Even though the Christmas trees are decorated and we’re about to gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, I find myself still thinking about Homecoming & Family Weekend 2023.

It was a weekend of Calvin at its finest from student bed races and a root beer float party to athletic fields in full use. The Calvin Music Festival moved to Homecoming Weekend this year. Alumni Board members from around North America gathered on campus. Friday’s alumni chapel unified a packed house in meaningful worship. Runners of all ages filled the starting line for the Calvin Classic 5k, and the fieldhouse was transformed into a carnival space for all to enjoy. Brilliant early fall weather certainly helped set the tone, as did seeing roughly 3,000 fans show up to watch Calvin’s football team take to the field for an intrasquad scrimmage. It was epic.

But those happy memories weren’t the only highlights I took away from this year’s Homecoming; I also came away with a renewed sense of the most important thing that unites us as Calvin alums: our faith in Christ and a sense of calling to act as agents of change in his world.

In an ongoing effort to renew our Calvin celebrations, we again held a dinner on campus to honor our 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award winners. The Great Hall that night was filled with alumni who have contributed to Calvin’s success over the decades. In a poignant moment, we recognized seven former award winners in attendance. Current and former members of the Alumni Board, the Board of Trustees, Calvin’s current leadership team, academic deans, and many faculty members also joined us. It was a wonderful night to celebrate Calvin alumni.

Young Alumni Award winner Nate Knapper ’08 and Distinguished Alumni Award winners Betsy DeVos ’79 and Janne Ritskes ’80 each spoke about receiving their awards, what the experience meant to them, and how Calvin shaped them. We were treated to three very different stories, but what was remarkable was the common thread in each of their talks: the importance of faith and a sense of God’s calling, which spurred them on to address the brokenness they saw in the world around them.

It made me think about all of us as Calvin alumni around the world. We may all share a common diploma, but we are all different too—different majors, different careers, different geography, different ethnicities, different perspectives, different opinions. The list goes on. And yet, despite our differences, we are all united by our faith and God’s calling for each one of our lives. It’s a “tie that binds” and draws us into lives of meaning, purpose, and witness.

In this issue, beyond Homecoming and reading about our award winners, you’ll also get a chance to learn about what’s happening with Calvin’s off-campus programs. You’ll take a step back in time to reflect on Calvin’s men’s basketball in the 1950s. And in this increasingly polarized world, you’ll read about what it means to demonstrate civic hospitality from Calvin alums who are incorporating its principles into their classrooms.

For me, the holidays are often a favorite time spent with family, friends, and warm memories. I pray that each one of us experiences the beauty of Christian unity as we collectively marvel in the miracle and joy of our salvation.