Calvin Theological Seminary has celebrated Dies Natalis (Latin for “birthday”) every March since the Depression.
Even though the seminary is 138 years old, this celebration goes back about 80 years, beginning in the Depression when seminary professors and their wives hosted a meal for the students.
As this became an annual event, the students wanted to show their gratitude by presenting a brief program of entertainment—music, skits, and monologues, said seminarian Elaine May.
Fast-forward to 2014, and Dies Natalis brought faculty and students together for a meal and laughter, even though the dinner was replaced by breakfast. Classes were canceled for the day.
Connie Mulder, advancement assistant, remembers helping her mother, Claire Kromminga, wife of President Emeritus John Kromminga, make table favors in the late 1950s.
“My mom and I spent hours putting sticks on cloth bags that mimicked the old Dutch ‘offering bags,’” she said.
May said that this year’s event was tied to “Called to Serve,” the inauguration theme of seminary president Jul Medenblik.
“We felt the origins of the event tied in nicely with the seminary’s renewed focus ‘Called to Serve,’ and we are grateful for the ways faculty, staff, and administration serve us.”