Calvin College VP of Finance Steps Down

Henry DeVries, vice president for administration, finance, and information services at Calvin College, is stepping down from his position by mutual agreement with the college.

The announcement was made by college president Michael Le Roy on November 26. Calvin College, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., is owned by the Christian Reformed Church.

DeVries’s departure comes following the revelation that the college is facing payments on more than $100 million in debt that will come due in 2017. The college is currently undergoing an 18-month review to redirect about 10 percent of its budget to service the debt.

During DeVries’s tenure, the college had investments in hedge funds and risky real estate deals that DeVries wrote about in an article called “Wise Buys” that was published online by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

The college’s board of trustees has since hired a fiduciary investments advisor to review and implement a new investment policy.

Sally Vander Ploeg, currently director of gift planning and major gifts, will assume the role of director of finance and chief financial officer on an interim basis.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

See comments (3)


Thank God for Henry DeVries. During one of the hardest economic eras in recent history, his leadership provided constructive vision when many would have been tempted to throw in the towel. This limited press release could not nor does account for the complex nature of institutional investing and fundraising, yet Henry's leadership was evident to many, both within and outside of the varying offices he occupied. Surely an example to follow for those tasked with making much from, all too often, very little to work with. Thanks for your service, friend

Really don't know much about this but anytime someone leaves a position by "mutual agreement" it suggests he was asked to leave. 

Its usually best to give institutions money on an as needed basis.  Too much cash and they tend to find ways to blow it. 

Bowen's Law: " any given time, the unit cost of education is determined by the amount of revenues currently available for education relative to enrollment." Henry Devries, Galen Byker, et al, are the embodiment of this principle, played the revenue/real estate game, and got burned.  And now our students will pay the price. I could go on for pages about the irresponsible behavior of our adults with fancy degrees and how they have passed the costs onto our students by way of 45 to 60 thousand dollar debts.  To illustrate how systemic the problem is for higher education; all colleges, not just Calvin, use Stafford and Perkins loans(Federally guaranteed loans) as "pass-through money" on the revenue side of the ledger to increase revenues.  Calvin receives 13 million dollars in S&P loans and instead mitigating the costs of education for the needy students that apply for them, they assume it into the budget.  If the federal government were to end these programs tomorrow, Calvin would have a 13M shortfall.  In this economy, that is living on the edge. Calvin needs to quit wasting money on its marketing blitz and get rid of half of its over 100 degree programs which command overstaffing. Time to chop the Geology and Japanese degrees.