Diplomas to be awarded to 259

Thomas De Vries, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, will speak at Northwestern College’s commencement ceremony on May 11.
Northwestern College will award 259 diplomas during commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 11. Twenty-two students will receive Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees, while the rest of the graduating seniors will be granted Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. in the DeWitt Physical Fitness Center of the Rowenhorst Student Center. The Rev. Dr. Thomas De Vries, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), will address the graduates in a speech entitled “Life in the Fast Lane.”

A live webcast of commencement will be available at www.nwciowa.edu/commencement/live. The college’s baccalaureate service is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, May 10, in Christ Chapel.

De Vries was lead pastor at Fair Haven Ministries, an RCA church in Hudsonville, Mich., for seven years before being installed as the denomination’s fifth general secretary in 2011.

At Fair Haven, De Vries initiated a local ecumenical prayer gathering. He also helped develop the Waves of Mercy Foundation, a community development organization that launched Hand2Hand, a food ministry working through 24 churches to provide meals for 700 children every weekend. Under his leadership, Fair Haven also helped start six new churches in West Michigan, Philadelphia and San Antonio.

De Vries has served the RCA at all three of its assembly levels—as classis coordinator for California classis, as regional synod executive in the Synod of the Far West, and as a General Synod Council member. He was also the denomination’s national coordinator for multiplication and revitalization and planted a church in Moreno Valley, Calif.

A graduate of Wheaton College, De Vries attended Talbot Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. He earned a doctorate in ministry from Western Seminary in Portland, Ore., and has taught as an adjunct professor at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Mich.