On the day the letter from Calvin College arrived last summer, Michael Le Roy wasn’t convinced he was ready to leave Spokane, Wash.—or to be a college president.
But after polling his three children and getting mixed messages, Le Roy—who described himself Monday night as an outsider who grew up not knowing much about the Christian Reformed Church—was confident that God was leading him toward a new adventure.
Dr. Michael Le Roy
Photo: Karen Huttenga
It was one that came with a gold and maroon striped tie.
Le Roy was overwhelmingly affirmed by Synod 2012 as Calvin’s 9th president, a new leader committed to keeping higher education affordable while remaining true to the school’s mission.
“If Calvin was going to change,” Le Roy said, “I wouldn’t be interested.”
Le Roy—who has been serving as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Whitworth University—succeeds Gaylen Byker, Calvin’s president for the past 17 years.
Le Roy told delegates that he is committed to keeping Calvin’s ties to the CRC strong, but that he’d like to build diversity—both among students and faculty. It is those groups that Le Roy said he would spend a lot of time with as he begins his tenure at Calvin, admitting he still has a lot to learn.
Le Roy said that Calvin would continue to be a school built on the moorings of the truths it was founded on, including the authoritative nature of Scripture. He said there are certain “delicate balances”—including issues of faith and science—that he will need to investigate more before coming to a conclusion on issues that Calvin has dealt with in the past.
Le Roy said his leadership style and goals would be clear from the start. Ultimate success, he said, won’t be about him—but about Calvin’s students. “The purpose of the college is to educate the next generation of faithful Christians,” Le Roy said. “Scholarship is important, but it’s not the end. The end is the development of students.”