Welcome DC Alumni!
For over 100 years, Denver Christian School has graduated students prepared to love and serve in God’s world, working to transform it for Jesus Christ. We consider you, our alumni, not only our success stories, but also our extended family. Our goal is to keep DC alumni connected to each other and to DC. We’re here to help you organize a class reunion, connect you with former classmates, and keep you informed about what is happening at Denver Christian. Because we want to stay in touch with you, please keep us up to date with your contact information by filling out the form below, or if you prefer, by emailing Jill Kalkman, our Development and Alumni Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include life updates and stories of what you are doing for future publications and our website — feel free to email a photo of yourself engaged in the work or volunteer activity to which God has called you. Thanks for sticking around. We love our alumni!
Check Out Our Incredible Alumni Stories/Updates
Leading with Faith and Determination: Jon Van Gorp
Catching up with our Denver Christian alumni is a powerful reminder of the remarkable journeys that our students will embark on and the leaders they will become. Since graduating from Denver Christian in 1987, Jon Van Gorp has followed the Lord’s leadership in his life. He has made his mark on the legal world, leading with the values instilled in him during his upbringing and education at Denver Christian.
From Denver Christian to Law & Leadership
After graduating from Denver Christian, Jon attended Calvin College (now Calvin University), majoring in finance. He then moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. It was there that he met his wife Amy, another law student. After working in Dallas for a few years after graduating law school, Jon and Amy relocated to Amy’s hometown, Chicago. This transition started Jon’s nearly 27 year career at Mayer Brown, one of the largest law firms in the world, with 27 offices throughout Asia, North America, South America, Europe and the Middle East. For the majority of his career, Jon has maintained an active law practice, focused on asset securitization (which plays a major role in the financial systems). Jon is widely respected as a leading structured finance practitioner. Over the years, Jon has served in various leadership roles, and today serves as the chair of Mayer Brown.
Long before his journey in finance began, Jon says that Denver Christian, “equipped me with the values and the mindset to be an effective leader.” Jon points out that many of the problems he or his family faces are complex. He takes comfort knowing that God is ultimately the one in control. “My only obligation is to do my best, with the knowledge and confidence that God will handle the rest. This is the peace that surpasses understanding and that regularly washes over me in times of trial. Thank you, Denver Christian, for teaching me that!”
A Family Legacy
Jon’s journey is not just about his career. Family is at the center of his life. His wife, Amy, worked as a bankruptcy lawyer before retiring to focus on raising their children. The Van Gorp family enjoys spending time together, especially playing golf, tennis, and pickleball. Their daughter, Molly, is a senior at Northwestern University, while their son, Tyler, is a first-year student at Williams College. Jon looks forward to traveling to the Northeast to visit Tyler and enjoy some of his basketball games.
Outside of work, Jon connects to the community around him. He has served as a trustee and as the treasurer of his church, Kenilworth Union Church, and stays active in several charitable organizations. One organization close to Jon’s heart is Bottom Line, which helps low-income, first-generation college students get into and graduate from and find employment afterward. Jon says, “Bottom Line’s work is very personal to me. My dad was a low-income, first-generation college student from Pella, Iowa. His parents’ formal education stopped after the 6th grade. Despite many challenges, he went on to earn several advanced degrees in science and education.” Jon explains that his involvement in organizations like Bottom Line are a way that he acknowledges his father’s lasting legacy: “I devote my time and financial support to Bottom Line in honor of him and his educational journey.” In his career as a teacher at Cherry Creek High School, Jon’s father, Daniel, established a pre-medical careers program. Jon says, “nothing delighted him more than a surprise visit from a former student who was practicing medicine because of his pre-med program.” Daniel Van Gorp was also a critical part of the Denver Christian community, serving on the school board and the DC Foundation Board. Jon and his mother, Grace, established a Denver Christian scholarship in his name to support high school seniors pursuing medical careers.
Reflecting on Denver Christian’s Impact
Jon says that he sees his time at Denver Christian as “such an important part of my academic and spiritual journey.” One memory that continues to inspire him is the advice he received from basketball coach Dick Katte, who often emphasized, “Bloom where you are planted.” Jon saw this message as another way of saying: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Jon explains, “In my current role, I am responsible for the careers of more than 4,000 people. I don’t take this responsibility lightly. In the markets in which our firm operates, the practice of law can be unforgiving. It’s easy to get discouraged or to wonder whether a new career or a new job might create a better opportunity for happiness and success. When I am counseling lawyers and staff in these moments of self-doubt, I often queue Dick Katte’s “bloom where you are planted” speech that I heard in high school from him so many times. More often than not, I find that making it work where you are is easier and leads to more success than a change of scenery.”
White Coach Katte’s particular message stands out to Jon, he also notes the impact that the entire community of teachers had on his life: “Whether in the classroom, in the theater or on the athletic field, their greatest joy was watching their students succeed, just as my dad did. They worked tirelessly to make sure that we, their students, had the best opportunity to pursue and live out our dreams. I wish I had recognized that and thanked them at the time much more than I did.”
L – R: Jill (VanderArk) Kalkman/1980, Kara (Peters) VanDyke/2005, Kristyn (Borger) Everett/1998, Matt Olson/2001, Aric Aman/2015, Joan (Suwyn) Burkett/1964, Not pictured: Ron Forseth/1981, Kelsie (DeNooy) Ruter/2005, Jon VanGorp/1987