Kyle & Hilary Vegh: Paying it Forward

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Kyle & Hilary Vegh: Paying it Forward

Kyle and Hilary Vegh at their wedding with a group of attendees.
Sarah CrossPost author The Journey

“I was a terrible student. I hated everything to do with academics,” Professor Kyle Vegh ’15 says. “But my master’s wasn’t hard because by that point I had gone through the crucible that is Grace Christian University.”

Crucible likely isn’t the word most Grace alumni would use to describe the welcoming environment and small class sizes. But coddle isn’t, either; Grace accelerates all-around development: academic, social, and spiritual.

“Grace was an immense time of growth for me as a person,” Kyle says. Perhaps it was a crucible for Kyle—who came from a homeschool background and wasn’t sure what he wanted career wise—but a good one.

While attending a church in New Jersey, Kyle and his older brother, Ryan ’15, met Pastor Karl Records ’01 who introduced them to Grace Christian University—Ryan went, and so Kyle followed, thinking Grace would provide a good biblical foundation. He began studying business, then youth ministry, before eventually landing on biblical studies. Through his ministry experiences, he discovered that he wanted to work with college students.

“I knew that I had a lot of growth in my life that needed to happen,” Kyle says. “I told myself I wouldn’t even think about girls for the first two years of my time at Grace.”

Hilary Vegh ’15, who had always planned to attend Grace, was the first student Kyle met when he arrived. She was pursuing special education and hoping to just maybe meet a “nice Christian boy.” Grace is weaved into Hilary’s history. Her father attended Grace; so did her grandparents. Her great-grandfather, Pearl Pickett, taught at Milwaukee Bible Institute. And when the school moved to Grand Rapids, the family followed.

Hilary grew up on campus in Berean Hall and attended Frontline Bible Church. But in high school, Hilary’s family moved to Lansing—her father, a pastor, had accepted a job there—and she didn’t have a core group of friends. She was set on going to Grace because she knew its small environment would foster friendship. Although she might not describe it as a “crucible,” Hilary also grew during her time as a student.

“In high school, I was very anxious every single day,” Hilary says. “I remember my stomach always hurt before going to class.” But at Grace, Hilary gained the confidence to speak up in class and talk with professors one-on-one.

Grace brought growth, but also connection to those they could learn from.

Transformational Relationships

Today, Hilary remembers the influence of Michelle Loverin ’04, the Resident Director her freshman year. Michelle’s authenticity and willingness to share her personal life stories was something Hilary really admired.

Meanwhile Kyle was similarly impacted by Dr. Mat Loverin’s ’98 theology classes, specifically Biblical Christian Thought, which Kyle now teaches. Dr. Loverin helped Kyle expand his worldview and broaden his understanding of what it meant to be a Christian.

“The Loverins are just so intentional,” Kyle says. “They think so deeply about things.”

Now they’re colleagues.

“Kyle was always an enterprising and attentive student with a creative and unconventional approach to his studies,” Dr. Loverin says. “Now as a professor in the School of Bible and Ministry, I am consistently blessed by Kyle’s desire to become a better teacher with every passing year.”

Grace Community 

But it wasn’t just academics that affected Kyle and Hilary—their peers in the Grace community were the most important aspect of their growth. Kyle and Hilary made close connections, learning how to be vulnerable and confident even if the vulnerability wasn’t well-received.

Kyle found a new kind of friendship:

“I felt so left out in middle school and high school that when I came to Grace I decided this would be the time in my life where I would make sure that no one felt left out,” Kyle says. “I found that to be the most life-giving thing for my time at Grace.”

This resulted in many important and long-lasting relationships.

“I would just encourage students not to wonder, ‘Will people be nice to me? Will people make friends with me?’ Like, no, go make friends. That is your job,” Kyle says.

Hilary offers a similar sentiment.

“I want students to know that this is such a special time in their life,” Hilary says. “They have responsibility, but less responsibility in this very unique bubble where people are loving and it’s safe and they can be who they want to be. I want them to take advantage of that.”

They threw themselves into the Grace community; both Kyle and Hilary were RAs; Hilary led a Harry Potter club and Kyle a yo-yo club. They traveled to Israel and Ireland. Kyle worked in Bultema Memorial Library and was a teaching assistant for the Bible department, occasionally teaching classes.

“I just loved the friendly community,” Kyle says. “Our whole life was there. All of our friends, all our connections.”

Paying it Forward

And it was great—so great, in fact, that they were hesitant to move on.

“We love whatever stage of life we’re currently in,” Kyle says. “So when Hilary knew I was going to ask her to start dating me, she hid in her room for three days. She didn’t talk to me at all.”

Graduation in 2015 threw them into new rhythms. Kyle went to Cornerstone Theological Seminary for his master’s degree, hoping to return to Grace to teach. Hilary spent a year at Grand Rapids Community College in the occupational therapy assistant program, having completed the prerequisites at Grace.

Kyle and Hilary married in 2016. Kyle was working at Cornerstone’s Miller Library at the time, but Hilary needed a job, so she applied to Grace—“Which was always a dream!”—and began working in the enrollment department.

Today, the Veghs are an unavoidable part of Grace with Hilary as the Undergrad Enrollment Assistant Director and Kyle as Assistant Professor in the School of Bible and Ministry, teaching theology and Greek.

And while Kyle has come full-circle on the academics—he’s currently working on a doctorate through Lancaster Bible College’s Capital Seminary—it’s the students and staff at Grace that both Kyle and Hilary are most passionate about.

“I just love getting to meet and hang out with students that I’m teaching,” Kyle says. “I get to know and be involved in the lives of students.”

“I really like the people. It’s fun going into work,” Hilary says. “I consider my coworkers friends.”

No one really plans to stay at school after graduation—but Grace isn’t just a school. It’s a community.


Read more stories like this in The Journey Magazine | Spring 2024 >


Sarah Cross ’24 is a student in the communication program and a freelance writer and editor.

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