Le Roy and guests reflect and laugh at inaugural gala


Photo by Ryan Struyk

Calvin hosted a gala for President Michael Le Roy on Saturday night, capping off inauguration week with a dinner, entertainment and some laughs.

More than 350 members of the Calvin community — including alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and students  — gathered at the J.W. Marriott international ballroom in downtown Grand Rapids for the celebration.

“I thought the inauguration was something really special,” began Scott Spoelhof, chair of the board of trustees. “Hopefully this adds an appropriate exclamation point to the week.”

Le Roy had an opportunity to reflect on the inauguration ceremony from earlier that afternoon.

“The range of emotions that I’ve felt on this single day: there’s the grieving, as I remember the place that we left, and the great joy and the unequivocal hospitality that so many of you have conveyed,” he said.

“[I] just continue to be overwhelmed and so does my family with the graciousness and generosity of spirit that we find here.”

And while there was time for reflection, the night also featured some humor.

“First, the really important stuff,” started Spoelhof, to open the evening. “Michigan 12, Michigan State 10.”

He got mixed reactions from the crowd, but his next line got a more unified response: “Women’s volleyball: Calvin 3, Hope 0.”

Two of Le Roy’s friends from Spokane, Wash. came to share their thoughts and memories of Le Roy.

“Michael has been an agent of God’s grace and is one of the finest men I’ve ever met,” said Eric Peterson, the pastor of Le Roy’s church.

“Michael showed up and met me and cared for me and incarnated the living presence of God to me,” he continued.

Mark Nelson, Le Roy’s brother-in-law and a philosophy professor at Westmont College, also shared his thoughts.

“Michael and [his wife] Andrea are on to a good thing because Calvin is great place,” he said. “But I think Calvin is on to a good thing because there are great people there.”

After all the kind words and stories, Le Roy had a chance to respond.

“It felt a lot like I was dead,” he quipped. “Then I looked down and saw I was wearing a tux. Someone needs to pinch me.”

Later on in the evening, Rick Treur, director of the Calvin Annual Fund, pointed out the coincidence that Le Roy’s middle name is King and his last name means King in French.

“Are you going to change the presidency into a monarchy?” asked Treur.

“I hadn’t thought of it, but it sounds like a good idea,” quipped Le Roy, wondering aloud whether it could pass through faculty senate.

The night also featured live entertainment from the Choral Scholars, a ten-person choir of Calvin alumni.

As the inaugural events draw to a close, Calvin looks to its future with Le Roy.

“We couldn’t be happier to have you guys become a part of the Calvin community,” said Spoelhof. “There’s no doubt God has certainly led and blessed the [search] process. President Le Roy will continue Calvin’s tradition of excellent leadership while carrying out Calvin’s mission.”

“We’re looking forward to this year and many years after,” said Le Roy.