New residence hall at Northwestern to be named for President Greg and Michelle Christy

Following the April 21 groundbreaking ceremony, President Greg Christy and his wife, Michelle, stand on the site of the future residence hall named in their honor.

Northwestern College will name a soon-to-be-constructed residence hall the Christy Suites in honor of the college’s president, Greg Christy, and his wife, Michelle.

Northwestern’s board of trustees made the naming decision in response to a request from the lead donors for the project: Mary DeWitt of Holland, Michigan, and her five children—Jim, Steve, Jackie, Laurie and Linda—and their spouses.

Members of the DeWitt family have been generous supporters of Northwestern through the years, and many buildings on campus bear their name. This time, however, when the DeWitts gave $5 million for the college’s latest construction project, they had a special request.

“Their desire instead was to honor the Christys for their strong leadership, humility, work ethic, integrity and commitment to Christ,” says Tricia Vermeer, chair of the trustees. “The DeWitt family appreciates the heart, as well as the leadership, of the Christys. They continue to help Northwestern shine as a faithful Christian college of the highest excellence.”

Greg Christy has served as Northwestern’s president since 2008, and during that time, has led fundraising for the construction or renovation of 10 buildings, including a new library, science center, fieldhouse and admissions welcome center. Enrollment has grown to a record 1,712 students, with graduate programs offered in education, physician assistant studies and counseling. The director of a new engineering program has been hired, and classes for that major will start in 2024.

Christy Suites

“I was speechless,” Greg Christy says of his reaction when the DeWitts told him not only of their willingness to give the lead gift but also of their wishes for the building’s name. “I am deeply humbled and honored that they would think of doing something in honor of Michelle and me.”

Christy says his more than 15 years at Northwestern are due to the alignment of the college’s Christian mission with his and Michelle’s values.

“It’s been a real honor to serve an institution that holds Christ-centered ideals,” he explains. “We have a very supportive board of trustees and dedicated and talented faculty and staff. Michelle and I believe deeply in the mission of Northwestern, and we believe deeply in our faculty and staff. It’s just a privilege to serve alongside them.”

The Christy Suites will house 157 women in suite-style rooms. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 21, and the residence hall is expected to be ready for occupancy by August 2024. The $14 million facility will consist of three floors, each with two wings, along with a large number and variety of common spaces to encourage the development of community among students.

Each floor of the new dorm will consist of two wings, with a large gathering area where the two wings come together. The first-floor common space will feature a 24-hour mini-market in addition to meeting spaces, a kitchenette and study nooks. The second floor will have a full-size kitchen with an island, along with two large lounge areas, while the third floor’s common area will be large enough for all of the dorm’s residents to gather in one place. It will also include study nooks and a TV lounge.

The end of each wing will offer study rooms and a small reading area bathed in light from floor-to-ceiling windows. Each floor will also have a laundry room and printers.

Julie Elliott, vice president for student life, praises the design for offering students “the best of both worlds”—the privacy of their own bathrooms in each suite, and the community that will be fostered in large, bright lounges that will anchor the center of the building on each floor.

“Students will find that every public space is designed to create opportunities to connect with others on their wing, on their floor, and in the hall,” she says. “In a time when Gen Z students in the U.S. report unprecedented levels of loneliness and social isolation, the friendships that develop in a space like this one are more important than ever.”