(graduated more than 50 years ago)
Through WestBow Press, John M. Rozeboom ’64 has published Rounding Third and Headed For Home: Memories and Reflections. In it, John tells his story of growing up on a family farm, attending Christian schools, and teaching and coaching for 42 years at South Christian High School in Grand Rapids and at Lynden Christian School in Lynden, Wash. Calvin connections abound! The book is available through the Calvin Campus Store.
Between 2006 and 2018, Jack Fennema ’65 traveled to China 40 times as a teacher-education volunteer, training teachers and assisting in the establishment of Christian schools. Jack also reports that several thousand books of Christian theology and practice, translated through The Reformation Translation Fellowship, have been distributed to Chinese house church pastors and lay people.
In January, Wipf & Stock Publishers released Broken Glass, a novel by Mary Petter VanderGoot ’68. First in a trilogy, the book follows Maggie, the mother of four adult children who are navigating complicated lives while blaming their parents for the way they were raised. Maggie must face her own ghosts to see where she can mend relationships and make room in her heart to accept her family as it is. Mary credits a writer’s group and a reader’s group, most of whose members are Calvin alums, for encouraging her in this venture. The book is available through the Calvin Campus Store.
IFSF Publishing has recently released That Treeplanting Story, a new fiction collection by Dan De Vries ’70. The book’s eight tales, including two of novella length, are set in or around tree-planting camps in British Columbia. The first four stories were awarded an Avery Hopwood Prize in major fiction at the University of Michigan in 1980.
Springer recently published Introduction to Discrete Mathematics via Logic and Proof by Calvin Jongsma ’70 as a part of its Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics series. Calvin based his text on three decades of teaching discrete mathematics to mathematics, computer science, and engineering students. He notes that the book takes “a unique approach to core topics in discrete mathematics by starting with a systematic study of the fundamentals of mathematical proof.” Calvin is an emeritus professor of mathematics at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa.
From November 20 through December 15, Jessica VerWys Powell ’72 took the stage in the role of Momo in the San Jose Stage Company’s production of The Humans. As Momo, Jessica played the family grandmother suffering with Alzheimer’s. The tragicomedywon the 2016 Tony Award for best play and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in drama that year.
Last November, voters in the second ward of Kentwood, Mich., elected Ron Draayer ’74 to represent them on the Kentwood City Commission. Ron retired in 2017 from Davenport University, where he was an associate professor in the College of Technology, specializing in cyber security and disaster recovery.
Performing a Christian Life: God and the Good Life is the title of a new book by Thomas D. Kennedy ’75. In it, he hopes to help general readers think carefully and deeply about their Christian identity and what it looks like to live well. Now a professor of philosophy and dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Berry College in Mount Berry, Ga., Tom taught at Calvin early in his career—from 1982–1984. In the book’s acknowledgements, he notes his debt to Calvin philosophy department icons Richard Mouw (HON) and Nick Wolterstorff ’55.
In January, Al Bilthouse ’77 and Bill Alphenaar ’78, pictured here on Maui, rented and rode motorcycles on three of the Hawaiian Islands. With that ride, they completed their quest to ride motorcycles in all 50 states and every Canadian province and territory except Nunavut. The pair rode just under 40,000 miles in five years! They report making Calvin connections from Newfoundland to Hawaii, “often in unlikely places.”
Last September, Erik “Rick” Spykman ’77 and his wife, Rhonda, set out from Holland, Mich., in their Carver 460 Voyager to navigate America’s Great Loop, a 6,000-mile voyage that circumnavigates the eastern half of the United States. After crossing Lake Michigan to Hammond, Ind., they proceeded along the Calumet, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Tombigbee Rivers to Mobile Bay, Ala., then east along the Florida panhandle. After spending the holidays and January in Florida, they cast off again in early February, heading up the eastern seaboard to close the loop back to Michigan. Rick and Rhonda are keeping a journal/blog of their daily experiences. Follow their adventure at rickandrhondaontheloop.com.
Just released in March by Tyndale House Publishers is Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel by Rob Currie ’79. The novel tells the story of 13-year-old Dirk, who leads his little sister across the war-ravaged Netherlands in a search for their father, a fighter in the Dutch Resistance. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a gritty but hopeful wartime thriller.”
Bruce Rottman ’80, who has taught high school humanities, economics, and American government classes at Providence School in Santa Barbara for the past 11 years, has been selected for the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award. First-year students at the university are invited to nominate an educator who has influenced them, challenged them, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth. A student from the Providence graduating class of 2019 nominated Bruce for teaching him “about ideas and for showing me why they matter.” Bruce was also the recipient of the NASDAQ Award, presented to the top five economic educators in the nation in 2000, and was twice the recipient of awards presented by the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education.
Kevin Adams ’82 has written a new book. The Gospel in a Handshake: Framing Worship for Mission, published by Wipf and Stock, “helps readers revel in the mission of the timeless liturgy,” Kevin says. He has also authored 150: Finding Your Story in the Psalms. Kevin and his wife, Gerry Meninga Adams ’82, founded Granite Springs Church in 1991, a congregation that helped inspire a movement of church planting in the Sacramento area. The book is available through the Calvin Campus Store.
After 35 years of continuous service as an educator, Gert Van Der Groef Sweeney ’84 has retired. She began her career with the state of Massachusetts at the Fernald State School in Waltham as a recreation therapist and adapted physical education instructor for three years. For the next 32 years, she served as a physical education and health teacher, cluster coordinator, and administrator in the Boston Public School system.
Scott Schrotenboer ’84 has joined Grand River Bank (GRB) in Grandville, Mich., as its vice president of commercial banking. Prior to joining GRB, Scott was vice president of business banking at Huntington Bank for nine years and, before that, vice president of commercial lending at Macatawa Bank for 12 years.
These six friends from the Class of ’83 met on the first floor of Beets-Veenstra. They’ve reunited regularly since graduation, and every year for the past 18, they’ve taken a weekend trip together. Last September, they enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Winter Park, Colo. From left: Patti Bakker Wallinga, Judi Slenk Nykamp, Cheryl Pothoven Stark, Sherry Veenema Merz, Sandi Wolthuis Veenstra, Lori Vanderlaan Weesies.
Dan Van Kooten ’84 and Andrea Harms Van Kooten ’86 had never heard of the Camino de Santiago, until they watched and listened to Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray tell their story in a 2017 January Series presentation. Lifelong friends, the two men made the 500-mile pilgrimage across Spain with Gray pushing Skeesuck in his wheelchair. Last fall, the men led the first “I’ll Push You Accessible Camino,” with Dan and Andrea along as part of a group that included 10 people in wheelchairs, one sight-impaired person, and 37 “pushers.” Together, they completed the last 70 miles of the Camino in six days. Andrea writes, “It was an amazing adventure—a taste of heaven!”
In February, Dan Takens ’88 became the new president of Exalta Health in Grand Rapids, Mich. Retiring and handing the position over to Dan was another Calvin grad, Bill Paxton ’74. Dan comes to the post after three decades in public education, the last 11 of which were spent as superintendent of the Byron Center School District. Exalta Health provided free or almost-free medical and dental care to nearly 2,500 patients in 2018, relying on some 240 doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health professionals who volunteer their time.
Abigail Noble ’89 was one of 100 women honored with a She Leads Michigan Award in 2019. Presented by Nations Light Ministries, the award recognizes Michigan women of faith who serve in various areas. Abby is the founder of Michigan Health care Freedom, a nonprofit that works to inform the public about state healthcare policies and lawmakers about the practical health care concerns of Michigan citizens. She has testified many times before state legislative committees and speaks often to both local groups and individuals about their health care policy concerns.
In October 2019, Elevate Studio in Grand Rapids, Mich., received a design award in the Unbuilt Projects category from the city’s affiliate of the American Institute of Architects. Elevate won the award for their work on a hospital chapel complex at the American Mission Hospital in A’ali, Bahrain. The winning design draws heavily on the experiences of lead designer Jim VanderMolen ’82 with cultural artifacts and local customs around the project site. Four of Elevate’s other eight employees are also Calvin grads: Steve Fridsma ’91, Mary Wolters Fridsma ’91, Jana Van Singel Cooper ex ’95, and Michael McKinnon ’12.
This academic year, Crossroads School in Longmont, Colo., has been celebrating its 10th anniversary in a new, larger building with 40-plus students. The school opened in 2010 with four students, providing an alternative, faith-based education for at-risk youth. Barb Howerzyl Bulthuis ’92 is the school’s executive director and founder.
Keith Hekman ’92 has co-authored the recently released Liengme’s Guide to Excel 2016 for Scientists and Engineers: Windows and Mac. The book is an updated, straightforward guide for those using Microsoft’s Excel 2016, taking readers from basic principles to more complicated areas. Keith is a professor of aerospace, industrial, and mechanical engineering at California Baptist University.
“Always travel with Calvin gear!” That’s the advice of James Dirksen ’93 and Sarah Koopsen Dirksen ’93. While on vacation in Washington, D.C., with their daughters, Claire and Carly, they visited a friend, a Navy captain stationed at the Pentagon. In the hall, they spied another Calvin alum— Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos ’79 and husband Dick DeVos. No photos are allowed in the Pentagon, and Secret Service officers hovered, but the Dirksens were not deterred. Sarah pulled a Calvin College sweatshirt out of her daughter’s backpack and waved it at the DeVoses. A meeting and rule-breaking photo (with the permission of the Secretary) followed. Sarah even told Betsy DeVos about the time she helped with childcare for a women’s Bible study at the DeVos home. “It was a great day to be a Knight!” Sarah said.
In a new position as superintendent of Ravenna (Mich.) Public Schools, Greg Helmer ’94 has published Lead with Endurance. Greg writes, “Learning how to endure through life and leadership is one of my motivating factors in writing this book. Leadership is not a title. It’s a behavior and action that anyone can live.” An educator for 25 years, Greg was named a National Distinguished Principal of the Year in 2013 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Jordan Buning ’94 has been named the new president of ddm marketing & communications in Grand Rapids. A 25-year-veteran of the industry, Jordan has been with ddm since 2001, holding a variety of account leadership roles and serving as a principal for more than five years.
“Two Calvin grads putting their education to waste.” On that tagline, Jason Stoub ’93 and Chad Stoub ’96 built EverKept, a garbage business that grew from 33 customers into the largest residential waste-hauling service in west Michigan. The brothers prided themselves on personal service, hustle, and innovation. In January, they sold EverKept to Arrowaste, another local waste hauler—also owned by Calvin grads. Tom Yonker ’79 and sons Kyle Yonker ’03 and Chad Yonker ’08 are assuring customers that the change simply means “more Calvin grads putting their education to waste.” That also includes Arrowaste’s director of operations, Chris Greendyke ’98.
Last November, the Virginia Art Educators Association honored Julia Schickel ’97 with its Virginia Elementary Art Educator of the Year award. Julia teaches art at Stratford Landing Elementary School in Fairfax County.
Lisa Huisman Koops ’99 is the author of Parenting Musically, a new release from Oxford University Press. Based on her fieldwork with a diverse group of families in the Cleveland area, Lisa argues that there are many approaches to parenting musically and that celebrating this diversity is key to family engagement in music. A professor of music education at Case Western Reserve University, Lisa researches the interplay of enjoyment and agency in children’s and families’ musical play. She also teaches music and movement courses for young children at The Music Settlement in Cleveland.
In 2009, Melody Orr Vander Weide ’99 launched GRKIDS.com. She’s still its “chief fun finder,” and in ten years, has grown the business into a publishing company that includes five websites and one print magazine, 12 part-time employees, and 30 contractors across three cities. Melody says she “has a heart for moms in the workplace and does the working-mom-juggle dance along with them.” She’s now sleuthing out adult fun in west Michigan for her latest venture, HeyGR.com, with offerings like, “15 Ridiculously Adventurous Grand Rapids Date Nights You Have to Try,” and “12 Grand Rapids Coffee Shops for Caffeine Lovers.”
Gezellig Brewing Company in Newton, Iowa, had been open just four months when it captured two silver medals at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. The world’s largest commercial beer competition awarded the medals to Gezellig for its Belgian-style fruit beer entry and its entry in the south German-style hefeweizen category. Gezellig is a Dutch word suggesting conviviality, warmth, a sense of well-being in the presence of others. Helping create that sense at the brewery is co-owner Mindi Andringa Vanden Bosch ’00.
The Vantage Group, a management consulting firm based in Ada, Mich., has hired Missy Kuiper Jackson ’01 as a managing partner. Before going to The Vantage Group, Missy worked for furniture maker Herman Miller as the lead strategist overseeing the sales enablement and strategic selling programs.
A trio of Calvin alums have co-edited The Routledge Handbook of Adoption. Elisha Lee Marr ’98, Emily Geenen Helder ’03, and Gretchen Braymer Wrobel ’11 compiled the newly released volume to offer contemporary scholarship from a variety of disciplines on adoption as it’s practiced around the world. The perspectives of biological/first parents, adoptive parents, and adopted individuals are represented.
Last fall, Grand Rapids Business Journal named its annual class of 40 Under 40 Business Leaders, and three Calvin alumni were among them. They are: Luis Avila ’05, an attorney and partner at Varnum Law focused on labor, employment litigation, and immigration issues; Mike Goorhouse ’08, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland; and Attah Obande ’03, director of dream fulfillment at SpringGR, a business training camp. The honor took into consideration their business success, entrepreneurial leadership, and community service.
In November, Noah Kruis ’03 was ordained a Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church in North America for his work as a national organizer and trainer at Crossroads Antiracism Organizing & Training. The group offers institutions, congregations, denominations, nonprofits, and other workplaces a systemic analysis of racism and trains transformation teams within those organizations.
Jordan Northrup ’04 has served three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. But the real war for him was the one he describes in his book, The War Inside: Finding Victory over Alcohol. A “blackout drunk,” by his description, for 14 years, Jordan claimed his first day of sobriety on April 19, 2014, when, he says, “God showed up in a major way and transformed my life.” Jordan uses his book and speaking opportunities to tell people “what God has done, and that true freedom is found in Jesus Christ.” A major in the U.S. Marine Corps, he is now stationed at Quantico, Va.
Kristin Kosowski Newton ’06 was recently named Elementary School Teacher of the Year of the Little Elm (Texas) Independent School District. Kristin teaches art to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Though she struggled with academics, Kristin says she found her confidence in art classes, encouraged by her own elementary school art teacher. She says she’s paying her gratitude forward now, hoping to be the same kind of encourager to her students.
Jeri Meninga Wieringa ’08 is finishing her first year as an assistant professor in the department of religious studies at the University of Alabama. A digital historian, Jeri’s expertise is in using and building digital tools for use in humanities research.
Tyler Harms ’09 has been teaching in elementary and secondary classrooms for 10 years, and now he’s collected some of his learning—and that of other experienced educators around the country—in a book for teachers just beginning their careers. Teaching for God’s Glory: Daily Wisdom and Inspiration for New Teachers covers topics like behavior management, collaborating with colleagues, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. The book provides a page for journaling the week’s successes, opportunities for growth, and prayer requests every Friday.
Joshua Engelsma ’10 has written a new dating guide. Titled Dating Differently: A Guide to Reformed Dating, the book’s chapters offer advice on subjects overarching (“Where Is This Headed?”) and particular (“What’s There to Do on a Date?”). Joshua writes from Doon, Iowa, where he pastors Doon Protestant Reformed Church. The book is published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association.
Kari Holmgren Veenstra ’10 credits Twitter for the publication of her first novel. She submitted the manuscript of her teen science-fiction/fantasy novel, The Rescuer, to a competition advertised on the social media site and won mentorship with a published author. Following the mentorship, the book’s first chapter was displayed on the competition’s website, where it caught the attention of the acquisitions editor at INtense Publications. The story follows a 15-year-old boy living 500 feet below the surface of a drowned planet who gambles his family’s one chance at a better future to help a missing friend.
Wave Function, a poetry chapbook by Colleen “Coco” Keehl ’12, was recently published by Ursus Americanus Press. Coco is also the founder of GRAVITON, a science-inspired poetry magazine. Her chapbook is available online.
Esther Hui ’14 is part of a research team at University College London (UCL) that aims to be the first to develop a complex intervention for moderate to severe dementia within the Medical Research Framework and in two countries at the same time. UCL is a world-leading institute for dementia research. Esther’s PhD supervisor, Aimee Spector, co-invented Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, the primary psychosocial intervention in memory clinics in the United Kingdom and used in over 30 countries for mild to moderate dementia. There is no effective treatment for severe dementia. Esther’s first year of research is funded, but she’s crowdfunding for the second and third years. To find out why and to learn more about her research, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.