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Whitworth Executive VP Michael Le Roy elected president of Calvin College

December 15, 2011
Christian Reformed Church synod to vote in June on whether to ratify board's decision

Michael K. Le Roy, an alumnus and current provost and executive vice president of Whitworth University, has been selected to be the next president of Calvin College, a Christian Reformed liberal arts school located in Grand Rapids, Mich. Calvin College's current president, Gaylen J. Byker, is stepping down at the end of this school year after 16 years of service. Calvin's presidential search committee submitted their unanimous recommendation to the college's board of trustees Dec. 14, and the board voted to approve the nomination on Jan. 7. The Christian Reformed Church's synod will vote in June on whether to ratify the board's decision.

"I am honored and humbled to be selected by the board of trustees for this opportunity to serve the Calvin College community. I have long admired and appreciated Calvin's Reformed Christian mission, its distinguished faculty, its engagement with the culture through the lens of faith, and its particular blend of intellectual curiosity and Christian conviction that prepares students to transform the world," Le Roy says. "I am indebted to my colleagues and friends at Whitworth University who have prepared me as a student, a faculty member and an administrator. It will be painful for me to leave a community I love so much, and I will always be a proud supporter of Whitworth and its mission."

Scott Spoelhof, chair of Calvin's board of trustees, says, "The board of trustees is both blessed and honored to appoint Dr. Michael Le Roy to the position of President at Calvin. He is a collaborative, visionary leader with proven academic, administrative, and scholarship skills who is committed to furthering the mission of Calvin. His commitment to reformed theology will serve our institution well as we not only interact with our existing constituencies, but also seek to engage the broader evangelical community."

Le Roy, who graduated from Whitworth in 1989 with majors in international studies and peace studies, returned to his alma mater as a professor of political science in 2002 after serving as department chair and associate professor of political science and international relations at Wheaton College, in Illinois. Le Roy was appointed Whitworth's vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty in 2005 and was promoted to the executive vice presidency in 2010.

"Michael's outstanding service as Whitworth's chief academic officer has contributed significantly to the university's rising academic quality and reputation," says Whitworth President Beck A. Taylor. "His vision for our academic programs will serve Whitworth for years to come, and his commitment to the Christ-centered calling of the university has strengthened Whitworth's mind and heart mission. Although we are saddened to lose Michael's leadership and presence among us, it speaks volumes that a quality institution such as Calvin College would find its next leader at Whitworth. We are doubly proud of Michael since he is also a Whitworth alumnus and represents so much of what Whitworth thinks is important. I am confident that Michael will be a great president for Calvin."

After earning his undergraduate degree from Whitworth, Le Roy went on to earn his Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University, in Nashville. While completing his doctoral research, Le Roy was a Fulbright Scholar and the American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellow at Gothenburg University, in Sweden.

As a professor of political science at Whitworth, Le Roy provided collaborative leadership for interdisciplinary teams of faculty in two programs: Whitworth's capstone program integrating ethics, public policy, culture, and Christian worldview perspective, and Whitworth's long-standing Central America Study Program, in which he had participated as a student.

As vice president of academic affairs, Le Roy has led the rapid transformation of Whitworth's academic program. He helped reinvigorate research and teaching in the sciences, including the planning and design for the 63,000-square-foot Robinson Science Hall, which opened this fall. In 2010, Le Roy completed a collaborative initiative to open Whitworth University's first international education center, located in Costa Rica. Over the past year, Le Roy has played a central role in the development of the academic vision in Whitworth University's new strategic plan, Whitworth 2021: Courage at the Crossroads.

As a scholar, Le Roy has published refereed journal articles, four editions of his textbook Comparative Politics: An Introduction Using MicroCase, and four editions of Research Methods in Political Science. Le Roy also has published several data archives and multimedia educational resources used with the MicroCase data analysis package that is frequently used in political science. Le Roy is a frequent commentator and analyst on international and national politics for regional television and radio stations. He also served as a board member for the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI) and the board of the WSU College of Nursing.

Le Roy and his wife, Andrea, have three children--Dana, Hannah and Astrid.

Calvin College, located in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a comprehensive liberal arts college in the Reformed tradition of historic Christianity. The college, which began in 1876, now serves a population of more than 3,900 students and offers more than 100 majors and programs.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Rhosetta Rhodes, chief of staff, President's Office, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4238 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or