Calvin names Shell–All On executive as university’s 11th president

Wiebe Boer will take over as Calvin’s 11th president this summer. (Photo from

The Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Wiebe Boer, a Calvin alumnus and the current CEO of a renewable energy-focused investment company in Nigeria, as the next president of Calvin University.

Boer was unanimously recommended to the board by the Presidential Search Committee earlier this month, and his appointment was announced Monday. He will begin his work at Calvin this summer and be inaugurated officially in the fall.

Boer was raised in Jos, Nigeria by missionary parents. He’s the author of “The History of Football in Nigeria,” co author of “Abolitionists in Africa” with Stewart Davenport, and has published several articles, including “Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential: The Path to Wellbeing,” and “Africans Investing in Africa.” He has also written for Christian Century.

Boer graduated from Calvin in 1997 and holds a Ph.D. and two master’s degrees in history from Yale University. His wife Joanna Bachew is a 2003 graduate of Calvin. She holds a master’s degree in human resource management from the University of London and is the CEO of a home furnishings company in Nigeria.

The future president has held a number of previous positions, mainly in consulting and investments with a focus on energy in Africa. Before entering his current position at Shell–All On in 2017, Boer worked as a principal at Boston Consulting Group’s Lagos office from 2015-2017, with Heirs Holding — an investment company focused on power, oil and gas, real estate, agribusiness and financial services — as director of strategy and chief of staff to Chairman Tony Elumelu from 2014-2015, and as CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation from 2010-2015. Before 2010 he held several brief positions with World Vision, McKinsey & Company, the Rockefeller Foundation AfriOne Limited and USAID-OTI Nigeria. While completing his dissertation research for Yale, he installed the first major internet service provider in central Nigeria.

According to his LinkedIn page, he has never worked in higher education.

The Presidential Search Committee was formed last summer in response to the announcement of President Michael Le Roy’s planned departure. The committee, composed of trustees, faculty, community members, alumni, administrators, a student and a representative of the Christian Reformed Church in North America partnered with a search firm to complete a community survey, compile a pool of applicants, conduct interviews with finalists, and ultimately make a recommendation to the board.

The PSC’s position profile described an ideal presidential candidate as “a financial strategist,” “a student-centered leader,” and “a culturally competent and sensitive person.” According to Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mary Tuuk Kuras, that’s what they’ve found in Boer. “His academic grounding, strong sense of social justice, and depth of experience in the private and social sectors position him well to lead Calvin’s next chapter with creativity, drive, and humility,” Kuras, the head of the PSC, said in an email to the Calvin community. “His understanding of Calvin’s past propels his innovative optimism for Calvin’s bright future, and he is prepared to roll up his sleeves and work collaboratively with all stakeholders of our Calvin community on that journey.”