The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church endorsed Michael Le Roy as the nominee to become the next president of Calvin College, the Grand Rapids, Mich., school owned by the denomination.
Le Roy is currently provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., where he also received his undergraduate degree before earning a Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. He is currently a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.SA.).
In his interview with the board, Le Roy said he is drawn to the clear and coherent theology at Calvin College. He also sees challenges facing the college. “What I perceive now is that Calvin is a college that is trying to understand how to remain rooted in a clear, coherent Reformed perspective and reach out to a diverse student population,” he said. “We’re in a post-denominational context [where] 18-year-olds are very experiential, a-historical, and a-theological. Calvin has a lot to give those students, but has to make sure it is in a language that is accessible.”
Le Roy also told trustees that he values the learning that can come from the conflict inherent in the paradox of being a Christian institution of higher learning.
“It’s not a fun thing, but I view conflict as the most important learning opportunity we have in community, because truth is emerging. We have the opportunity to listen well, to see common ground. I’m drawn to the learning in that moment,” he said. “Many times I walk away changed, with a better understanding of myself and God. The other thing I want is for people to feel that they’ve been heard and that they walk away changed.”
The three things he sees as being significant to higher education in the future are the role of technology, the cost of education, and the way brain science is changing our understanding of the learning process.
Scott Greenway is a member of the Board of Trustees and served on the search committee. Asked if the search committee was unable to find a good candidate for the position who is Christian Reformed, he said, “We had outstanding candidates, including some who are CRC. We came down to Michael because we really felt, having listened to the broader constituency, that he really matched what we needed.”
Le Roy’s nomination comes from the board of Calvin College and must now be ratified by Synod 2012, the annual leadership meeting of the CRC.