Dear Fellow Hope Alumni,
It’s a new year here at Hope College! Classes have begun, and we are off and running into Hope’s 158th academic year.
Do you remember your first day of classes at Hope? I certainly have fond memories of my first days as a student. In fact, (as cheesy as it sounds) I still see myself, first and foremost, as a kid from Michigan who had the extraordinary privilege of going to Hope College.
As is true for many of you, coming to this school changed my life. For one thing, the education — the academic preparation — I received here changed my life. I continue to believe that Hope is THE best-kept secret among U.S. liberal arts colleges. Period. Not Christian liberal arts colleges. ALL liberal arts colleges. We are working hard to make sure that’s a secret no longer. But even more important than what I learned here was who I met here. I met my wife here, I met lifelong friends here, and I met faculty here who cared for me and invested hours in my success, both in the classroom and out. Most importantly, I met God. During my years here, God for me became a Someone, not a something. All of that together meant, while a student at Hope, I learned I was on this planet for a reason. I learned that, as part of God’s calling for me, even my secular work can have a very sacred purpose.
This is what Hope does. We provide a transformational experience, which includes education, of course, as well as faith formation and calling discovery.
Our first-year students spent the first 18 years of their lives getting ready for this moment… and the transformational experience that will follow. As I wrote to our students last week, one of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain: “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” We believe God put our students on earth for a reason, and part of our purpose at Hope College is to help them discover their purpose.
For me, things have come full circle. The last 18 years of my own life have led me back to this moment! Since graduating from Hope in 2002, I have been on the East Coast, working in government and business. And now, my wife Sarah and I find ourselves “first-years” again at Hope College.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have shared many of the same emotions as our students. We feel nervous, excited, hopeful and eager to get started. Mostly, we feel extraordinarily blessed to be “home,” serving the place that launched a transformation for us more than 20 years ago.
The entire campus community has warmly welcomed us back. We arrived on June 28, greeted by welcome boxes from Student Congress as well as a treehouse and swing in the backyard of the president’s home, which the campus built as a surprise for our three children. The best part of this job has been interacting with Hope’s amazing students — take a look at a fun video that our Public Affairs and Marketing team put together on move-in day.
I ask that you keep Hope College in your prayers as we begin the new academic year. I look forward to connecting with you soon! In the meantime, if you know students or families who may be interested in learning more about Hope College, please share their names at hope.edu/refer.
Spera in Deo,
Matthew A. Scogin
P.S. Some of you have been asking about the Presidential Inauguration, which will take place Friday, September 13, at 2:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. I hope that you will be able to join us for this historic moment in our college’s history, if not in person, then in spirit. For those who are unable to attend, the ceremony will be streamed online at hope.edu/live.