Higher Education and Human Resources

College names interim president

December 28, 2016
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Carl Zylstra
Carl Zylstra. Courtesy Kuyper College

A local college has selected an interim president as it searches for a permanent leader.

Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, a Christian school, said yesterday it has appointed Carl Zylstra, former president of Dordt College in Iowa, to temporarily fill the post of president.

Outgoing President Nicholas Kroeze will begin a sabbatical and transition to retirement in January, and Zylstra will step into the interim role the first week of January.

Presidential search

The search for a permanent replacement to last between six and 18 months, said Ken Capisciolto, VP for college advancement, Kuyper College.

A search committee of Kuyper College board members, students, faculty, staff and alumni has been assembled to lead the search for a new president.

The committee is chaired by board member Paul Holtrop and includes several members: Anne Bauman, a Kuyper alum; Benjamin Hoekman, a Kuyper student; Kirsten Herich, a Kuyper staff member; Judi Ravenhorst Meerman, a member of the Kuyper faculty and an alum; Capisciolto, who's also a member of the president’s cabinet; and board members Rev. John DeVries, Karen Helder, Rev. Henry Admiraal and Rev. Art Van Wolde, who is also a Kuyper alum.

"Proven chief executive"

As the search continues, Jacquelyn Bolt, board chair, said the college is pleased with Zylstra’s appointment.

“Dr. Zylstra has a solid understanding of what is required for a small Christian college to be successful,” Bolt said. “Having been president of Dordt College for 16 years, he is certainly familiar with the profiles of our various stakeholder groups, including faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni.

“His 35 years of experience on more than a dozen higher education, civic and ecclesiastical boards, combined with a decade and a half as a successful college president, brings a proven chief executive to provide interim leadership.” 

Zylstra said he’s well prepared to take the reins of Kuyper for the next several months.

“I am delighted and honored to be appointed to this position,” Zylstra said. “My years of service in a variety of associations of Christian colleges has given me a keen appreciation for the unique character of each institution, even as they together pursue a common calling of educating and preparing students as witnesses of Jesus Christ in their personal and professional lives.

“I am deeply impressed with the very special mission and place of Kuyper College within the Christian college world and look forward with anticipation and excitement to the days ahead.”

Zylstra's background

Zylstra serves as executive director of the Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities and a member of the Secretariat of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, as well as Executives in Church Related Higher Education.

He has served as a trustee on the boards of Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary.

He has also served as a board member for several organizations, including The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Barnabas Foundation, Christian Reformed World Missions and Christian Reformed World Ministries.

He holds a doctorate in theology and communication from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master of divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary and a B.A. in philosophy from Calvin College.

Kuyper College

Founded in 1939, Kuyper College is focused on training students to "make a difference in God's world."

The school offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in a variety of professional and ministry fields. 

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