The institutional change, which will take place in 2020, is part of Vision 2030, a statement that sets a vision for the college as it seeks to fulfill its mission over the next decade.
Meanwhile, Dordt College, a Christian Reformed Church-affiliated school in Sioux Center, Iowa, also recently announced that it will become Dordt University in May 2019.
In speaking about this move, Richard Mouw, president emeritus of Fuller Theological Seminary and a member of the Dordt College Board of Trustees, said, “In many countries, the word college refers to high school, so some students overlook Dordt as an option for postsecondary education. Potential graduate students search for universities . . . as an engaging, challenging place to learn.”
The shift to become Calvin University in 2020, approved during the board’s spring meeting, will take place in the 100th-anniversary year of Calvin’s becoming a four-year college.
The board’s decision follows unanimous endorsement by the college’s faculty senate in late April, after more than nine months of collaborative strategic work by the Calvin community.
“This direction enables us to live into what has already been true about Calvin, and it will better position us for the innovative work that is necessary for the future,” said Michael Le Roy, president of Calvin College. “We see this move providing a great opportunity to introduce more people to Calvin’s distinctive Christian mission.”
Le Roy says the rationale for Calvin’s becoming a university is strong, including Calvin’s strength, breadth, and depth of academic programs; new opportunities for academic innovation; and increasing influence with students and higher education partners around the globe. The college also has a large international student population for whom the term university is more visible and better understood than college.
“A move to becoming a university with a liberal arts foundation both names what we already do and liberates us to do that work better,” said Kevin den Dulk, political science professor at Calvin College and executive director of the Henry Institute. “I’m especially enthusiastic about using the university structure to expand our global reach, which is already considerable yet has a lot of room to grow.”
In Sioux Center, the similar change “fits Dordt’s mission, highlights the excellence of its academic programs, and emphasizes its global footprint,” said president Erik Hoekstra.
“Dordt University best describes who we are and who we are becoming,” he said.
“Over the years, we have developed academic and cocurricular programs that grow out of our mission to prepare students to serve in the professions they enter and the communities in which they live. Dordt now looks and acts more like a university than a college.”
Dordt College will officially become Dordt University on May 13, 2019, three days after the class of 2019 becomes the final class to graduate from Dordt as a college.