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College to become university

May 8, 2018
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Calvin College campus students
Calvin College, with almost 4,000 students, is one of the nation's largest Christian colleges. Courtesy Calvin

A local private liberal arts college will change its name and become a university within the next two years.

Grand Rapids-based Calvin College said today its Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the institution becoming Calvin University by 2020.

“This direction enables us to live into what has already been true about Calvin, and it will better position us for the innovative work that is necessary for the future,” said Michael Le Roy, president, Calvin College. “We see this move providing a great opportunity to introduce more people to Calvin’s distinctive Christian mission.”

The move is part of Calvin’s “Vision 2030” statement that will guide the institution’s priorities over the next decade.

The shift to university, approved during the board’s spring meeting, will coincide with the 100th-anniversary of Calvin becoming a four-year college.

The board’s decision follows the unanimous endorsement of the college’s faculty senate in late April.

Le Roy said the rationale for the decision is “strong” and includes factors such as the breadth of academic offerings, an increasingly global network of partners and a large contingent of international students, among whom the term “college” is less recognized than the term “university.”

Calvin also said adopting a university structure will allow the institution greater opportunities for innovation within and across disciplines, professional programs and centers and institutes.

“A move to a university with a liberal arts foundation both names what we already do and liberates us to do that work better,” said Kevin den Dulk, political science professor at Calvin College and executive director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics.

“I’m especially enthusiastic about using the university structure to expand our global reach, which is already considerable, yet has a lot of room to grow.”

Calvin College

Founded in 1876, Calvin College is located at 3201 Burton St. SE in Grand Rapids.

Calvin has more than 3,800 students from 45 U.S. states, 60 countries and five Canadian provinces.

It offers 100-plus majors and programs, including graduate degrees in accounting, education and speech pathology and audiology.

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