(graduated more than 50 years ago)

Widely published and well known for his academic writing on the music of the late 17th and 18th centuries, Leon Plantinga ’57 has written a new book on Beethoven for general audiences. Titled Simply Beethoven, the book will be released this fall. For more than 40 years, Leon was a member of the music faculty at Yale University.

Seek and Explore: Devotions for Kids, a new book by alum and education professor emerita Yvonne Hoekstra an Ee ’63, walks kids through all the books of the Bible in a year. Co-authored with Calvin Theological Seminary emeritus Michael Williams, the book offers hands-on activities to keep 6-to-10-year-old kids engaged. At Calvin, Yvonne helped shape both the early childhood and elementary teacher education programs. She’s written curricula for many organizations, including Christian Schools International and the Van Andel Education Institute. The book is available through the Calvin Campus Store and its publisher, Zondervan.

On a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with a group from Highlands, Texas, Henny Hoogendyk Bulten ’68 noticed that the young woman guiding their work had a Calvin sticker on her water cup. That young woman turned out to be McKinley Lewandowski ’17. McKinley is a missions team leader for Vision Trust and has worked in several countries. She happened to be in Santo Domingo for nine weeks during the time Henny’s church group came to serve. As Henny said, “What a providential meeting for Calvin grads in an unlikely place!”

A Love Big Enough to Share is the true story of four women whose lives surprisingly, miraculously intersect through an infant’s adoption. Each of the four women, including adoptive mother Mary Beth Bouwman Roedema ’67, offers her perspective on what was, in 1972, a closed, confidential adoption and the choice 17 years later to open it. The book is available through Amazon.


Food: An Appetite for Life is the second book published by Adria Vander Griend Libolt ’69. In it, she suggests that eating is complicated, that it’s a language of hunger and longing of many kinds. An avid cook and host, Adria fills the book with stories, surprises, and conversations from her kitchen. The book is available from the Calvin Campus Store and online.


The only player in MIAA league history to receive MVP honors in both basketball and baseball will be inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame this fall. Mike “Mickey” Phelps ’70 was a standout in basketball and baseball at Calvin. After graduating, Phelps moved into a distinguished teaching and coaching career that spanned 38 years. He adds the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame honor to his induction in the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

In April, the Independent Book Publishers’ Association awarded the Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book in the fiction category to Patricia Boomsma ’74 for her historical novel The Way of Glory. The book tells the story of Cate, a teenager in 12th century England, who joins her brothers and aunt on a crusade to save Jerusalem that stops in Hispania to battle the Moors. Life on a battlefield strains the family’s closeness as they confront the terror and contradictions of holy war. Pat works as a lawyer and writes in Phoenix. The book is available through the Calvin Campus Store and online.

Central Michigan University begins this academic year with a new provost and executive vice president: Calvin alum Mary Schutten ’76. She returns to Michigan from California after serving as dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at San José State. Prior to that, she was an associate dean and professor at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. In her first academic post, Mary taught physical education at Calvin.

Most readers know the Faust legend from Goethe’s tragedy. But the story of the scholar who sold his soul to the devil was first put into manuscript form by Christoph Rosshirt 200 years earlier. Rosshirt was also the first to provide illustrations of Faust. A new book by James M. van der Laan ’76 offers a critical edition of that manuscript, including a facsimile of the manuscript, the first-ever English translation of it, and Rosshirt’s original illustrations. James is a professor emeritus of German at Illinois State University. The book is available online.

Johan Van Waveren ’79 is living with his wife and son in Muscat, Oman. It is, he writes, “geographically speaking, one of the hottest places on the planet, a coastal desert with a surreal landscape,” which he finds beautiful! Johan manages a private investment firm in Muscat.

In February, Keith Griffioen ’79 was presented with the Phi Beta Kappa Award for Teaching at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The award is given annually to a professor who demonstrates excellence in the classroom. Keith has taught physics at the college since 1994.


Early last February, Calvin English professor and Newbery-finalist author Gary Schmidt visited Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee to discuss his latest young-adult novel, Pay Attention, Carter Jones. Laura DeNooyer-Moore ’80, an author herself, was in the audience. After the talk, she followed up with Gary, asking questions she knew would interest other aspiring writers. Gary graciously replied, and Laura turned those answers into three posts on her “Journey to Imagination” blog. Read it at lauradenooyer.com.

On the last day of a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains, Neil Jasperse ’79 and Dave VanDerWiele ’83 climbed Mt. LeConte. At the top they spotted a Calvin sweatshirt. The young woman wearing it turned out to be Calvin sophomore Carly Harris. She introduced her climbing partner and father, Jim Harris ’81—who was Neil’s varsity tennis doubles partner at Calvin in 1978. A mountaintop reunion ensued!

After serving as Calvin’s director of off-campus programs for 10 years, Don DeGraaf ’82 has recently become the director of the Australia Studies Centre. A program of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the center welcomes students from Christian colleges around the globe for a semester-long study, in Brisbane, of international business and nonprofit management. In his 20 years of work in international education, Don has developed, managed, and/or led more than 350 student trips off campus. That work inspired and informed his book, There and Back Again: Living and Learning Abroad.

In May, Mary Tuuk ’86 was appointed to the board of directors of United Bank. For 19 years, Mary held leadership positions with Fifth Third Bank. After leaving that bank, she served as an executive with the Meijer Corp. She is currently the president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Symphony.


Metro Health in Grand Rapids has named its first-ever vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and she is Calvin alum Rhae-Ann Richardson Booker ’90. Her career in the field includes 20 years at Calvin, where she led efforts to develop and implement policies to reach underrepresented student populations and to ensure the climate on campus included and supported all students. In 2011, Rhae-Ann left Calvin to become the executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Davenport University in Grand Rapids. There she led the development of its first university-wide DEI strategic plan. She took her new post at Metro Health, a subsidiary of the University of Michigan Health System, in May.

In mid-June, Lynn VanPoolen Larsen ’90 captured the gold medal in pole vault for the 50- to 54-year-old age category at the National Senior Games in Albuquerque. Her winning jump of 5 feet, 10.87 inches was a personal record. Lynn only started pole vaulting a year ago as a fun and challenging way to stay fit. Her daughter, Hannah Larsen ’19, competed in pole vault at Calvin, and Hannah’s club coach was willing to train mom as well. Lynn reports being “very proud” to overcome a frozen shoulder, a severe ankle sprain, and a diagnosis of early onset arthritis on her way to the gold.

After 13 years as an editor at The Banner, Kristy Ezinga Quist ’90 is joining her husband, Brian Quist ’91, in a new business. Canopy Resources helps secular nonprofits with fundraising and is a sister company to Money for Ministries, which does the same for Christian nonprofits. That company is also founded and headed by an alum—Mike Buwalda ’92.

In late June, David Nyland ’92 was awarded board certification by the Association of Professional Chaplains. He works as a staff chaplain at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Fla.

McGill-Queen’s University Press has published a new book by Peter Schuurman ’93. Titled The Subversive Evangelical: The Ironic Charisma of An Irreligious Megachurch, the book is an analysis of evangelicals, megachurches, charisma, and Canadian culture through a case study of Bruxy Cavey and The Meeting House. It’s available from the Calvin Campus Store and online sellers. Peter lives in Guelph, Ontario, and since July 2018 has been the executive director of Global Scholars Canada, an organization that, with its U.S. affiliate, develops and maintains a community of Christian scholars serving in public universities outside North America.

The all-time leading scorer in Calvin men’s basketball history (2,469 points) will be inducted this fall into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame. Steve Honderd ’93, a two-time Division III All-American, was named the Division III National Player of the Year as a senior in 1993, and in 1992, he led the Knights to a national title—the first team title in Calvin athletics history. He now lives with his wife and sons in Holland, Mich.

Michael Lubbers ’93 has joined global architecture and engineering firm Ghafari Associates as its director of design in Grand Rapids. He comes to the firm with 23 years of design leadership experience, having worked at Chicago firms OKW Architects and Wight & Company. In that city, Mike led teams through several high-profile projects, including the transformation of The Adler Planetarium Sky Theater.

Stephen Scholler ’94, a senior financial adviser with Wells Fargo Advisors in Grand Rapids, has been recognized as a 2019 Best in State Wealth Advisor by Forbes. Steve has 24 years of experience in the financial services industry.

In June, Chris Schoon ’95 became the team leader of the Christian Reformed Church in North America’s Faith Formation Ministries, which provides resources and coaching to support CRC churches as they help people grow in faith. Chris comes to the denomination’s Grand Rapids headquarters from Hamilton, Ontario, where he had served as lead pastor of First Christian Reformed Church since 2011.

The University of Michigan has named Niala Boodhoo ’96 a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow for the 2019–20 academic year. She’ll join 16 other journalists in Ann Arbor pursuing individual plans of study, engaging in collaborative learning, and traveling internationally. Niala is the startup host and executive producer for the award-winning public radio program The 21st, a statewide news and talk show produced by Illinois Public Media. Her particular focus for the year will be on creating a replicable business plan for local news podcasts.

Christos (Jonathan) Hayward ’96 has recently released “St. Clive:” An Eastern Orthodox Author Looks Back at C.S. Lewis. The book is unique, he writes, because “most examinations of the spirituality of C.S. Lewis come from Western spiritual perspectives.” Lewis influenced Christos’ evangelical upbringing and was the starting point for his journey into Eastern Orthodoxy. The book is available online.


Last spring Matt Tjapkes ’00 became the president and CEO of Humanity for Prisoners. A west Michigan nonprofit, Humanity for Prisoners advocates for and helps provide personalized services for inmates when needed, including medical attention, effective legal aid, and opportunities for education and growth.

New York Times bestselling author Ruth Hollander Soukup ’01 has a new book. Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love is a book of practical steps for overcoming fear and resistance and for finding the motivation to make big life changes. It’s a book Ruth wrote from her own experience of fear as well as two years of research into how fear blocks change. She also hosts the Do It Scared podcast and writes the Ruth Soukup Weekly newsletter, which reaches more than a million subscribers.

In April, the board of the Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago unanimously approved the selection of Elías Ortega-Aponte ’02 as the institution’s next president. Since 2011, Elías has been an associate professor of social theory and religious ethics at Drew University Theological School. He also served in a number of advisory and council posts there. Active in many social justice organizations and circles as well, Elías was presented with the Faculty Civic Engagement Award at Drew in 2017. He assumed his new post at Meadville Lombard in July

Ryan Hanson ’04 completed his master of divinity degree at Indiana Wesleyan University in December 2018. He is a sales and marketing leader at Trane, a Grand Rapids company specializing in HVAC equipment and service.

On July 4, Black Rose Writing released a new book by Erin Ondersma ’06. Warrior Princess is the first person narrative of Jaelyn, a 4-year-old girl with spina bifida. Jaelyn explains how she is different from—and the same as—other children. Erin wrote the book about a real-life Jaelyn who attends the daycare center she runs in Grand Rapids. This is Erin’s second children’s book. Fiona the Frog and Friends, published in January, helps young children struggling with pronunciation of the “f” sound. Both books are available from the Calvin Campus Store and online.

Having completed a fellowship in cardiac surgery at the University of Michigan, Reilly Hobbs ’06 is now continuing his training in pediatric heart surgery at the university’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.


Singer-songwriter and worship leader John Lyzenga ’12 has released his first album, In Troubled Times: Songs of Lament and Confession. Leading worship for churches in California’s Bay Area, John became aware of the dearth of worship music to address troubling social issues like racism, violence, environmental crisis, and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Wanting to speak to those issues while pointing to God’s realm of justice and peace, he created these songs with a diverse host of collaborators. The album is available on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, and Bandcamp.

In May, James Eugene Los ’13 earned a PhD in school psychology from Michigan State University with a dissertation that focused on student engagement in computerized reading tests. He currently serves as the multi-tiered systems of support coordinator for Wyoming (Mich.) Public Schools and is completing a postdoctoral fellowship to become a fully licensed psychologist.

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) recently named Justine Kelley ’13 the winner of its annual Membership Service Award. She won the award for her embodiment of the organization’s values in her dayto-day work as a wellness coordinator. The NFLPA is the union for players in the National Football League, working to assure recognition and representation of players’ rights and interests.

Sarah Stripp ’14 has been selected as a fellow in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network. The 18-month fellowship unites 80 local leaders from Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans. In training and mentoring sessions, the fellows gain a deeper understanding of racism and other barriers embedded in our systems, then work together on specific projects to heal and unite communities. Sarah works as a senior community specialist with the nonprofit Springboard to Opportunities in Jackson, Miss., and is one of the youngest members of this second class of program fellows. More than 800 people applied for the 80 fellowships.

Kurtis Duemler ’17 has become a full-time employee at Hanson Professional Services’ headquarters in Springfield, Ill. He began work at the engineering consulting firm as an intern in May 2018. Kurtis will work on water resources projects, focusing on hydrologic and hydraulic modeling.