Brandsen Welcomed as New Provost at Convocation


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The Calvin community celebrated new beginnings at its 138th commencement on Tuesday morning, which featured the installation of Cheryl Brandsen as the college’s eighth provost and a special welcome to first-year students.

Faculty members donned their robes and regalia and student representatives from 30 countries filed into Van Noord arena holding flags to usher in the program and school year. Student senate president Jona Eigege opened the community event with praise of the community as his first act in his new role.

Cheryl Brandsen, who will oversee all faculty and academic affairs at Calvin as the new provost, was warmly welcomed and instated into her new post by four community members on behalf of students, faculty, alumni and the church.

In her induction of the new provost, faculty representative Susan Felch, an English professor, praised Brandsen for her “understated humor and clear-eyed wisdom.” After the induction, President Le Roy spoke on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 about the importance of true wisdom in the pursuit of knowledge at an academic level.

“At Calvin, we attempt to test everything, and hold on to what is good,” he said. “The world needs more than employable people with knowledge, it needs people with wisdom.”

Social work professor Rachel Venema, of Brandsen’s former department, is excited about the new leadership Brandsen brings to the college.

“We’re honored,” she said.

While all first-year students attended the convocation with their orientation groups, there was only a small smattering of upperclassmen seated in the surrounding bleachers.

Bob Crow, dean of student development, commented on the lack of upperclassmen participation at the event.

“I think that they don’t see the importance of it. It’s a big day with the installation of the new provost. They don’t know what they’re missing,” he said.

Professor Venema emphasized the importance of convocation.

“It’s healthy to have a community come together and start on the same page,” she said.

Andrew Plaisier, a junior who attended convocation, explained, “I came because it’s one of the few times we get to hear Le Roy speak.”