This issue of Spark is about decisions. You’ll read stories about alumni as they followed God’s call. Some started on a newfound career path. Others made life-altering personal decisions. You may find yourself in some of these stories.

It is a joy for me to work in the advancement division at Calvin University. I have the privilege of hearing how this has shaped the decisions and lives of alumni. Many of you have a “Calvin story” that has deeply changed you. Those stories often involve a Calvin faculty member. Calvin professors often recognize special gifts, build self-esteem, and point our students to live wholeheartedly for Christ.

We have been blessed to see this happen in our family beginning with my own experience as a 1986 graduate of Calvin. Professor Bob Bolt became my “encourager.” We would frequently discuss history, politics, baseball, and our shared passion for Calvin. He predicted that I would work at Calvin one day. At the time, I couldn’t imagine the likelihood of that ever happening, but 2021 will mark my 12th year in the advancement division! Professor Bolt provided the spark that kindled my deep commitment for this mission and work.

My wife, Dawn, and I have three children who are Calvin graduates and one who is a freshman. Did Calvin faculty members impact their personal and career decisions? Absolutely.

Our son, Kyle, points to business Professor Brian Cawley’s mentoring as pivotal in launching his career in human resources. Sociology and social work professor Stacia Hoeksema helped our daughter Kim by honing her skills in counseling and encouraging her to go to graduate school.

Our daughter Kayla recognizes the guidance that Professor Scott Stehouwer provided. He instilled confidence in her so that she could go on to thrive in her work.

We are confident that our last born, Kristyn, will have similar experiences. We know Calvin faculty members will recognize her God-given gifts and will point her toward God’s call.

Calvin continues to be the remarkable place that many of you remember when you were students here. You can be confident that today’s Calvin faculty still care deeply for the students who are writing their stories and making important life decisions.

Please continue to share your “Calvin story”—with us and with others!