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Vanden Berg, John (1919-) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Vanden Berg, John (1919-)

Historical Note:

John Vanden Berg was born in Sully, Iowa on October 31, 1919. Although he was born in Iowa, Vanden Berg spent the majority of his boyhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  After Vanden Berg graduated from Grand Rapids Christian High School in 1938, he went on to attend Calvin College. His college education was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army which sent him to Yale University to learn the Malay language. From 1944 to 1945 he was stationed in Southeast Asia. After his service, he returned to Calvin College and graduated in 1946. Also in that year, Vanden Berg married Marian Ruth Zylstra.

Vanden Berg furthered his education at the University of Michigan where he earned his M.A. degree in economics in 1947 and his Ph.D. in economics in 1958.

In 1947 Vanden Berg became faculty in Calvin's economics department. From 1958 to 1963 he served as the chairman of the department. In 1963 Vanden Berg was appointed both vice-president for academic affairs and dean of the college. During this time Vanden Berg worked on many programs for the college including semester-interim -semester curriculum, the multi-cultural lectureship series, and the Calvin Center for Christian Studies. He also served on more than 35 college committees.

Vanden Berg was also involved in the municipal politics as well. He served as city commissioner of Grand Rapids from 1959 to 1963. He was also chairman of the Grand Rapids Coordinating Council on Education and a member of the Michigan Commission on Accreditation. Vanden Berg was active in the church as well. Vanden Berg was a member of the Fuller Avenue CRC and where he led several Bible studies. He also served as chairman of the Synodical Committee on Taxation and Christian Education. Vanden Berg and his wife even volunteered at the Christian School in Rehoboth, New Mexico.

After 35 years of service to Calvin College, Vanden Berg retired in 1982. John and Marian have established a scholarship at Calvin College called the John and Marian Vanden Berg Family Scholarship, which assists students with a major either in economics or education.


John Vanden Berg - Class of 1946 (should have been 1942, but he spent four years in military service)

Marian (Zylstra) Vanden Berg - Class of 1944

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