences and cultural stereotypes.


Mark Gurley ’88 was elected to the Michigan Republican Party as the grassroots vice-chair in February 2017. He will be looking to recruit principled delegates to the party who will adhere to the national GOP platform. In addition, he will be a voice for the grassroots to the party leaders and Republican lawmakers in Lansing. In addition, Mark is also the co-director of the Michigan Oak Initiative, a faithbased organization to restore a biblical worldview to all facets of culture.

Bill Boerman-Cornell ’88 has published Graphic Novels in High School and Middle School Classrooms: A Disciplinary Literacies Approach. Bill co-wrote the book with Mike Manderino and Jung Kim. It is a guide for teachers and teacher-educators to use graphic novels to teach English, history, science, mathematics and other academic disciplines. Bill received his PhD from the University of Illinois in 2012 and is a professor of education at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill.

Organists, former classmates and longtime friends Darlene Kuperus ’86 and Larry Visser ’89 presented a duo-keyboard recital last May to a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 700 at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. Both are graduates of the University of Michigan School of Music and active church musicians. Darlene is associate director of music and organist at First United Methodist Church in Plymouth, Mich., and Larry is minister of music and organist at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, where he has served for 18 years. The recital was part of a series of concerts celebrating the 20th anniversary of the church’s five-manual, 108-rank Austin-Allen organ, a gift from members Richard and Helen DeVos.

Lisa DeBoer ’88, professor of the history of art at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., has written Visual Arts in the Worshiping Church (Eerdmans, 2016). Her book is intended to deepen the thinking of pastors, worship leaders, artists, students and laypeople regarding what the arts might do in the midst of their congregations.