Michael Le Roy's career has been deeply molded by Reformed theology, one of the many reasons he accepted the offer to become the 10th president of Calvin College in June 2012. "I love the worldview tradition—that's why I love Calvin," he said. "But also through the course of my life as an academic, I've come to see the real value of the heart side. The heart chases the mind."
With celebrated teaching posts at Wheaton College, Whitworth University, and the College of William and Mary, Le Roy now has a chance to help the 4,000-plus students at the Christian Reformed Church–affiliated college integrate their studies with their spirits. But with increased competition from distance-learning programs, he thinks that can really happen only in the traditional learning environment. "You think of Jesus Christ himself—that was an incarnation act. Embodiment is important to Christ, so learning in an embodied environment is really important. The brick-and mortar-place, particularly this place, is a crucible."
Le Roy recently sat down in his home with CT managing editor Katelyn Beaty (who is, full disclosure, a Calvin graduate) to discuss the financial and pastoral challenges he's facing, as well as how he's fared as a non-Dutch president—and the first president who never attended the Grand Rapids, Michigan, college.
At your inauguration ceremony last fall, you described your role as "educator-in-chief." What does that phrase mean to you, especially as you work with different constituencies—students, faculty, alumni, the board, the Christian Reformed Church, and the city of Grand Rapids?
Often when we think of the term educator, we think ...