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Jonathan Calderon of Geneva College Named 2016 Calvin DeWitt Leadership Fellow

May 03, 2016

The DeWitt Fellowship is named after the Institute’s founding Executive Director and President Emeritus, Dr. Cal DeWitt. DeWitt’s visionary leadership led Au Sable during its first two decades as an Institute, and engaged with the wider Christian community to care for God’s earth out of joy for the good gift of creation and out of our responsibility as earthkeepers for serving and protecting it. The DeWitt Fellowship provides an award of US $5,100 to a student applicant who demonstrates not only exemplary academic ability, but a record of accomplishment in Christian leadership in environmental care and effective engagement of others in such work.

In this year of 2016, Au Sable is pleased to name and honor Mr. Jonathan Calderon of Geneva College (Pennsylvania) as our Calvin B. DeWitt Fellowship winner. Jonathan enters his senior year at Geneva this fall to complete a double major in Spanish and Environmental Science, as well as a double minor in Biology and Chemistry. This summer at Au Sable Jonathan will be enrolled in both Summer Session I and Summer Session II, taking courses in Conservation Biology, Land Resources, Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Applications for Geographic Information Systems.

An embodiment of exemplary leadership in all areas of life, Jonathan has a long record of initiative in outdoor activities, Christian service, and community engagement. A former snowboarding instructor, lifeguard, landscaper and soccer coach, Jonathan also has the experience of running a Vacation Bible School in his church and serving in Special Olympics in his community. In the work of creation care, Jonathan implemented sustainable practices in his “Shalom Restoration” themed dorm where he served as the dorm’s Resident Advisor, and, for the wider student community at Geneva, served as Treasurer for Geneva’s Creation Care Club. Drawing on experiences in missions in Costa Rica and Ecuador, as well as from his studies at Geneva College, Jonathan aspires to a career in ecological restoration or sustainable development in the United States or abroad. 

Jonathan is not only an outstanding leader, but an exemplary student who also meets the high academic expectations of the DeWitt Fellowship, having compiled a 3.98 GPA after three years of study at Geneva, as well as gaining the respect of staff and faculty throughout the college. “Jonathan has a gift for sharing his passion and knowledge of environmental stewardship with others in a way that compels others to care,” says Hannah Brenton, Resident Director of Themed Houses, Geneva College. Wendy R. Shidemantle, Associate Professor of Spanish at Geneva says that Jonathan stands out as one of the best students she has taught in her 19 years of teaching and that, “Not only is Jonathan outstanding academically, but he is a leader and a very well rounded student.”  Marjie Tobias, Au Sable Faculty Representative and Assistant Professor of Biology at Geneva echoes the thoughts of her colleagues and says, “It’s always a pleasure to have Jonathan around, and he always has a good attitude towards his work and towards life in general. He interacts well with others and leads by example.”

Au Sable looks forward to Jonathan being part of our Great Lakes Campus community this summer. Congratulations, Jonathan! We’re honored to welcome you as the 2016 Calvin DeWitt Fellow.