When Kris Haymon thinks about his lifelong Christian faith, he recalls a story his mother used to
frequently tell him as a young man. And he laughs as he recounts it.
“My parents met in church, and I have been involved in that church community for the majority of my life,” he said with a broad smile. “My faith has been a really foundational thing for me growing up, and the story my mother loves to tell is that when she was pregnant with me, and would be playing Christian music, I would start dancing. So, yes, I’ve been growing in the faith since even before birth.”
Now, Haymon is the new director of admissions at Kuyper College and is eager to start reaching the next generation of Kuyper leaders with the reasons they should consider a Kuyper education.
He said he has fertile soil to work with.
“What we do here is amazing,” he said. “We have such great opportunities here for students. This place is a great fit for so many. We need to work hard to get Kuyper’s message in front of high school students and their families and pastors and other important people in their lives because if we do, this life-changing education we offer will be available to them, and that’s an amazing thing.”
Haymon himself said he was captivated by Kuyper when he saw the job posting for director of admissions. He began his higher education career as part of the admissions team at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan, located 40 miles southwest of Ann Arbor, and then worked in admissions at Central Michigan University, his alma mater (he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degree at CMU in political science).
“Kuyper has a deep sense of community and a strong academic tradition,” he said. “Kuyper is committed to the spiritual growth of its students. Kuyper wants to see its students succeed. We offer students a wonderful place to earn a degree, and for me, this was an equally wonderful job opportunity.”
And while Haymon is eager for fall to arrive and for students to return to campus, he said with a chuckle that summer is also a great time for prospective students to visit a college campus, and he encourages folks to contact him to set up a tour.
“Come out and visit us,” he said. “I think the more that people interact with the campus, the more they will see what we have to offer and the great things this community can do for a student for whom this place is a fit.”
In addition to his admissions experiences at Siena Heights and then CMU, Haymon also worked as a CMU student for Mott Community College in his hometown of Flint, and he said that was where his passion for a career in higher education was first ignited.
He’s excited by KuyperWorks and its ability to kindle that same vocational fire in Kuyper students.
He also said he plans to draw on his work after his graduation from CMU with AdviseMI, which is an AmeriCorps program hosted by the Michigan College Access Network that places college graduates in selected high schools across Michigan, particularly high schools that are located in communities with low college-going rates, to serve as college advisers.
Serving alongside high school counselors and other school professionals, advisers support students as they explore their postsecondary options and complete college-going steps, and Haymon spent a year at Muskegon Heights High School in such a capacity, something he said that taught him a lot.
“We got FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) training, we worked with transcripts, we helped students dream about and create degree plans,” he recalled. “It was very, very valuable, and it went really well because you were able to take students who might have had very little in the way of collegiate aspirations and really build them up and build that confidence that they could do this.”
“I’m kind of old soul when it comes to music,” he said. “Music is a big part of my life, and I play piano, saxophone, and guitar, so probably music will show up on my walls somehow. And of course, Michigan football I’m sure will be adorning the walls here at some point.”
In the meantime, though, there’s the Kuyper story to tell, and he can’t wait to spread the good news about a college he already has come to know and love in the few weeks he’s been in his new job.
“I’m laser-focused right now on getting Kuyper in front of people,” he said with a grin. “The walls might have to wait.”