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Calvin Theological Seminary Welcomes Diverse Students

August 23, 2023
New international students and their families gather in the Seminary Student Center for orientation.
New international students and their families gather in the Seminary Student Center for orientation.

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, an incoming class of diverse seminarians will begin their Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) journey—on-site at the Grand Rapids, Mich., campus nestled in the corner of Burton Street and the East Beltline; and from homes, churches, and cafes around the world through distance learning.

“We are ready to engage these new students and their contexts to help them follow God’s calling in ministry,” said President Jul Medenblik, who will lead the seminary in welcoming more than 50 new learners to CTS this fall.

The incoming class will be the largest since the COVID-19 pandemic reached North America in 2020 and caused changes and disruptions to graduate programs across the globe.

“We look forward to welcoming this large cohort of incoming students,” Medenblik said, “as we have every reason to be confident that each student will receive personalized attention. CTS intentionally focuses on a robust faculty-to-student ratio and hospitality so that students are equipped and supported by our seminary community.”

This semester’s incoming students hail from the United States, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, and South Korea. About 60 percent of the incoming class will study in person in newly renovated CTS classrooms and other learning spaces. The remaining 40 percent will study through a distance-learning program, whether hybrid or fully online.

As of Aug. 21, the seminary has been hosting multiple new student orientations, starting with international student orientation, which wraps up Aug. 24, and continuing with Th.M. and Ph.D. orientation and residential student orientation. All new students also take part in an online orientation course throughout August.

These orientation opportunities are not just intended to equip students with practical resources to succeed in their studies; they’re also a chance to connect students with professors and each other in a meaningful way.

“Most of the content is provided to students in online orientation, so residential orientation can focus on building community with faculty, staff, and other students,” said Jeff Sajdak, dean of students. “Students form friendships in chapel worship, at meals, and at other events. It’s a taste of the learning community they’ll experience at CTS.”

The first day of classes is on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and convocation will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 6. Geoff Vandermolen, director of vocational formation and of the doctor of ministry program, will present the convocation message to begin the new academic year.

To learn more about Calvin Theological Seminary and consider joining CTS next semester, visit