Spark readers: This section emphasizes Calvin graduates’ service, vocational, and reunion stories, along with “In Memoriam” notices. Send us news of your promotions, achievements, recognitions, and other announcements at Photos must be 300 dpi or approximately 1MB or greater in size.

The alumni association is also interested in knowing about important family milestones such as marriages and newcomers. Please send that news to


(graduated more than 50 years ago)

Jacob “Jack” Nyenhuis ’56 was recently honored by the Historical Society of Michigan with the 2019 State History Award for his two-volume work, Hope College at 150: Anchored in Faith, Educating for Leadership and Service in a Global Society. It was his 12th book and the eighth since his retirement in 2001 from his longtime position as provost and professor of classics at Hope College.

Robert “Bob” Swierenga ’57 published his 13th book, His Faithfulness Continues: A History of Timothy Christian Schools of Chicagoland, under Editor-in-Chief Jacob “Jack” Nyenhuis ’56. Timothy Christian is Bob’s grade school alma mater. Tim Ellens ’82, another Timothy alumnus, designed the cover for this comprehensive account. Bob sports a Calvin baseball jersey in his photo to honor his grandson, Henry Robert Breems ’21, a pitcher on the team. Bob has completed 25 years as a research professor at the Van Raalte Institute. He taught at Calvin in the ’60s, is a Distinguished Alumnus, and was knighted by Queen Beatrix in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

In December 2019, Arnold Veldkamp ’58 retired after teaching mathematics for almost 60 years (Lynden Christian, Calvin, Dordt, and Palomar College). He and his late wife, Helen Vander Mey Veldkamp ex’59, also spent two years and a semester teaching in China.

Married couples George ’59 and Betty De Vries ’59 Groen, John ’60
and Betty Karsten ’61 Addink, and Nelvin ’59 and Corine Haak ’64 Vogel, pictured above from left, have enjoyed their friendships since their early days at Calvin. For the past several years, the group of former roommates has been getting together for reunions at the Marriott Villas in Newport Beach, Calif.

Vince De Young ex’60 is the author of the recently published book Beyond the Hayfields: A Memoir of Blessings and Forgiveness. Vince attended Calvin for two years and is a retired attorney and U.S. Air Force veteran. The book tells the story of newly appreciated blessings recognized after painful recovery from life-threatening surgery. The blessings he shares include family (Christian parents and six siblings, including a twin); place (the exciting and long-remembered hayfields of Prospect Park, New Jersey); experience (his unique and life-impacting time at Calvin); service (a navigator in the Air Force); and heritage (the Christian Reformed Church, forged in the Protestant Reformation). Also related are foolish mistakes and errant actions and failures along with hard lessons learned and redemption freely given. Beyond the Hayfields is Vince’s third published work.

Sidney Greidanus ’61 completed the final book in his series Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. In 2021, Eerdman’s will publish Preaching Christ from Leviticus: Foundations for Expository Sermons.

Barry Koops ’61 has published an anthology of poems titled Final Exam: Poems About Teachers and Their Students. Final Exam includes 85 poems by 75 poets—some among the greatest authors in the English language, some relatively unknown. The work lifts a glass to memorable teachers and mentors—including some beloved or eccentric Calvin profs—and toasts the schools we remember with nostalgia and regret. Barry says, “In the poems selected, I recognized the math teacher across the hall; a colleague whose passing I mourn; a professor whose fingerprints are all over my life; a student who, I recognize, will do what I cannot; a classmate remembered over decades, who said what I was thinking; a joke or a jest like an arrow.”

Fellow attorneys at Foster Swift Collins & Smith Lynwood “Woody” VandenBosch ’68, Bruce Vande Vusse ’74, Jack Van Coevering ’80, Jennifer Siebers Van Regenmorter ’90, and Mindi Jelsema Johnson ’01 have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, Michael Zahrt ’11 was named in the inaugural “Ones to Watch” list.

Tom Bloom ’71 has completed a third three-year appointment as the chair of the drama department at the University of Virginia. Bloom is an award-winning scenic designer and produced 58 productions during his time as chair.


The League of Women Voters of Illinois recently established the Mary Schaafsma Inspired Leadership Award in memory of Mary Schaafsma ’73, its longtime executive director until shortly before her death in 2018. The award will be presented at the organization’s Biennium Conventions.

Greg Brinks ’79 retired from La-Z-Boy Inc., where he served as vice president and treasurer for 10 years. Prior to that, his 28-year career with General Motors and GMAC took him around the U.S., from Detroit to Boston to Salt Lake City, and overseas to Brussels. He is now enjoying a sabbatical (complicated by social distancing and travel restrictions) as he explores what may be next.

After a medical retirement in 2018 following a traumatic injury, Ellen Helgeland Jewart ’79 returned to the classroom as a student and earned a second bachelor’s, this time in English with a concentration in writing, at Worcester State University in Worcester, Mass. She is now enrolled in graduate school, also at Worcester State University, for a master’s in literature. She says, “Memoir is one of my favorite genres. I also enjoy the short story as a means of expressing my literary ability. My eighth—hopefully last—surgery to replace my damaged knee was in June 2020. When not writing or studying, my husband and I enjoy our eight grandchildren and international travel.”


Mark Van Allsburg ’81 has been named by Best Lawyers as Grand Rapids’ 2021 Oil and Gas Law Lawyer of the Year. He has been an attorney with Mika Meyers PLC since 1984.

In spring 2019, Susan Van Nuis Korstanje ’82 completed her 25th season as conductor and artistic director of Lakehead Choral Group in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For her anniversary concert, the choir presented “Conductor’s Playlist,” a selection of choral works representing people and experiences that inspired her development as a choral musician and conductor. Susan is particularly grateful she celebrated this milestone before the pandemic hit, and she looks forward to the day her choirs are once again able to sing together!

Tony Norman ’84 is serving as the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ (NSNC) president for the next two years. Having transitioned from music critic to columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1996, Tony first learned of NSNC when the organization named him the winner in the top newspaper-circulation category of its annual column contest in 1999. Now, he looks forward to the challenges to come as president and is focusing on preparing for NSNC’s 2021 conference in Alabama as well as keeping the organization useful and relevant to its members during an age of social distancing.

Paula Faber Brummel ’85 has published a Bible study that walks readers through the scriptures of Handel’s Messiah. Covering each of the corresponding 53 lessons from God’s Word, this 14-week Bible study guides readers through in-depth study of the message that has been presented annually by the Calvin Oratorio Society over the last 100 years. Its thoughtprovoking questions allow the reader to engage the text of the Bible. Paula’s Bible study, Messiah: A Bible Study on the Lyrics of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, is available through the Calvin Campus Store and Amazon.

Rob Rottschafer ’87 is serving as the clinical psychology consultant to
the surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force. He is also the deputy chief of the Behavioral Health Clinical Support Team, a committee that oversees and determines policy for all the military services’ mental health clinics around the world, and recruits psychologists and doctoral-level students for positions in the Air Force. Rob resides in the Washington, D.C., area.


In April, Leslie Ledyard Veen ’91 accepted the position of associate dean of academic and student affairs at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University in Berkeley, Calif. She had worked for the previous seven years as the director of contextual education and lecturer at the same institution.

Lynn Woldhuis Hoekstra ’93 has been named the 2020 Excellence in Teaching winner for Columbia International University by South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. She often comments on the great training she received at Calvin for becoming a middle school teacher and teaching at Hudsonville Christian School in Michigan and then Ontario Christian School in California before going on to get her doctorate. And now, she is training students to become great teachers themselves at Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C.

Greg De Vries ’98 will be leading the international preservation planning and design firm Heritage Landscapes LLC as its managing partner. The American Society of Landscape Architects recently honored the Vermont-based company with the Firm Award for decades stewarding the U.S. Capitol, national parks, historic neighborhoods, and wherever the conservation of cultural heritage can uplift communities.

In May, Jane Tebben Griffioen ’98 released her new book, London Street: A Memoir, through Wipf and Stock Publishing. London Street is a story about growing up in a Dutch enclave in Grand Rapids during the 1950s and ’60s. Along with three other Michigan authors, Professor Emeritus James “Jim” Vanden Bosch ’70 has an endorsement of the story on the back cover.

Amanda Hendler-Voss ’99 serves as the new designated senior minister at First Congregational UCC in Washington, D.C., a congregation founded in 1865. She previously co-founded Land of the Sky UCC in Asheville, N.C., where she co-pastored for eight years.

Rachel Vanderhill ’99, chair of the Department of Government and International Affairs at Wofford College, has published her second book, Autocracy and Resistance in the Internet Age. The book examines the role of social media in autocratic states in the Middle East and post-Soviet regions.


In March, Pam Marmon ’05 celebrated the release of her book, No One’s Listening and It’s Your Fault: Get Your Message Heard During Organizational Transformations. It has since appeared on Amazon’s bestseller list and was featured in Entrepreneur magazine. Pam says, “I am so grateful that many of you have helped me share a message of hope with leaders as we are all impacted by change in our world.”

The Grand Rapids Business Journal recognized the “40 Under 40,” a list that honors young professionals in Grand Rapids. Calvin graduates on the list include Sasha Wolff ’06, Ciarra Adkins ’11, Crystal Bui ’08, and Sunjin Yoo ’13.


Ryan Zwart ’13 completed his PhD from Indiana University Bloomington in Leisure Behavior this past summer after successfully defending his dissertation. In January 2020, Ryan began as an assistant professor teaching in the outdoor recreation studies program at Montreat College in North Carolina. Ryan teaches and researches in the areas of the natural environment, outdoor recreation, and human health; the effect of nature and outdoor recreation on human cognition; and more recently has a growing interest in the business, industry, and economic impacts of outdoor adventure recreation on local areas. Ryan credits his experience in the recreation program at Calvin, countless hours spent at the climbing wall as a student, and work with Calvin’s Wilderness Orientation program for sparking his interest in the field.

John Muyskens ’15 was among the staff of The Washington Post who received a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting “for a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet.” John contributed to this series through his graphics work on the article “2°C: Beyond the Limit.” This is not the first time John has earned such an honor; he was also part of the team that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting in 2016 “for its revelatory initiative in creating and using a national database to illustrate how often and why the police shoot to kill and who the victims are most likely to be.”

In July, Eun-Sung Kim ’16 started working as a software development engineer at Amazon. There, he works in the physical stores organization/ department—specifically in the Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores development team. He is part of a team of developers who develop and manage various tools and services that product merchandisers use to determine what products are put in
which stores.

While still in her final year of Calvin’s speech pathology master’s program, Lara Dykhuis ’19, MA ’20 launched a jewelry business, Aralay Jewelry. She donates 50% of the business’ profits to various organizations such as World Vision, The Nature Conservancy, Forgive Everyone, etc., depending on the piece. She loves using natural and repurposed materials, so that is the premise of her work.

This August, Jonathan Wiers ’19 began a contract position as a human performance investigator at Pfizer. He facilitates and leads investigations for problems that occur in the COVID-19 vaccine production process—everything from human error to equipment failure. His team of investigators identifies these problems, corrects them, and seeks to prevent them from happening in the future.