Calvin University president will not renew contract following 2021-22 year

Michael Le Roy arrived at what was then Calvin College in 2012 from Spokane, Washington. Courtesy Calvin University

Michael Le Roy will be stepping down as president of Calvin University after the 2021-22 academic year, opting not to renew his contract, the university said.

In a letter to the Calvin community, Le Roy said after prayerful discernment, he and his wife Andrea have decided to return to the northwest to be closer to their adult children and parents.

“This was a hard decision for us to make, but we now believe it is the right time to respond to the pull we feel to return to the northwest to be closer to our family,” he said. “Over the past nine years, our family has grown and changed. We arrived at Calvin with active teenagers living under our roof. Now, family time has been reduced to fleeting moments with a family of young adults and aging parents who need more time and attention from us. During my 17 years in higher education leadership, I know I have missed a lot. The center of gravity for our family is now firmly rooted more than 2,000 miles away. During the pandemic, this distance only seemed greater to us. Having now emerged from this long crisis, we long to give greater emphasis to the family commitments in our lives.”

Le Roy arrived at what was then Calvin College in 2012 from Spokane, Washington. Since then, he has led the university in beginning and accomplishing different missions outlined in Vision 2030.

On July 10, 2019, Calvin College became Calvin University, and it established its first school — Calvin School of Business, which helped to expand the student population and the number of programs it now offers.

Calvin began offering bachelor’s degrees to inmates at the Handlon Correctional Facility through the Calvin Prison Initiative, a first-of-its-kind program in the state and one of few nationwide.

During his tenure, Le Roy developed a vision, a program and an $11 million endowment to enhance the development of Reformed Christian faculty at Calvin University and around the world through The de Vries Institute for Global Faculty Development.

He also led in the restructuring of the university’s finances, reducing the long-term debt by more than $45 million and bringing in more than $300 million in total fundraising.

“Michael will be remembered for his deep love and care for students and his passion for the mission of Calvin,” said Bruce Los, chair of Calvin University board of trustees. “His thoughtful and godly leadership served as a model of wisdom and grace for all that he touched. Andrea’s warm hospitality and approachable presence with students, faculty and staff was a gift to the Calvin community. This was seen most recently when she willingly stepped in to do any task that she could during the pandemic, including helping with contact tracing and testing.”

Le Roy’s term as president will end June 30, 2022.

“I am very aware that the work of the 2021-22 academic year requires the president’s diligent focus,” Le Roy said. “I intend to fulfill my duties with integrity and to give my full attention to the advancement of the institution’s mission and Vision 2030 in the time that remains. I want the community to know that the board has been very supportive of Andrea and me throughout our time at Calvin, and I have full faith and trust that the board will manage this transition well. I have been blessed to work with an excellent team of leaders during my time at Calvin, and I believe that they will be committed to a seamless transition to new leadership.”

According to Los’ statement, the board has begun to plan the search and succession of Le Roy. It has appointed Mary Tuuk Kuras, vice chair of the board of trustees, as the chair of the search committee. Other search committee members will be named soon, including three additional trustees, three faculty, two administrators, one alumni representative, one student, one representative of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and three at-large members. The committee will consult widely with the Calvin community as it develops the profile for the president and will send out regular communications about the process as it unfolds.

“I have no doubt that the next president called to this role will enjoy a fruitful, positive working relationship with the Calvin community,” Le Roy said.

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