Mulonge Kalumbula: A Passion for Students

Apr 24, 2023 | Alumni, The Journey

Dr. Mulonge Kalumbula’s ’00 story begins in Africa, over 7,000 miles away from Grace Christian University. Born in Congo, Mulonge enjoyed his childhood. But when he was 12, he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his mother and three of his siblings to be near their father, a Grace Bible College student. Grace became a second home, and he says growing up in two different countries uniquely broadened his view of the world.

“In Congo, we were poor in resources, but we didn’t know it,” Mulonge says. “In America, we were poor too, but I didn’t know that either.”

When he was 15, Mulonge’s parents returned to Congo, and he stayed in Grand Rapids. Soon, he found himself in need. But that’s when the Grace community played a crucial role.

 “At Grace, I was surrounded by a loving community that loved God and loved each other.” 

Mulonge soon found people who took him in and loved him like a son. He considers Scott and Dee Rolff and Dan and Mary-Ann Conklin his spiritual and foster parents. 

“My biological parents … helped us pursue our dreams, help others, and forge our own paths,” Mulonge says. “My other parents, too, have taught me about life through their love of God and their love for others.” 

When it came time for a college decision, Mulonge didn’t have to think very long. Following in his father’s footsteps, he planned to attend Grace and transfer to Michigan State University medical school. But, God had other plans. 

“Once I got to Grace, I discovered that I was in love with the idea of being an MD, but my heart was really in working with youth.” 

Teaching always came naturally to Mulonge, as did building meaningful relationships with young people. So he changed his path from med school to teaching high school social studies and biology. 

After graduating from Grace, Mulonge spent the next two decades with Grand Rapids Public Schools, serving as teacher and curriculum supervisor. Today, he serves as the Assistant Principal at GRPS’ Westwood Middle School. He loves being able to pour into students. 

“For the demographic I serve, a quality education is not a luxury, but a lifeline to a productive future,” Mulonge says.

As a nearly lifelong member of the Grace community, Mulonge serves on the Grace Christian University board.

“I am honored to be a part of a board that does God’s work, in God’s way and for His glory,” Mulonge says. “Grace is a special place that gave me so much. I want to be a part of the amazing work that Grace is doing in preparing Christ’s ambassadors.”

 

Rob Kilgo is a 2021 alumnus and the Assistant to the President. 

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