Announcing the 2018 10 Under 10 Award Recipients

“This is my anchor of hope for this people in the future.”

Much has changed since A.C. Van Raalte used those words to describe Hope College over 150 years ago. Hope no longer houses all its students and classrooms within the walls of Van Vleck Hall, but the goal of preparing students to be a positive impact on the world of tomorrow most certainly remains.

In the fall of 1862, Hope College enrolled its first freshman class of 10 men. In October 2018, we will celebrate our first recipients (men and women) of the 10 under 10 Awards. The awards are designed to honor emerging leaders who are engaged in the local and global community and who exemplify the attributes of a Hope graduate. Full criteria can be found here. Nominations flowed in and a team of Alumni Board members, faculty and staff were presented with the task of selecting the final 10 recipients. The Alumni Board of Directors enthusiastically confirmed the selections and are pleased to sponsor this award.

These 10 recipients have backgrounds and interests as varied as the programs offered at Hope. They are taking their liberal arts education to new heights and impacting the world in big ways.

We are pleased to announce the following Hope College 10 Under 10 Award Recipients for 2018:

Sarah Watkins ’08 Fabian
Assistant Professor of Theatre

She creates new worlds on the stage and instructs others on how to do the same.

 

Xander Krieg ’12
Founder and CTO of AI software company

He developed an algorithm that allows a greater understanding of facial expressions and emotions.

 

Jonas Lawson ’13
Political Advertising Account Executive

He oversees high profile campaigns advertising at the local, state and federal levels.

 

Maggie Mohr ’09
Postdoctoral Fellow in Neurobiology

She has made significant contributions in neuroscience through her research.

 

Quinn Nystrom ’08
Speaker, Author & Diabetes Awareness Advocate

She brings a voice of hope and knowledge to people living with Diabetes.

 

Izzy Rhodes ’11
Local Missional Program Specialist & Crisis Chaplain
She empowers congregations for local mission and promotes enhanced attention to mental health in the church.

 

Travis Rieth ’10
Photographer, Writer & Consultant

He travels North America as a photographer, writer, consultant, adventurer and advocate.

 

Chaz Shelton ’09
Founder & CEO of Hydroponic Food Company

He helps to make fresh food accessible and affordable using science and technology.

 

Carl Scholten ’11
School Principal

He leads school staff and encourages academic and spiritual growth in students.

 

Katherine Stritzke ’08 Simons
Senior Manager of Strategy Management

She creates a strategy for large-scale business transformation.

Alumni, students, families and friends are invited to celebrate at the 10 Under 10 Soiree during One Big Weekend on Friday, October 19 from 7 – 9 pm at City Flats Hotel as part of Hope on 8th Street. You’ll celebrate with these recipients in a casual meet-and-greet setting with appetizers and a cash bar. No registration is required and you may come and go as you please. You won’t want to miss it!

Do you know someone who belongs on this list for 2019? We are accepting nominations! Simply fill out this short form and your nominee will be added to the list and considered for next year’s awards.

Hope Alums and Students Make Their Mark on HSRT

From the managing director to a teaching artist to a scriptwriter to Oscar Madison, Hope College alumni (and current students too!) have been making their mark on this year’s highly entertaining and successful season of Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. This is not a new phenomenon; Hope theatre majors and professionals have long had great representation behind and on the HSRT stage. But this year, HSRT’s 47th, 23 Hope students and alums make up almost 20 percent of the company.

From left to right: Front Row: Brynne Fritjofson, Anne Bakker, Rachel Dion, Emmie Sandstedt, Cara Maas; Second Row: Saem Cho, Gracen Barth, Mikayla Contreras , Teresa Cameon, Kierney Johnson, Megan Clark, Mollie Murk; Third Row: Ben Douma, Ken Chamberlain, Kenny Cole, Nils Fritjofson, Griffin Baer, Reagan Chesnut, Riley Wilson, Eric Van Tassell. Not pictured: Chip Duford, Paul Anderson, Claire Bouwkamp

While HSRT’s new Artistic Director Lenny Banovez hires a majority of HSRT cast at national auditions in Memphis and St. Louis during the spring, Managing Director Anne Bakker ’85 is also cognizant of the quality of talent she has right here at home. She attributes that to Hope’s strong department of theatre and its commitment to educate and prepare young talent for professional theatre. “Our theatre department has always been integral to the success of HSRT,” says Bakker. “The team effort between the two programs (academic and professional) is a special one.”

Longtime HSRT cast member Chip Duford ’90 and relative HSRT newcomer Mollie Murk ’16 share Bakker’s sentiments. Though two-and-a-half decades separate their Hope educational experiences, a common thread of Hope educational appreciation runs between them. Both started at HSRT as acting interns and both now are members of its professional ranks — Duford, in his 25th season with HSRT, is an Actor’s Equity performer and Murk, in her third, is the head of education.

Chip Duford as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple.

Duford started out as a pre-med major at Hope, but “that lasted three seconds I think,” he laughs. He received great encouragement from professor emeritus Dr. John Tammi and visiting visiting HSRT Shakespeare and voice coach, Peggy Loft, formerly of the Juilliard School, to consider a career in theatre after he performed in several Hope productions as an undergrad. By his junior year, it was official; he was a theatre major and interning for HSRT. “I feel like I was able to discover myself at Hope,” says Duford.

Mollie Murk

Murk, on the other hand, always knew she wanted to be involved in Hope theatre. As both a theatre and dance major, she involved herself in as many aspects of theatre productions as she could — primarily acting and choreography but also costume design, teaching, dramaturgy, directing, and playwriting. “I just would love to shout out Michelle (Bombe, director of theatre) and Daina (Robins, chairperson of theatre). They create an environment where they really believe in their students and they find us to be capable of things that we never knew that we would be. The professors always encouraged us to take risks and challenge ourselves. No opportunity is ever handed to you as a Hope student— you have to work hard to seek opportunities out, which is exactly how I’ve learned the theatre industry at large works too.”

Erik Durham on the set of Dragon Pack Snack Attack.

And then there’s Erik Durham ’13. Not technically a member of the company, Durham is one of the main reasons why the children’s play, Dragon Pack Snack Attack, made its professional debut this summer as part of the HSRT lineup. While a theatre major at Hope, Durham needed a project for his capstone Theatre 490 class. So he chose to write a musical play based upon the children’s book of the same name, Dragon Pack Snack Attack published in the mid-1990s by none other than two more Hope alums, Jeff Grooters ’92 and Joel Schoon-Tanis ’89 who also, by the way, created the art of this summer’s promotional poster. Durham took the 15-page book with little dialogue but cute content and made it into a 50-minute play with nine songs. “I probably read that book front to back 50 times trying to process what I was going to do with it,” Durham explains. “It was a very daunting task, but Daina had persuaded me to go deeper and pushed me to do something new. It was a very humbling process.”

Dragon Pack premiered at Hope as a student production in 2013, and then it sat. “For five years, I had it in my back pocket,” Durham says, “though I had tried a couple times to pull it out for HSRT to consider.”

With Bakker and Associate Managing Director Reagan Chesnut ’09 at HSRT, Dragon Snack was revived for the professional stage this summer. Musical director Alex Thompson took the songs Durham had “written” and created sheet music with vocal arrangements for them. “I said, ‘Hey, I just want it to be very transparent. I’m not a composer,’” confides Durham. “All of my original music came from my singer/songwriter background so it was all very chordal with some improvisation. He was like, ‘I got this.’ Now he’s transformed the music into something ten times better than what I ever envisioned.”

“The theater itself becomes our home, so sharing that home with others is an exhilarating experience for each company member.”

HSRT has a few weeks to go, abut energy remains as strong and high as it did on opening night back on June 13. Hope affiliation aside, making beloved or new characters and stories come to life for two hours is the joy and challenge for anyone in cast and crew. For the audience, both forgetting and thinking about the world around them is imperative to well-performed and well-meaning theatre. HSRT ever has this in mind.

“I love coming back is it’s a unique theater experience here in HSRT,” says Duford, whose home base is Grand Blanc, Michigan and who performs annually in “A Christmas Carol” for Meadowbrook Theater in Rochester. “We perform in a thrust stage space with the audience surrounding us. Plus, we’re in repertory so we have the challenge of performing a different role every night. (This summer, Duford is Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, Uncle Henry/the royal gatekeeper in The Wiz.) Over the years, it’s been those unique challenges for an actor plus the fun of being here at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre that brings me back.”

“I just love how the HSRT company each summer really becomes a strong community,” adds Murk, who works as the artist-educator for Kentucky Theater Festival when she is away from HSRT. “There’s something special about everyone working 13 hour days to give the audience a unique, exciting, and welcoming experience when they walk in our doors. The theater itself becomes our home, so sharing that home with others is an exhilarating experience for each company member. I notice each year that the theatre professionals who work for HSRT really want to impact the community and truly be a part of western Michigan’s growing artistic scene.”

Got tickets? Check out HSRT’s calendar and ticket availability.

A Message from the Registrar

“You’re a person!” exclaimed a surprised student when first meeting with me. Most students, and some families, don’t realize a Registrar is a person’s role and not just the name of an office. While there is a head Registrar, the Registrar’s Office, including our Advising Suite, is first and foremost a team. Our team consists of dedicated staff and advisors that are happy and eager to help students navigate their academic journey.

It isn’t always easy to describe the exact role and function of a Registrar and the Registrar’s Office because our team sits in the center hub of a very large, multi-spoke wheel. The spokes are our students, departments, divisions, administrators, and other offices around campus; and without our spokes we simply wouldn’t be what we are. We have a broad scope of responsibility within Hope College ranging from implementing the college’s academic regulations, maintaining the academic record of all students, building the class schedule, implementing the registration process for classes, determining students’ graduation eligibility, awarding degrees, collecting and distributing grades, and enforcing rules for entering and leaving classes. These are just a few of the ongoing tasks of Hope’s Registrar’s Office that keeps the wheel turning properly.

Carol DeJong meets with a student in the Registrar’s Office

Because a Registrar is charged with enforcing the college’s academic policy, our perception can be rather intimidating or scary. Yet, I diligently strive to be as friendly and welcoming as I can – and have actually been told by several students that I am very approachable. I believe part of what has made me so approachable and open-minded is that I, myself, am a parent of two sons that attended Hope. Reflecting on my thirty years at Hope College, I think I learned the most about the college, and myself as a parent, through the experiences of having my sons attend and graduate from Hope, ’09 and ’10.

I pride myself in being approachable for one of the most enjoyable parts of my job is my personal interaction with students, getting to know them and their talents, and helping them successfully navigate their college career. The highlight of my year is very early May, when my office lines-up students for commencement and assists them with their procession into the ceremony. I get to see the faces of students who have worked so hard to accomplish their goals and it makes me excited for their future.

Carol DeJong, Dean for Academic Services and Registrar

Leecox Omollo ’02 Creates Kikwetu Coffee with Lessons Learned at Hope

“Awaken your senses.” That is the goal of Leecox Omollo, a 2002 Hope College graduate and software engineer turned coffee entrepreneur.

When he arrived at Hope from his hometown of Nairobi in the fall of 1998, he didn’t like coffee but loved the excitement and “vibe on campus” among international students. That is, until winter. Classes became harder, the weather harsher and the stress of second semester began to overwhelm. He found solace in the Fried Center on campus.

As a sophomore, he drew energy, if not yet inspiration, from coffee. At first he concealed its “unwelcome taste” using sugar. He embraced it purely as a stimulant to propel him through a rigorous schedule of work and school.

He tells the story of how that all changed when he stopped at a new coffee shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He finished his first cup of what he called the most flavorful and aromatic coffee before hurrying back to the counter for a refill. “Where is this coffee from?”,  he asked the owner behind the counter. “It’s from Kenya,” came the reply. He was dumbfounded. Strangely, leaving Kenya had allowed him to fully appreciate Kenyan coffee.

He went on to graduate with a major in computer science from Hope College in 2002, a masters in computer science from Grand Valley State University and a MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he resides today.

Leecox and Martha during their visit to campus in February of 2018.

By the time he met his wife, Martha, in 2004, he could share with her his interest in coffee. They visited many coffee shops in many cities, met lots of interesting people and witnessed first-hand the power of coffee shops to connect people and elevate communities. The idea of starting a coffee business slowly began to form in each of their minds. Kikwetu Kenya Coffee Company was finally born in 2014.

Kikwetu is a Swahili word that  translates to “our home”. During a recent visit to campus for a presentation at a Global Coffee Hour hosted by the Fried Center for Global Engagement, Leecox shared how the values of Kikwetu were informed from the home and foundation he found at Hope:

Invigorating
He shared that the experience he had at Hope, while not without challenges, was full of passion and energy. It was invigorating in mind, body and spirit. At Kikwetu, he hopes to build on the values of quality, invitation and the experience of being fully alive as a human.

Global
He believes that differences between cultures and people should not be viewed as threatening, but should rather be highlighted and celebrated. The importance of global connections and a broad worldview are values he says he learned at Hope and wants to continue in his work.

Kikwetu hosts Kenyan runners at the Chicago Marathon in 2016.

Connecting
He also shared that he wants to build a company around the understanding that real connections between human beings matter. He believes that coffee and tea, when properly unleashed, have a unique power to connect individuals and communities around the world. He draws inspiration around the connections he made with his host family at Hope and the relationships he has developed with local farmers in Kenya.

To learn more about Kikwetu and their single origin coffee from central Kenya, follow them on Facebook or check out their website.

Book on Forgotten African American History Puts Author Anna-Lisa Cox ’94 in the Spotlight

 

Anna-Lisa Cox ’94

As a scholar of 19th-century U.S. history, Anna-Lisa Cox ’94 isn’t accustomed to being in the spotlight. With the forthcoming publication of her book The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, however, she’s found herself the subject of numerous media interviews, recipient of multiple invitations to discuss her work and soon to begin a month-long book tour starting on the East Coast with a June 11 preview in Holland. Amazon named The Bone and Sinew of the Land a June Best Book of the Month in history, and well-known scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University has described it as “a revelation of primary historical research that is written with the beauty and empathic powers of a novel.”

It’s all an adjustment, but she’s glad for the interest in her topic and the opportunity it presents to share a rich history long lost.

“I am a little stunned by the advance interest in my book,” said Anna-Lisa, who is a nonresident fellow with Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, “but I am relieved that the response has been warm.”

Focusing on the Northwest Territory (modern Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) between 1800 and 1860, Anna-Lisa found that African Americans played a larger role in settling the frontier than previously believed. She identified more than 300 African American farming settlements that were home to land-owning farming families in the region, before the Civil War. There were tens of thousands of these free African American pioneers who came to settle this early American frontier in what was the nation’s first Great Migration.

“Loren Schweninger points out in Black Property Owners in the South, by the mid-1800s a farmer with property worth between $2,000 and $5,000 was in the top 13 percent of wealthy landowners in the United States at that time, regardless of skin color,” she said. “Many of these settlements included farmers with such wealth, and some were even wealthier.”

“It is amazing how these histories have been lost, but there is a lot of richness in the past for us still to learn,” she said. “From a local history perspective, Ottawa County had some very early African American settlers before the Civil War, including a successful blacksmith.”

Anna-Lisa, who is currently based in Michigan, has been conducting research on race relations in the 19th-century Midwest for several years. Her award-winning publications also include the 2007 book A Stronger Kinship: One Town’s Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith (Little, Brown), which tells the history of the southwest Michigan community of Covert, which became integrated in the 1860s. She has also recently helped create two historical exhibits based on her original research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers. She was back at Hope this past spring semester as a visiting faculty member, teaching a course on Michigan history.

She explains that the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 provided the impetus for thousands of African Americans to relocate to the wilderness lands in what she describes as the nation’s first Great Migration. It forbade slavery in the region, and offered equal voting rights to men regardless of their skin color. With the territory largely unsettled, it also meant that the African American pioneers could build new lives away from racial prejudice.

As the decades passed, Anna-Lisa noted, the opportunities for African Americans declined as the region became more heavily settled and they found themselves facing familiar biases as the frontier receded. As the publisher’s description of the book explains, “Though forgotten today, in their own time the success of these pioneers made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and even armed battles soon ensued, tearing apart families and communities.”

With the U.S. of the present day continuing to wrestle with <<equality>>, she feels that remembering is essential.

“The Northwest Frontier was the largest piece of land set aside as free from slavery in the New World,” she said. “This was a truly revolutionary frontier. What’s been lost is not only this first Great Migration, but all the settlements that were part of it.”

“These African American pioneers who came out to settle the frontier long before the Civil War are an integral part of our American past, but their history has been buried for far too long,” she said. “If we lose who helped settle the frontier, who was essential in these states’ histories, we lose a sense of who belongs.”

The book-tour events will provide multiple opportunities to learn more or to connect with Anna-Lisa. They include:

Monday, June 11: Maple Avenue Ministries, Holland, Michigan, 427 Maple Ave., 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 19: Harvard Book Store, co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center; Boston, Massachusetts

Thursday, June 21: Politics & Prose; Washington, D.C.

Friday, June 22: Solid State Books; Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 26: Seminary Co-op; Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, June 27: Anderson’s Bookshop; Naperville, Illinois

Sunday July 8, 2 p.m.: Allen County Public Library; Fort Wayne, Indiana

Monday, July 9: Literati Bookstore; Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tuesday, July 10: Pages Bookstore; Detroit, Michigan

Tuesday, July 24: Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin

In addition, more about the book is available online at https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/anna-lisa-cox/the-bone-and-sinew-of-the-land/9781610398114/ or https://www.amazon.com/Bone-Sinew-Land-Americas-Forgotten/dp/1610398106 .

 

Reunion In A Box

The Idea
A few years ago, a group of alumnae met up at a lake house on the shores of Lake Michigan for a weekend of laying out on the beach, eating popcorn and sharing updates on life and memories of their time sharing a cottage Senior year. When they arrived at the house, they were greeted by a Hope College glass for each of them and orange and blue pom poms, gifts from the Alumni Association after being notified of the gathering. The weekend was a success and the glasses were a hit. Everyone returned to their corners of the country with new tan lines, new laugh lines, new memories and a little piece of Hope.

This simple event planted the seed of an idea to create a program supporting smaller alumni-planned reunions. We love having our alumni join us for our two big events of the year on campus – Homecoming & Alumni Weekend – but we know it’s not always possible to coordinate schedules and travel plans to make it back at the same time as your former fraternity brothers, suitemates or ultimate frisbee squad. So we wanted to create a way for our alumni to connect with the College, no matter where or when they gather.

So we turned to our amazing graphic designer to create a design for an exclusive t-shirt, available only to alumni who participate in these “mini-reunions.” Then we gathered all of our favorite Hope goodies (mints! playing cards! pens!) and created passes for a meal at Phelps and use of the Dow. It turned out to be a pretty great pile of Hope swag, but we had to figure out a way to get to the location of the little reunions. Thanks to our love of online shopping, we fully recognized the joy receiving a box full of clothing in the mail can bring. We circled back to that same amazing graphic designer who whipped up a super cool box to ship off our goods in, and Reunion in a Box was born!

The Program
Whether the venue be Universal Studios, a cabin in the mountains of Colorado, the fairway of a golf course or a backyard full of babies and barbeque, we can help turn it into a Hope reunion!

Once you’ve made your plans to reconnect with your Hope crew, sign up to receive a Reunion in a Box using this form. We’ll need to know the date and location of your event, as well as the name, email address and t-shirt size of each of the alumni participants. Be sure to give us at least ten business days before your event to ensure we can get you the box in time.

We’d love for you to share photos and memories of your reunion on social media using #HopeReunions. Hopefully, other alumni in your networks will be inspired to participate in the program as well!

The Fine Print
Each alumnus is eligible to participate in a Reunion in a Box one time. The minimum number of attendees (including organizer) is three with a maximum of 20. Have more than 20 alum who want to get together? Email us and let us know!

We will either ship the box to you or hold it here in our office for you to pick up if your reunion happens to be in Holland. Quantities are limited, so order yours today!

Reunion in a Box materials are intended to be used at events whose primary focus is a gathering of Hope alumni.

Thoughts from a New Graduate

By Victoria Ward ’18

Graduation came so fast, and I was flooded with so many emotions all at once. I wasn’t sure which one was expected of me to display — the excitement, the sorrow, or the nerves. At a loss, I sat in the ocean of navy blue robes with a proud reflective smile painted across my face. As the long list of names was read, I lost myself in the sea of memories and accomplishments from my time at Hope.

It struck me hard as I looked at the faces that I had spent so much time getting to know over my college career. The eyes of strangers who had become my family and for some, back to strangers again. I had watched as the light in their eyes changed with life experiences as we grew together. I witnessed new lines form under their eyes that showed the impact of long nights awake studying, laughing, crying, and living together. Seeing the traces life had left across my loved ones reminded me how lucky I have been to have had them in my life. Time froze around me as I remembered that they would leave my life as quickly as they had entered it, and we’d be left to the mercy of texting and Skype until we would see each other again.

Shifting my thoughts, I compared who I am now versus how I always pictured myself on graduation day. While much changed, the principal characteristics still remained true. I still love beaches, languages, running around in the woods climbing trees, art and theatre. Most of my goals I had either accomplished or amended around my ever-changing life. I was more invested in my theatre degree than I expected I could be and more confident in it as well. Theatre is a difficult field (like many of the arts) because there are a lot of unknowns in the profession. People outside of the craft often ask the age old question: “Oh you’re a theatre major… What are you going to do with that?”

I started my first two years at Hope pursuing acting. I loved the art, and I wanted nothing more than to always have the family that is made during a production. The part of a liberal arts education that I love is it teaches you the versatility of the arts. As a theatre major, I was required to take classes in acting, technical theatre, design, and directing, which ultimately makes a better theatre artist regardless of the specific field because you learn how to speak everyone else’s language. It was through the other classes where I discovered lighting.

Lighting is the combination of all my passions blending together into a playground of creativity and expression. Once I started, I knew I had found my calling. My passion in life is bringing people together through shared experiences.

“If you can bring people of all backgrounds and classes together in one room and get them to laugh and cry together and experience being human it helps them realize that we’re not all that different on the inside. On a human level, we can come together and create something beautiful that makes you feel for a change.” Nathan Allen – Director

This quote from a former director led me to create my manifesto. Even if a theatrical production doesn’t change everyone who leaves, I want to help remind people of their humanity during the time they were in the theatre. Compassion is vital, and theatre can open and expand our minds to find common ground, giving us an opportunity to celebrate our differences. This is the same reason I love languages.

I started learning French in seventh grade and instantly felt a connection to the language and culture. I continued through high school, and it seemed only fitting to get involved in the French Department at Hope. There were definitely times during my college career where I struggled and questioned my choice, but I wanted to stick it out. After many sleepless nights of debating if studying abroad was going to be worth it, I finally decided on applying to the CIEE program in Rennes, France. My confidence in the language wasn’t going to grow until I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. On January 3, 2017, I got on a plane to France to start the biggest adventure of my life.

For me, the first couple years of college was about finding new parts of who I was. My time in France became about finally putting all of those pieces together. A few weeks into my time abroad, I began to feel very shaken and stripped of my cultural identity. I am someone who usually thinks out loud to process, and without my newly made Hope family right there or my theatre to run away to when I felt lost, I finally had the chance for proper introspection. Being alone and having time to think gave me the chance to recreate who I was. I spent a great deal of time reading philosophical and religious texts in the park by my homestay and truly pondering my beliefs. I became more confident and comfortable in being alone and being with my thoughts again. I branched out of my comfort zone and let my curiosity guide me for the first time in my life, and I loved it.

Hope has a motto of making its students “global citizens,” and I have always respected this ambitious goal. It wasn’t until I was completely immersed in a culture so similar yet so different from my own that I realized just what being a global citizen meant. I came to understand how complicated human interactions can be when you add cultural, religious, and political differences into the mix of varying opinions. I had never before felt so tested in my faith and patience than I did in France and again after I returned to the states.

My new global view has shifted drastically in my understanding of how humans function. I could feel where it was easier to stick with what was familiar and safe instead of embracing the unknown that is other ways of doing life. I felt that urge to quit and retreat to what I knew, but I refused to be discouraged in my dream of bringing people together peacefully. If I could manage to put my upbringing aside to at least hear how another person lives their life, I could be living proof that it is possible to extend that hand and find common ground in a time where our world is at such unrest. My time at Hope was not only where I gained my scholastic education, but also where I learned more about humanity. I lost myself and found myself more times than I could have imagined. I believe I was meant to end up at Hope to find myself and to strengthen my character before going out into the world as a working, influential adult.

Today I feel prepared for life after college. Having a study abroad experience taught me how to go with the unexpected and take things as they come and how to live in the moment and let go of the anxieties that stem from the unknown; something that I, as a planner, would never do. I now know that I can survive thousands of miles away from my comforts and adapt to a new life and be okay. Hope helped me learn and establish a solid foundation for my career and build networks before I had even graduated. My scholarships and support from the Hope faculty and community have inspired me to continue giving back to this incredible legacy in any way that I can.

Looking back to the little freshman me, I never could have guessed in my wildest dreams how my Hope story has played out after it has all been said and done. I never thought I’d end up doing technical theatre instead of acting, and I never imagined my time abroad would have been quite as impactful on my life as it was. I have gone from a young, ambitious girl to a worldly, confident young woman in these four years. There are no words for how thankful I am for my opportunities as well as my hardships that have come my way and shaped me into who I am today. The life lessons are invaluable. I’m excited to step into the working world knowing I’m well prepared to succeed and that I have a support network cheering me on.

A Tradition of Travel Gets a Boost

Alumni tour the streets of Vienna during a travel program in 1965.

Hope College began hosting educational tours for alumni and friends in the 1960s. The integration of learning with Hope faculty and the opportunity to connect with friends from the Hope community have always set these programs apart.

Over the past few years we have had increasing momentum for lifelong learning and travel. After two recent sell-out trips and wait lists almost as large as the trips themselves, we have decided to officially expand our offerings and launch a new Hope College Global Travel Program.

In addition to responding to the interests of alumni and friends, there are other strategic reasons to grow this program. Hope’s strategic plan calls for programs to expand faculty and staff cross-cultural perspectives, increase access to off-campus study for students and build a stronger network of lifelong relationships among alumni and friends of the college.

If you are a Hope graduate, parent, Hope Academy of Senior Professionals (HASP) member or friend of the college and have a desire to travel, learn, expand your worldview and connect with the Hope community — then this Global Travel Program is for you!

Every single traveler on our last program said that they would travel with Hope College again and that they would recommend the program to a friend.

UPCOMING TRIPS

Happy Travelers
Happy travelers at the end of their recent adventure in Tanzania.

We custom-design our programs relying on the expertise of our faculty, alumni hosts and staff.  Just like Hope College students studying abroad, you will gain new insights about the places to which you travel and return home with greater knowledge and understanding of our world.

We are moving from a program every few years to 2-3 programs each year. Destinations in the next year include: a Tanzania Safari (back by popular demand), a Discovering the Balkans River Cruise (in partnership with HASP but open to all) and a New Zealand Adventure.

MEET THE TEAM

Pat Van Wylen, pictured with her husband Dave, on an international adventure.

Pat Van Wylen recently joined the Alumni and Family Engagement team as the global travel coordinator. Previously, Pat worked in St. Olaf’s College’s International and Off-Campus Studies Office, organizing and co-leading a variety of international study abroad programs for St. Olaf College students and alumni. More recently she co-led alumni and family travel programs. In addition to having a passion for learning through travel, she also promotes health and wellness and has taught Health Dynamics at Hope.

100% of travelers on our last program said that the experience met or exceeded their expectations.

GLOBAL SCHOLARS FUND

A group of Hope students hike on the Iberian Peninsula during a recent off-campus study program.

Participants in this program will also be supporting today’s Hope students as they step beyond borders and connect with the global community. Proceeds from the Global Travel Program, as well as gifts from individual donors, support the Global Scholars Fund for student off-campus study grants.

SIGN UP AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS

If one of these trips doesn’t fit your travel goals or schedule, you can sign up to receive updates on future programs and share ideas for new times of the year and new destinations. You can also share photos from past trips if you have already traveled with Hope. Email your photos and suggestions to vanwylenp@hope.edu. We will use the feedback to plan for the future and we will share photos on our new online gallery.

At Hope College, we understand that the world is much bigger than the few blocks our campus sits on. Join us and become a student of the world.

What Comes Next? A Snapshot of Life After Hope

On Sunday, May 6, nearly 700 members of the Hope College Class of 2018 will walk across the stage at Commencement and begin the “lives of leadership and service” the mission of their alma mater beckons them to. But what exactly does this look like? Where do all these graduates go? What do they do?

Anecdotally, we know that Hope College alumni live out their callings in ways as unique as they are. From writing about race to eradicating polio. From winemaking in NYC to brewing in Michigan. From performing at the Oscars to Inventing America. From baseball strike zones to Superbowl flags thrown. From Peace Corps placements to global health equity. From cyber spying to wildlife photographing. While these individual stories are powerful examples of Hope graduates making a difference in the world, a quantitative analysis of life after Hope tells a powerful story as well.

Members of the Class of 2017, encouraged by faculty, prepare to walk in Commencement.

Take the Class of 2017 for example. Within six months of graduating from Hope:

  • 94% were in the workforce or graduate school.
  • 86% of those employed full-time were employed in their field of study.
  • 80% said they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • 96% participated in experiential learning opportunities, including internships, off-campus study and research.
  • Of those in graduate school, 85% were in their first choice.

Read a full report of the 2017 Graduate Survey.

Members of the Class of 2007 are led by faculty through campus on graduation day.

While it is important to get a great start right after college, we know that the true value of a Hope education is how it influences lives over a longer period of time. In this spirit, we also study graduate outcomes for alumni a decade after Commencement. Our ten-year graduate survey, most recently conducted with the Class of 2007, shows that:

  • Ten years after graduating, alumni report that the top three factors that have helped them secure employment are academic major, the value of a Hope degree and work experience. Only 1.2% are not employed and looking for a job.
  • 94% said their professors cared about them as a person and 64% said they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams.
  • 94% report being satisfied or very satisfied with their social well being, 93% with what they feel their purpose is in life, 89% with their job and 87% with their health.
  • The average salary of $69,500 is in the top 20% for annual income of 32 year olds in the United States.
  • 45% have completed a graduate degree. 86% of those that went to graduate school attended their first choice school.

We look forward to celebrating at Commencement this weekend and can’t wait to see how each member of the Class of 2018 turns their own Hope College education into a unique and meaningful life after college. Now and in the future,  they are agents of hope who live faithfully into their vocations. They make a difference in the world.

 

Alumni and Students Find Kinship through Turbulence and Hope

Each spring, as tulips begin to emerge and before tourists descend on Holland, alumni from around the world return to their alma mater for Alumni Weekend (photos from April 27-28 coming soon).

There are many highlights. Reunions for five classes and the Fifty Year Circle reconnect classmates on a campus where much has changed, but somehow much as stayed the same. Alumni applaud student accomplishments on playing fields and in concert halls. Distinguished alumni return to be honored for lives of leadership and service. And, in the sacred space of Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Saturday afternoon, Allison Utting, a Hope College senior, addressed the 50th Reunion Class of 1968 with the following speech:

People like to say that history repeats itself. However, I am a part of the small, but correct minority that believes history does not repeat itself. Rather, it rhymes. Certain themes and attitudes cycle through the generations, manifesting themselves over and over again, but never in the same way twice. As a history education major here at Hope, I am accustomed to tracking these rhythmic cycles and exploring them with my students. Perhaps, as a result of this, or of my “old soul”, I feel a certain kinship with your generation. Both the 1960s and the 2010s, the decades in which your generation and mine came of age, will be remembered as turbulent times in our nation’s history. The year of 1968 in particular, the year of your graduation, fits this description well. In 1968, university students across the nation protested the Vietnam war. Today, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and others are marching on the nation’s capitol calling for an end to school shootings. In 1968, athletes raised their fists atop the Olympic podium in Mexico City during the National Anthem. Today, athletes are choosing to kneel on football fields across the nation. In 1968, riots erupted at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Today, oratorical riots are commonplace in cyberspace and on cable news. In 1968, you suffered through the assassinations of not one, but two prominent leaders. Today, thankfully, we have not seen such violence, but do continue to see the increasing vilification of the “other side.” Both you and I entered our adult lives at a time of uncertainty and change. Regardless of your political leanings, this has undoubtedly shaped the way we came to view the world and our role in it. In this, we are similar.

But, there is another thing that binds us inextricably together and that is Hope’s firm foundation in the historic Christian faith and its unwavering commitment to producing globally minded citizens who are ready to go out and use their education to be of service to the world. Amidst the changing times, I am thankful for the steadiness of Hope. This is not to say that Hope is stagnant, in fact, much has changed since you were here. Van Wylen Library opened in 1989 thereby replacing Van Zoeren which has been converted into an academic hall I frequent often. The beautiful Lubbers Hall became home to humanities and social sciences while the A. Paul Schaap Science Center was completed to reflect and support Hope’s outstanding reputation in the sciences and undergraduate research. The demolition of Nykerk Hall (may it rest in peace) helped make way for the beautiful Bultman Student Center where students fifty years from now may continue to join together in fun and fellowship at Hope. Chapel services are no longer required, but every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, you will hear the joyous sounds of hundreds of Hope students and faculty bursting forth from these walls in worship, just as they have always done.

Today, Hope is as committed to its founding principles as it has ever been. And that is the magic of Hope. That is what allows every student of Hope, young and old, odd year and even year, to find common ground in their shared experience. It is a place where mistakes can be made and forgiveness can be learned. It is a place where hard conversations can be had and ideas can be challenged. It is a place where loves are found and passions are pursued. It is place where all students can explore their calling and their faith in an environment that is nurturing and personal. Like many that came before me, I discovered who I am, and whose I am along the shores of Lake Michigan, under the pine grove trees, and in these pews. And for that, I will forever be thankful to Hope.

So, as history continues to roll through its rhythmic cycles, let us all find comfort in the steadiness of Hope, the lessons we learned here, and in the never-changing love and grace of God to whom we owe everything. For, we are the people of hope and people of hope. Spera in Deo. Thank you.