Heritage Hall serves as the institutional repository for Calvin Theological Seminary. This includes documents about the seminary’s history, papers and correspondences of seminary presidents, departmental records, and more. Search the Calvin Theological Seminary collection through our online database of finding aids: archives.calvin.edu.
Read on below to learn more about the history of Calvin Theological Seminary and its presidents.
1876 August 4, school opened, located on Spring Street, Grand Rapids, MI
1892 Move to campus at Madison Ave. and Franklin St. (Fifth Ave.). Grand Rapids, MI
1894 September 8, literary course begun education preliminary to seminary instruction (comparable to present-day high school curriculum)
1900 Literary course extended to five years and opened to non pre-seminary students
1901 September 4, first women students admitted
1906 John Calvin Junior College opens - 6 year program included 4 years academy training and 2 years of college; first public commencement at LaGrave Ave. Christian Reformed Church
1907 Student journal/newspaper Chimes begins Alumni Association begins
1914 Junior College expanded to three year course; Franklin Campus purchased
1917 Move to Franklin Campus, Grand Rapids, MI
1919 First college president
1920 Curriculum expanded to four year college course
1921 First graduate with bachelor's degrees
1924 With opening of Grand Rapids Christian High School, last year for preparatory students; first dormitory opened
1925 Teacher training becomes part of college curriculum, previously there had been several separate teacher training programs
1926 First dean of women, Johanna Timmer
1928 March 8, Hekman Library dedicated
1930 October 29, Franklin seminary building dedicated
1946 Enrollment jumps from 503 to 1245 in one year
1950 College enters M.I.A.A.
1956 Knollcrest campus purchase approved by Synod of Christian Reformed Church
1960 Theological Seminary begins classes on Knollcrest Campus
1962 First college classes at held Knollcrest
1973 Move to Knollcrest complete
1991 Seminary and College have separate boards of trustees
2019 Calvin College becomes Calvin University
When the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church opened in 1876, it had one instructor, whose title was docent and was in charge of the school's day-to-day affairs. As other instructors, also called docents, joined the staff, the title rector was applied to the person in charge of daily affairs. When the literary curriculum was added in 1894, the head of the Literary section went by the title of principal, while the head of the Religious section was called the rector. The office of college president was created in 1918 to replace the office of principal. The seminary head remained the rector until 1931. During this time, the position of rector rotated among the seminary faculty. In 1931 the rector became seminary president.
Geert Egberts Boer
Samuel B. Volbeda
Rienk B. Kuiper
John H. Kromminga
James A. DeJong
Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
Julius T. Medenblik