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Calvin University Appoints 11th President

March 30, 2022
Dr. Wiebe Boer
Dr. Wiebe Boer
Photo: Calvin University

The Calvin University Board of Trustees has accepted the presidential search committee’s unanimous recommendation and has appointed Dr. Wiebe Boer as the institution’s 11th president.

Boer brings a unique combination and depth of experience from working across the private and social sectors in four countries on two continents over the past two decades. He currently serves as CEO of Shell–All On, a renewable energy investment company, in Lagos, Nigeria.

The board of trustees launched its search for Calvin’s next president in summer 2021 by appointing a search committee with representation from faculty, staff/administration, students, alumni, the board of trustees, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and the external community. The committee engaged AGB Search—a widely recognized search consultancy in higher education—to support the extensive and rigorous international search process. Boer stood out among a diverse and competitive pool of candidates.

“Wiebe personally embodies Calvin’s mission with his unique life story,” said Mary Tuuk Kuras, vice chair of the board of trustees and chair of the search committee. “His academic grounding, strong sense of social justice, and depth of experience in the private and social sectors position him well to lead Calvin into its next chapter with creativity, drive, and humility. His understanding of Calvin’s past propels his innovative optimism for Calvin’s bright future, and he is prepared to roll up his sleeves and work collaboratively with all stakeholders of our Calvin community on that journey.”

Boer was born and raised in Jos, Nigeria, to Christian Reformed missionary parents. He graduated in 1997 as a second-generation Calvin student and is married to Joanna Bachew, from Trinidad and Tobago, who graduated from Calvin in 2003.

Boer values his family’s historical connection to Calvin University, and he values the global perspective he has gained, having spent much of his childhood and adult life living and working abroad.

“Throughout the different countries and contexts I’ve served in, my focus has always been on creating impact, on making people’s lives better. So, to be called to help lead Calvin in forming graduates to be agents of renewal is humbling,” said Boer. “I am excited to innovate and collaborate with a talented faculty and staff as we together pursue Calvin’s ambitious vision and articulate that vision in a way that gains momentum both locally and globally.”

Since 2017, Boer has served as chief executive officer of Shell-All On, a renewable energy investment company, in Lagos, Nigeria. He previously served with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as one of the founders of the strategy firm’s Lagos office. He also served in executive level leadership roles with Heirs Holdings Group and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and he worked in the Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya, as well aswith McKinsey & Company and with World Vision Mauritania.

Boer earned a Ph.D. and two master’s degrees from Yale University and a bachelor's degree from Calvin, all in history. He spent a year studying political science at the University of Jos and completed his primary and secondary education at Hillcrest School in Jos.

His wife, Joanna, has a master’s degree in human resource management from the University of London and is currently the CEO of Empire Jane, a Nigerian soft home furnishings company. They have four sons.

“Andrea and I are so pleased to welcome Wiebe and Joanna to Calvin University,” said Michael Le Roy, who in June 2021 announced that the 2021-2022 academic year would be his final year serving as Calvin’s president, citing a pull to return to the northwestern United States to be closer to his adult children and aging parents. “As an accomplished academic, an entrepreneur committed to social good, and a person of deep Christian conviction and character, Wiebe offers the ideal attributes needed for Calvin to realize its aspirational global vision in this decade. I look forward to working with him as we transition to the next season of leadership.”

Boer will begin his duties as university president this summer and will be officially inaugurated in fall 2022.