Spark readers: This section emphasizes Calvin graduates’ service, vocational, and reunion stories. Send us news of your promotions, achievements, recognitions, and other announcements at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
(graduated more than 50 years ago)
Independent missionary scholar and retired Christian Reformed missionary to Nigeria John Boer ’62 is developing an online Christian academic library. Visit www.socialtheology.com to read collected academic articles as well as some personal history of the Boer family.
The trustees of Rotary International awarded John DeWitt ’66 the Rotary’s Service Above Self award for his volunteer work throughout the world. This is Rotary’s highest honor, which recognizes Rotarians who demonstrate Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self,” by volunteering their time and talents to help others. The award is internationally competitive and is granted to no more than 150 Rotarians worldwide.
Delia Anne Greydanus Koops ’69 stepped down from being associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, Calif. in February of 2020. She does not use the word “retired”, because, she says, “we never retire from serving in the kingdom of our God and following our Lord Jesus Christ.”
After 43 years in ordained ministry (PCUSA) as a hospital chaplain and interim pastor, John VanderZee ’70 has begun a new ministry as a life and leadership coach. John specializes in coaching pastors, health care providers and executives, nonprofit executives, and persons facing life transitions. For more information visit his website at alongthewaycoaching.com.
Randall W. Kraker ’73 has been named by Best Lawyers as Grand Rapids’ 2021 Lawyer of the Year in municipal law. This is his 10th selection as Lawyer of the Year. Randall is an attorney with Varnum LLP. He joined Varnum in 1977 after earning his master of city and regional planning and juris doctor degrees from Rutgers University.
Doug Steenland ’73 has been elected to American Airlines’ board of directors and will serve on the company’s finance and compensation committees. Doug also serves as the lead independent director of Hilton Worldwide Holdings and the non-executive chairman of the board of directors of American International Group.
Visual artist and musician Rick Beerhorst ’82 has found a great deal of inspiration in Paris since moving there last year, resulting in both a new solo album released in February on Germany’s Ziegel Records and a solo exhibition of his artwork at Paris’ Sobering Galerie.
In May, Margaret Hanenburg Walker ’84 graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary with a master of arts in counseling. She is pursuing licensure and practicing psychotherapy under the supervision of a forensic psychiatrist in St. Louis, Mo.
Former veterinarian and current business lecturer Steven Tjapkes ’85 has joined the Grand Rapids office of Foster Swift as a senior attorney with the business and tax practice group. He will focus on counseling agribusinesses and family farms in organization, succession planning, and transactional matters.
Jeff Bouman ’87 and his wife, Julie, have been hired by Resonate Global Mission to serve as career missionaries in partnership with the Reformed Church in Hungary. This is a fitting transition for Jeff after having served at Calvin as the Service-Learing Center’s director for more than 18 years and the director of the Hungary semester abroad program three separate years. He and Julie will come alongside the welcoming ministry to refugees and asylum-seekers as well as teach courses and participate in campus ministry at Károli Gáspár University, Calvin’s partner university.
At the end of June, Jim Klingenberg ’88 was promoted to the position of director of hospital and community investigations for the Office of Recipient Rights under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to overseeing the investigations that the office completes in Michigan psychiatric hospitals, Jim supervises the field staff who conduct the investigations.
Tim Rietkerk ’89 was appointed via unanimous vote to the role of director of the CRC’s Chaplaincy and Care Ministry in January. Tim feels that the education and experience he gained in the Army, his nearly 30 years as a chaplain, and his passion and compassion for people have equipped him for the role and will serve him well in his work.
Jim Zwiers ’90 has been named president of Wolverine Woldwide’s global operations group after almost 23 years with the company. He will oversee portfolio-wide sourcing, logistics, distribution, customer service, and IT while also continuing to serve as the president of the international group, executive VP of the company, and a member of the executive leadership team.
Dan Hamstra ’92 has taken on the roles of professor and chair of the department of radiation oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. He will serve as the radiation oncology service line chief for St. Luke’s Health Texas division and radiation oncology lead at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Mark ’93 and Karla Zwagerman Lemoine ’92, owners and operators of the Coloma/St. Joseph KOA Holiday in Benton Harbor, Mich., were recognized by Kampgrounds of America Inc. with the 2021 Rising Star Award. This honor is presented annually to a franchisee who has owned a KOA campground for less than five years and has demonstrated business growth, leadership, and commitment to exceptional guest experiences.
In the spring of 2020, Jonathan Eiten ’92 began auctioning his paintings on his Facebook page and has started the practice again. Each week, he paints a small painting in his studio in Gorham, Maine. People comment on a photo of the painting and one is selected to purchase it. The painting above is titled Sweet Invention and was in a national juried show with Oil Painters of America. To follow Jonathan’s work and be part of the painting auction, find the Jonathan Eiten Studio page on Facebook.
Rick Treur ’93 has a new job as the district director for U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, who represents the 3rd Congressional District of Michigan. His work includes running the in-district operations for Meijer and handling community outreach to organizations and groups in the district.
Kirsten Kelly ’94 directed her second Healing the Healers documentary series. The first series, which focused on recovery in the aftermath of school shootings, is now being used to help faith leaders in crisis during the pandemic and recently won a Golden Telly Award. Released this January on healingthehealers.org, the second series focuses on domestic violence and asking faith leaders to go beyond the silence and stigma and address the issue at the crisis level where incidents occur. Each series features intimate peer-topeer conversations with faith leaders on issues of crisis and trauma.
Dark Winter Nights: True Stories from Alaska, a podcast created and hosted by Rob Prince ’99, was included in The New York Times list “The Best Winter Podcast for Storytelling Lovers.” Rob is an associate professor in the communication and journalism department at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He started the show in 2014 with the goal of sharing true stories from Alaska with the rest of the world.
Thelma Van Gelder Ensink ’01 started her new role as the executive director of Grand Rapids homeless shelter Dégagé Ministries this January. Dégagé works to assure that everyone it serves knows they are not alone, and Thelma is excited to continue that work, to walk alongside patrons through their hardships, and provide them a safe place where they will be treated with respect and dignity.
After 18 years at Colliers International, Steve Marcusse ’01, along with nine other partners, started Advantage Commercial Real Estate in west Michigan. Steve is the senior vice president and is excited to continue providing best-in-class service to his clients.
Brian Paff ’04 has joined Paulsen, a Sioux Falls-based marketing agency, as a content editor. Brian considers it a joy to help clients tell their stories. He appreciates the integral role of rural communities and enjoys building relationships with folks throughout rural America.
Carrie Mallett Decker ’06 and her fellow nurses with Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital were recognized by the Chicago Bears for going out of their way to keep an elderly couple of 76 years together as they both fought COVID-19. The nurses made sure the two could be side by side during their final moment together before the husband passed away. The wife has since recovered her health.
Five years ago, Dan Evans ’11 and his business partner, Alex Aguiar, started RecoverX and began developing a battery-powered cold and heat pack that optimizes recovery from an injury and tracks helpful data. This January, their startup was acquired by Hyperice, the industry leader in recovery technology and a company the pair have long admired.
Josiah Sinclair ’13 completed his PhD in quantum physics at the University of Toronto in January and is beginning a postdoc at MIT. His dissertation is titled “Weakly Measuring the Time a Transmitted Photon Causes Atoms to Spend in the Excited State.”
In November, Will Thies ’16 earned his Professional Engineer (PE) license in Michigan. Will initially joined Prein & Newhof as a field technician intern in 2014 and has been a full-time employee with the firm since 2016. His responsibilities focus on process engineering, including assisting in the design of pump stations and treatment facilities, improvements to wastewater treatment systems, and community asset management.
Andrew Haagsma ’18 received the Downtown Yonge Award of Excellence in Place-Making for a project completed as part of his master of planning (urban development) program at Ryerson University in Toronto. He worked with a team of six other graduate planning students to recommend innovative and bold place-making and design interventions in support of a “meanwhile” strategy in downtown Brampton, tasked by the city of Brampton’s urban design team. Their proposed strategies can position the city as a leader in urbanizing the suburbs, demonstrate the longterm potential for cohesive spaces downtown, support Brampton’s vision as a hub for innovation and diversity, and contribute toward a vibrant, revitalized downtown Brampton.
Maria Bleitz ’20 is working as a research technician on a study for the department of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University. In September, Maria gave a presentation at the Michigan Inland Lakes Conference on a then recently completed analysis of various boat wash systems. The goal of said analysis was to assess decontamination, outreach, and cost effectiveness of the systems.
Working as a tool engineer on the F-15 program at Boeing, Nathan Hall ’20 maintains old tools and designs new tools for the operators who assemble the F-15s. And in this case, “tools” doesn’t mean screwdrivers and hammers, it means large structures that hold various parts of the plane to enable operators to more efficiently and accurately complete their work.
Tanaka Remba ’20 is working as a research associate at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. Her lab focuses on mRNA-based vaccines for cancer and HIV using nanoparticles as a delivery method. Tanaka is responsible for producing different mRNA constructs that are used in lab and with various collaborators.