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Alumni and Family Engagement Event Updates Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated on March 25 at 12:30 pm. First published on March 13.

As President Scogin recently shared, “in 154 years of Hope’s history, we have not seen anything like this.” On March 11, in response to Governor Whitmer’s recommendation and to support efforts to contain the virus, Hope College made the decision to begin remote classes. On March 20, this decision was extended through the remainder of the semester. All college-sponsored on-campus events through the end of the semester are canceled or being re-scheduled. Rest assured, the Hope College community is continuing to work together in support of one goal: to get our students to the finish line of the spring semester! If you are interested in learning more about these decisions, please visit hope.edu/coronavirus.

You may also be wondering what this means for the opportunities we have planned for alumni and families, both on-campus and in communities around the world. Below is an overview of where things currently stand. As you might expect, things are rapidly evolving, so please check back for future updates. We are committed to keeping you informed and will update this post as the situation unfolds.

March 17 Update on COVID-19 from President Scogin

Presidential Welcome Tour

We have been having a great time introducing President Scogin to alumni and families at Welcome Tour events since November. We look forward to these continuing. However, all events as part of this series have been postponed. We will send new invitations once they have been rescheduled.

The Hope College Connection Live! | Chicago

The health and safety of our students, event attendees and staff is our top priority. For this reason, the Connection Live! event scheduled for April 7 in Chicago will not take place. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check out The Hope College Connection at connection.hope.edu. It’s an innovative online community for calling and career that brings together students, alumni and families for mentoring and experiential learning. You can activate a profile and start connecting with students from anywhere, even while practicing social distancing!

Global Travel Program

There are two trips currently scheduled as part of our growing Global Travel Program. These are scheduled for October and December of 2020 and are proceeding at this time. Similar to decisions regarding student international programs, we will cancel a trip if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assigns a Level 3 warning or the U.S. Department of State assigns a Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisory globally or to the destination country at the time of travel. We are continually monitoring the situation as it relates to international travel and will make decisions with the safety and health of our lifelong learners as a top priority.

Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP)

HASP is a peer-led institution for learning in retirement with 900 alumni, families and friends making up its membership. Based on Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and an abundance of caution, HASP suspended all programs beginning March 11 and continuing until further notice. Updates to HASP members will be provided through email and at hope.edu/hasp.

NCAA Tournaments

On March 12, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled remaining winter and spring NCAA championships in all divisions. We are disappointed that our championship-caliber student-athletes won’t be able to show the result of all their hard work and that Hope College fans around the world won’t have the chance to cheer them on. Please continue to follow the Hope Athletics website for further announcements. If you would like to help encourage our student-athletes, check out this Spread Hope, Not Germs post.

Alumni Weekend

Reunions are special events in the life of the college and most certainly in your life. Unfortunately, Alumni Weekend, scheduled for April 24-25, 2020, has been postponed.  Reunion events for the classes of 1990, 1985, 1980, 1975, 1970, 1965 and The Fifty Year Circle are being rescheduled on September 11-12, 2020 as part of the annual Community Day tradition. The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be honored alongside the 2021 recipients during Alumni Weekend next year and the spring Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting will take place virtually on April 24, 2020.

The Alumni and Family Engagement team stands by to answer questions and provide additional information. Please contact us at alumni@hope.edu or families@hope.edu and we will be in touch as soon as we can.

We agree with President Scogin that this “is certainly not what any of us envisioned for the semester, but it is a time when we can come together as a community to show the world the power of resilience and hope. Spera in Deo.”

Spread Hope, Not Germs

The Hope College swimming & diving, track & field, hockey and women’s basketball teams have all experienced an unexpected and sudden end to their seasons due to cancellations amid measures to contain Coronavirus. Practices and competitions for our spring sports have also been canceled for the remainder of the school year. Our hearts go out to these student-athletes, especially the seniors, who put so much effort into preparing for athletic contests that will now not be taking place.

To lift the spirits of the student-athletes and to celebrate their awesome seasons, we are asking for your help! With all of the cancellations, many of us have some extra time – please consider using some of it to record a video wishing our teams well and congratulating them for their accomplishments on the track, in the pool, on the field, on the ice and on the court. We will be creating a compilation of all the videos to be shown to the coaches and teams and then displayed on social media. We’ll even ask the teams to vote for their favorite video – the creator(s) of the winning entry will receive a Hope College swag bag including Hope branded hand sanitizer!

Be heartfelt, be creative, be funny – show your Hope pride! For some inspiration, take a look at the video President Scogin’s family created for the women’s basketball team!

To share your video, upload it to our Google Drive folder by Friday, March 20 and we’ll use it to put together our compilation.

Recruiter In A Box

Want to spread Hope near your home?

Over the years, it has become apparent that Hope alumni and families are great at planting the seeds of Hope throughout the world. We appreciate everything the greater Hope community has done to encourage prospective students to consider spending four years learning and growing on our campus.

And now we want to equip you to be even more effective!

Recruiter in a Box was created for our alumni and families who know they can reach 3-10 prospective students and could benefit from a few more tools to do it. Simply sign up using this short form and we’ll send you a box full of materials and swag to share with high school students who you think would love life in orange and blue. You can choose the number of materials you would like to have sent, based on your needs.

Learn more at hope.edu/refer.

Questions? Contact the Office of Alumni & Family Engagement at alumni@hope.edu or 616.395.7250.

Thank You! 2020 Day of Giving Success

Thank you to all our alumni, families and friends who helped make this year’s Day of Giving a record-breaker! Over the course of 36 hours (February 20-21), Hope received $366,272 from 2,096 gifts . . . the most ever for a Day of Giving. We couldn’t have done it without you!

What if somebody missed Day of Giving and they still want to make a gift? How exciting! Go to hope.edu/give which features an online form for making gifts.

Thank you for coming together for Hope students. Your generosity inspires us — and it tells us that you believe in the transformative power of a Hope education. We are so grateful for your enthusiastic support.

From all of us at Hope College: Thank you!

The Hope College Connection: An In-Depth Look

Each year about 800 Hope College students graduate and become Hope College alumni. As they enter the workforce or head to graduate school, we stay in touch, including through an annual graduate survey. In the most recent survey, 46% said networking connections helped them secure employment. When, in a different survey, we asked all alumni to share which engagement activities are currently the most underdeveloped, they cited networking, mentoring and identifying job opportunities.

Improvements in these areas can have lasting and meaningful results. In a longitudinal study published in The Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers found a positive correlation between effort put into building contacts and subsequent pay raises and career satisfaction. Plus, according to Gallup, the odds of being engaged at work are 2.2 times higher if you had a mentor during college who encouraged you to pursue your goals and dreams.

Introducing The Hope College Connection

This is where The Hope College Connection comes in. This new platform brings together students, alumni and families for mentoring and experiential learning. You can:

  • Activate your profile with your communication preferences.
  • Explore the Alumni Directory by geography, class year or major.
  • Make a connection and explore active users by geography, industry or help topics.
  • Discover new contacts with the platform’s powerful smart-matching algorithm.
  • Share career advice and industry insight with students and alumni.
  • Communicate on your own time with in-platform video meetings and messaging, text notifications and integration with LinkedIn and email.

Up and Running

In the first month of promoting The Hope College Connection to alumni and families:

  • Over 1,000 users from 44 states and 16 countries have activated their profiles. This is 22% of our goal for the first year.
  • We have at least one member of the community with industry experience in each of the 74 categories listed.
  • 176 messages have been sent between users with an average response rate of 52%

Students will begin accessing the platform throughout the remainder of this semester.

Users of The Hope College Connection can make a connection using interactive maps and filters, like this one of activated profiles in the United States.

The Big Picture

Networking and mentoring at Hope is addressed in a holistic way. In addition to access to The Hope College Connection platform, students have access to resources that help them reflect on current mentor relationships, assess areas of need, establish new relationships and map their mentoring network. We celebrated a number of these relationships in the Spring 2019 issue of News from Hope College.

Hope College students (as well as alumni, families and friends of the college) have access to resources like this Mentor Map.

The Hope College Connection Live!

The Hope College Connection Live! events are the in-person counterpart to the online platform. These networking events provide the opportunity for current Hope students to meet and receive advice from alumni. The goal is to introduce students to the multiple opportunities that exist for them when deciding where to live and work. For the remainder of this year’s series, we will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 3 and Chicago, Illinois on April 7.

Students, alumni, families and friends network at The Hope College Connection Live! in Lansing.

Getting Started and Getting Help

Students, alumni, families, faculty and staff are invited to visit connection.hope.edu to activate their profile and make the most of their membership in the Hope College community.

The Hope College Connection is provided through the generous support of donors and supported by Alumni and Family Engagement and the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. 

In addition to user guides and support features within the platform available at any time, student and professional staff are ready to assist you between 8 AM and 5 PM ET on Monday through Friday. If you need assistance getting started or have questions about the platform, please contact 616.395.7250 or connection@hope.edu

Introducing The Hope College Connection

The Hope College Connection is an innovative online community for calling and career that brings together students, alumni and families for mentoring and experiential learning.

You can:

  • Activate your profile with your communication preferences.
  • Explore the Alumni Directory by geography, class year or major.
  • Make a connection and explore active users by geography, industry or help topics.
  • Discover new contacts with the platform’s powerful smart-matching algorithm.
  • Share career advice and industry insight with students and alumni.
  • Communicate on your own time with in-platform video meetings and messaging, text notifications and integration with LinkedIn and email.

Learn more at connection.hope.edu and activate your profile today!

Stay tuned. We will be sharing more in-depth information on this blog in the future.

We hope you’ll find it to be a valuable resource. If you have questions, please contact us at connection@hope.edu.

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Hillary Delhagen ’09

As a freshman with an undeclared major, Hillary Delhagen ’09, questioned if Hope College was right for her. Hundreds of miles away from her home in upstate New York, Delhagen was struggling to find her place at Hope College and was thinking about transferring. However, after pushing through the hard adjustment of freshman year and exploring various passions, Delhagen found her calling at Hope. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She then went on to Adler University to pursue a Master of Arts in Art Therapy: Counseling.

Delhagen currently works as a Creative Arts Therapist at Rikers Island Correctional Facility and NYC Health + Hospitals. Though she loves her job as an art therapist, it wasn’t until her junior year that she knew it was a career. It was guests speakers who came into her Behavioral Disorders class that introduces the idea to her. “[They] shared with our class their personal experiences while living with schizophrenia and what they do to cope. The gentlemen shared that the most powerful ways they cope with their mental illness was through poetry and art. It was in that moment I knew exactly what I was meant to do. It seemed so obvious to combine my greatest passions, art and psychology”

“Without the support that Hope provided I would not have had the courage to step outside of my comfort zone and embrace my life calling. Without the freedom to explore my passions I would not be where I am today. Hope taught me that we must recognize, embrace and celebrate the uniqueness of all people, regardless of their background and their past actions.”

In addition to her work at Rikers Island, Delhagen is working at Counseling Space, P.C. At Counseling Space, they partner with each client to create a comprehensive plan that is centered on discovering inner strengths – rather than focusing on weaknesses. This work, and the work at Rikers Island allows hillary to live out both of her passions each day. Each day, she gets to work directly with ohers using art to help them reach their full potential. She never pictured herself working in a correctional facility in the Bronx but she loves what she gets to do each day.

“I can say with confidence that if I had never attended Hope College I never would have ended up where I am today. I am guided by the values and principles instilled in me through my time at Hope…I discovered I was just where I needed to be! I realized that I was being given the gift, opportunity and freedom to explore my passions the moment I walked onto Hope’s campus.”

Hope College allowed her the freedom to explore potential career options before finding the perfect one for her. Her advisor encouraged her to embrace her curiosity, embrace her interests and embrace what made her think. She took full advantage of the liberal arts education Hope College provided her. The impact of that education has stayed with her and she is able to use it everyday while at work with clients.

Hope College is proud to give Hillary Delhagen ’09 the 2019 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Matt Rutter ’12

Matt Rutter ’12

Matt Rutter ’12 was transformed by Hope College during his 4 years here. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Management and Philosophy, Matt has used his education from Hope College to transform the lives of others all around the world. From Zeeland, Michigan to Chisinau, Moldova, Rutter has been running startups and helping others to build their entrepreneurial skills.

“I am a completely different man as a result of my four years at Hope. I was taught how to pray, how to study Scripture, how to think, how to ask questions, how to write, how to present, how to work hard, how to repent, how to serve, how to laugh, how to endure, how to care, and how to love well.”

After his graduation in 2012, Rutter moved to Moldova to serve in the PeaceCorps. During this time he helped women who were at-risk for human trafficking to build start-ups to support themselves financially. He assisted in teaching them the skills necessary for running a business in order to get out of bad situations. Matt helped start-up companies and young people alike grow in leadership and development skills.

After Matt’s two years in the PeaceCorps, he felt called to stay in Moldova long term. He continued the work he had started in helping people to start their business. Now, nearly seven years later, Matt is a leader in the region. He married his wife Catia (a local Moldovan) , and currently serves as the General Manager and Creative Director at Enspire Creative Agency. Rutter still does independent business coaching on the side.

Rutter has said that Hope College taught with how to be a man of God. While at Hope, he was able to grow in his faith and build a personal relationship with God. Rutter is still best friends with his freshman year roommate and their original Bible study group. They are all still walking together in their faith and hold each other accountable through prayer and regular email check-ins. Being surrounded by godly men had a major impact on his faith. It is because of Hope College that Rutter still feels called to serve in Moldova. Prior to his time at Hope, he had never considered volunteering or working abroad. Seven years after graduating, he is feeling, more than ever, called to serve and love the people God has placed in his life.

“Prior to Hope, I had no frame of reference for what it meant to be a godly man, truly grounded in Scripture and faithful to God’s calling. Being surrounded by godly men, both in my dorm, from professors, and the greater Holland community, I was shown a picture of who God has created me to become.”

Matt Rutter ’12 receives the 10 Under 10 Award from Stacy Jackson, Professor of Management and Economics and Business Department Chair

Hope College is proud to give Matt Rutter ’12 the 2019 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09

Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09

Seven years after her graduation, Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09 returned to Hope College as a full time faculty member in the Chemistry department. Dittenhafer-Reed is directly impacting current students in the same her professors impacted her just a few short years ago. Teaching and mentoring students through research is a passion of hers that she gets to live out everyday at Hope College.

Dittenhafer-Reed graduated from Hope with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. While at Hope, she had her first exposure to research. She conducted undergraduate research with Dr. Moses Lee. Directly following her graduation, she went to grad school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy in Biochemistry. Dittenhafer-Reed received the Graduate Research Fellow from the National Science Foundation. This prestigious award is given to graduate students working towards a masters or doctorate who are doing research in their fields.

While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dittenhafer-Reed was able to do research while also teaching and mentoring undergraduate students. In 2014, she won the Denton Teaching Award, which is an award that “honors biochemistry graduate students who consistently provide quality guidance and scientific training in mentoring undergraduate students.” This award is a testament to the dedication that she has to both research and her students. She cares deeply about impacting students and helping them during their undergraduate years. Most recently, she was awarded the Towsley Research Scholarship at Hope College. This award will allow her to continue her research on the Mitochondria (a part of the cell) into 2021.

“As a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry, I strive to provide the same high quality, transformative experience to current Hope College students by modeling Hope’s mission. My goal is to offer innovative and rigorous instruction, while encouraging personal development and fostering relationships rooted in faith.”

As a student at Hope, Dittenhafer-Reed was involved in various activities around campus. Though her most prominent being summer and undergraduate research, she was also a student- athlete, playing for the women’s basketball team. She spent a summer in Vienna, Austria in the Vienna Summer School Program. Dittenhafter-Reed recalled how it doesn’t get any better than walking the streets of Vienna looking at the art and architecture of the building for a class. She also explained at the 10 Under 10 Young Alumni Panel that Hope College was instrumental in developing her faith. She was able to grow in her relationship with the Lord while here. She is grateful for the time she spent here as a student and is blessed to be back at the place she loves.

“For the first time, I felt connected to a supportive Christ-following community that encourages believers to intellectually evaluate their beliefs. The solid foundation I established at Hope College, allowed my Christianity to flourish in graduate school and beyond, even as I entered a more theologically diverse environment”

Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09 receives the 10 Under 10 Award from Jeff Johnson, Professor of Chemistry

Hope College is proud to give Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed ’09 the 2019 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!

10 Under 10 Award Recipient | Diego Romero ’09

Diego Romero ’09

When Diego Romero ’09 first stepped on to Hope College’s campus he was a freshman in high school participating in Hope’s TRIO Upward Bound Program. Having spent the next four years on campus in the program, Diego decided to attend Hope College to study Spanish Education. As a first-generation college student and former English Language Learner, Romero was aware of the struggles that he endured and knew many other students were in his same position. He wanted to help the next generation of students. From the start, he was deeply dedicated to education and wanted to make an impact in the lives of students to come. 

While at Hope College Romero was an incredibly active student, involving himself in many co-curricular activities. As a freshman, he joined the Phelps Scholars Program – a living-learning community focused on global learning and diversity. He was a member of various clubs such as the Latino Student Union, the Outdoor Adventure Club, and The Book Club. Romero gained early valuable experience working with young students as a volunteer in the CASA program at Hope.

“I came from a poor family and understand the struggles, but as I was once told, education is the only way out and once you get it no one can take it away.”

Upon his graduation in 2009, Romero moved to Denver, Colorado where he spent the next two years teaching Spanish at Denver Public schools. Over the past ten years, Romero’s passion for his students and dedication to his profession has allowed his to move into leadership positions in the school district. His current role as an elementary school principal at a school where a majority of his students are English Language Learners has given him the opportunity to use his experiences to directly impact students each day. He is committed to giving each student the resources they need to reach their full potential. He believes strongly in the value of an education and life-long learning. He has exemplified this by earning a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Linguistically Diverse Education as well as an Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Certificate and Educational Specialist Certification.

 “I was struck by his work as an elementary school principal and his ability to build trust among the teachers who report to him. He is student-centered, always putting their needs first, but he understands the importance of creating a climate and culture in which teachers thrive as well. He is committed to creating a school culture that values equity, collaboration, community involvement, and open communication.” ~ Elizabeth Colburn.

Diego Romero ’09 receives the 10 Under 10 Alumni Award from Professor of Education John Yelding

Romero lives in Denver Colorado with his wife Rachel Bakken ’09 Romero, also a recipient of the 2019 10 Under 10 Award this year, and three-year-old son, Collin. Romero has stayed connected with Hope College over the years despite living in Colorado. Hope College is grateful for his continued dedication and support of his alma mater.

Hope College is proud to give Diego Romero the 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today!