The past few months have felt to me as if we’ve turned a corner, particularly here at Calvin, in my role with alumni. After a few years of quarantine and social distancing, it’s a welcome relief to gather in community once again. I’ve heard the same from many of you as well—spending time together has been life-giving.
This fall and early winter, I met many alumni at on-campus events, such as Homecoming. I spent time with our two Distinguished Alumni Award winners, George Comer and Chris Holstege. I’m also looking forward to meeting our Young Alumni Award winner, Nana Owusu-Achau, this spring, when he travels back to Calvin. I’ve had wonderful visits with alumni outside of west Michigan, too, in places like Pella, Denver, and a few stops in Ontario, Canada. I’m continually humbled to meet so many wonderful alumni and to hear their stories.
I’m not the only one who has been out meeting alums. In their first few months, our new president, Wiebe Boer, and his wife, Joanna, attended gatherings with alumni in many corners of the world. At these events, Pres. Boer often got asked about his early impressions of Calvin. His answer was always a version of this simple but true sentiment:
“We have a lot to celebrate here at Calvin.”
President Boer is right; we do have a lot to celebrate. The dedication of a new School of Business building, the formation of new Schools of Health and Education, the most diverse student body in Calvin’s history, a rapidly growing number of masters students, success on the athletic fields, new and strengthening global partnerships, remarkable faculty scholarship achievements, and the recent celebration of the inauguration of a new president. Indeed, there is much to celebrate.
During this season, I believe we can each find much to celebrate in our own lives, too. Celebration doesn’t mean all our challenges simply disappear. There is unfinished work ahead—tough questions remain unanswered, personal struggles may continue, and ongoing divisions in our society may concern or confuse us. Yet, we are blessed to belong to this Calvin community, with a shared faith to guide us.
As we find ourselves in this special time of thanksgiving and celebration, I pray each of us will take time to remember God’s blessings.
I am personally thankful for the gift of serving in my role and meeting so many of you, our wonderful alumni. I am thankful the Lord brought President Boer and his family to Calvin at this moment in time. I am thankful God has blessed Calvin for nearly 150 years in its mission to educate students for his kingdom. And most importantly, I am thankful for the birth of his Son, our Savior, through whom our salvation is assured.
Soli Deo Gloria.
MEET SPARK’S NEW MANAGING EDITOR
This past summer, the Spark team welcomed a new managing editor: Sara Korber-DeWeerd ’00. Korber-DeWeerd joins Spark with over 20 years of experience in secondary and higher education, as well as a growing body of freelance work. In addition to writing for and editing Spark, she works part-time at Whitinsville Christian School in Whitinsville, Massachussetts, and writes for a variety of publications about faith, family, disability, and belonging.
“I believe stories have the power to build empathy and create a kinder, more just world,” she said. “When we listen with our imaginations, our experiences connect and change us.”
Korber-DeWeerd most enjoys sharing the power of language and story with young people, whether writing for children, helping English language learners develop communication skills, or teaching composition and creative writing. She is excited to return to Calvin University and serve in a new capacity. “It’s great to come full circle and participate in this incredible community again.”