Do you remember your first few days on Calvin’s campus? I trust this question stirs up vivid memories of the beginning of the “Calvin chapter” of your life. For me, I picture moving into 220 Beets Hall in sweltering heat, introducing myself to floormates who would become lifelong friends, and sitting in my very first Calvin class—Latin 201 in the basement of the library with Professor Ken Bratt. 

We all have “first” Calvin memories, but not all of our experiences were the same. Growing up in west Michigan, I was familiar with Calvin. My wife, Erin Barnaby Haverdink ’97, came to Calvin with one friend from a Lutheran high school on the east side of Michigan. Her memories of her early days at Calvin are a bit more daunting: realizing that many people at Calvin already knew each other and wondering, “what was a ‘CRC?’” For both of us, though, wonderful friendships quickly formed within residence hall life, and our student years at Calvin are cherished memories. 

There is something invigorating, exciting, and memorable about starting anew. Whether it be a new career, a move to a new community, or even new responsibilities within our daily lives, the start of something offers hope and optimism for the intriguing possibilities ahead. Yet, if you’re like me, the start of something new may also come with a twinge of angst. There are likely unknowns ahead, accompanied by uncertainties about how it will go. They say with age comes wisdom—or at least knowledge from a few life lessons—so now when I step into something new, I’ve learned to lean more heavily on “being still,” knowing God is the one authoring the new chapters in my life.

Calvin, too, is on the cusp of a milestone “first” this fall. In just a few weeks, in addition to welcoming hundreds of new students moving onto campus, Calvin is embracing a new president and his family to serve this community. It is a significant “first day” for the Boer family and the entire community as we seek to work together to further Calvin’s mission. 

In this issue of Spark you’ll have the opportunity to get to know President Boer and his family a little better. Although they’ve been on campus for just a few short weeks, there is already excitement for this next chapter in Calvin’s story. To be sure, there are challenges and uncertainties ahead, and there is likely a tinge of angst about the unknowns. Yet I trust we all share the quiet peace and faith in a God whose plans far exceed our own. 

Although technically not Wiebe and Joanna’s very first day at Calvin, as they are both Calvin alumni, it certainly is a monumental new Calvin chapter in their lives and ours. I pray God’s richest blessings upon the entire Boer family and Wiebe’s service as Calvin’s 12th president.