Bart Bolt '93 had never even picked up a lacrosse stick before coming to Calvin. But as an upperclassman he captained the team, and as a Calvin alumnus his passion for the sport continues. More than two decades later, he is still involved in the game and coaches his son’s lacrosse team in Southern California.
This pursuit that began at Calvin also helped Bart and his wife, Melissa Wierenga Bolt ’95, introduce Calvin to Andrew Peterson, a blossoming lacrosse athlete and Bart’s assistant at different lacrosse practices and clinics.
Knowing that lacrosse was central to Andrew and that he was open to going to school in the Midwest, Bart and Melissa encouraged him throughout his college search by mentioning Calvin in conversation and suggesting that Andrew consider their alma mater as an option.
While Melissa enjoyed the social life at Calvin—especially the mix of students’ backgrounds and the events and friends she found there—it was the quality of the education that impressed her. While pursuing her master of social work, for example, she was familiar with the material and succeeded when she noticed other students were struggling.
“Calvin really prepared me much better than I even realized,” she recalled.
For Bart, Calvin lacrosse’s recent varsity status gave him something to talk about with Andrew.
The combination of excellent academics, a vibrant campus life and serious lacrosse team led the Bolts to encourage the Petersons to attend a Calvin event held at their church, Solana Beach Presbyterian. At the event, the Bolts introduced Peterson to Becky Kim, Calvin’s regional admissions counselor, and Bob Terpstra, a friend of the Bolts and development officer for Calvin. Later on, Peterson met men’s lacrosse coach Dave Hoger, who pursued Peterson as a recruit for the team. The resulting relationships inspired Andrew to enroll at Calvin as a member of the Class of 2021.
“It’s interesting how God works,” Melissa said. “It’s not about us and what we say, but simply putting options out there. Then Calvin can make people feel wanted.”
Relationships played a key role in attracting Andrew to Calvin. While multiple colleges were interested, it was personal attention from those who know Calvin—alumni, family and friends—that drew Andrew, appreciating that Calvin would be a good fit with his interests.
Andrew Peterson is one of hundreds of Calvin students who first heard about the college through someone they know, not through a pamphlet or college fair. As alumni and friends of the college, you, too, have stories and experiences to share that could make a difference in the life of a future student. And putting that option in front of a young person you know might embolden them to consider Calvin.