Each year the Calvin Alumni Association honors a former Calvin faculty member with the Faith and Learning Award. The criteria for selection includes excellence in teaching, spiritual inspiration, concern for students, and lasting influence.
A product of Eastern Christian High School in New Jersey, Arden Post ’65 had several friends who attended Calvin, and that was where she wanted to go. After two years at a Montclair State University in New Jersey, she transferred to Calvin, and she’s glad she did because it was there that she received her bachelor’s degree in education and met her husband, Jack.
After graduation, she and Jack eventually ended up in Cincinnati, where she applied to a PhD program in education at the University of Cincinnati. Jack’s work later transferred their family to Grand Rapids and led Post back to Calvin. Shortly after the move, there was an opening in Calvin’s education department; she applied and was hired.
It was surreal for her to return to Calvin and teach with former professors such as Phil Lucasse, who was chair of the education department but whom Post had known as Jack’s swim coach. After getting past the initial awkwardness of their new relationships, Post was warmly accepted by her new colleagues.
When asked her favorite class to teach, she says, “All of them! I learned many things from my students just by observing, interacting, and teaching them. I learned that one can overcome many issues in life. Students that come to Calvin are highly motivated, and I appreciated that.” She loved taking Calvin students to Alexander Elementary School in Grand Rapids, where they read with the students. “We were trying to inspire them to think about college for their future,” she said.
She strived to know her students personally through information they shared in writing, the advising she did with them, or through conversations outside of the classroom. “I’d try to pick up on sadness or changes in attitudes students were having and then reach out to students if I saw concerns,” she said. She would often connect deeply with students who had been adopted. An adoptee herself as well as the mother of an adopted son, Post was often referred other students by professors who thought she could help based on her experiences.
In all her conversations and all she does, she looks to Jesus for guidance: “My faith is my whole life. My outlook is Jesus is my Savior, what would he have me do on Earth?” Her faith led her through Jack’s terminal cancer journey and continues to lead her in retirement as she felt called to continue working with children alongside a former student, Rachel DeHaan ’96, in her second-grade class at Bradenton Christian in Florida and also in the first-grade class at Samoset Elementary.
Post made her students feel special. Former alumni board president Twana Davis ’93 recalls discovering how pervasive this feeling as. “I remember several weeks into my reading methods class with Dr. Post. I was in a conversation with some other education students, which went something like this: ‘I’m her favorite,’ ‘No, I’m her favorite.’ It was in that moment that I discovered that I was one of hundreds of ‘special’ Calvin education students who was blessed enough to be taught by this remarkable teacher whose effusive verve breathed life into every literary piece discussed, whose humble, engaging, Christ-centered approach to teaching was what each of her students strived to emulate.”
Davis was inspired by Post’s enthusiasm: “Her passion for teaching was contagious. I wanted to catch her teacher fever. Her door was always open and a ready smile always greeted you after class if you approached with questions or wanted to chat for just a bit longer. We never felt rushed in conversation with her, even as the next group of favored students gathered outside.”
Post notes that “receiving this award was a surprise to me. I think of the giants who have received this, and I am humbled; I’m honored; and I ask God to show me how this award may be used by me or through me as a I consider my future life.”