Tim Laman ’83 Named Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Tim Laman '83 accepts the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award at the April 2016 Alumni Banquet.
Tim Laman ’83 accepts the Distinguished Alumni Award at the April 2016 Alumni Banquet.

Just six months after being honored by his alma mater with a Distinguished Alumni Award, recognition of field biologist and wildlife photojournalist Dr. Tim Laman ’83 has gone global.

Earlier this week, the standout Hope College graduate was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the world-renowned British institution, the Natural History Museum.

In its 52nd year, the competition provides a showcase for the world’s very best nature photography. It is open to competitors worldwide and saw a record 50,000 entries from 95 countries in 2016. Winning photos are showcased online and in a major exhibition at the museum followed by a worldwide tour. As a result, the photographs are seen by millions.

“Entwined Lives” by Tim Laman

Dr. Laman’s winning photo, Entwined Lives, shows an endangered Bornean orangutan in the Indonesian rainforest. It was taken 90 feet above ground in Gunung Palung national park. Tim had to do three days of climbing and use GoPro cameras in order to capture the moment. His other work recognized by the contest includes “Pursued by Fire”, “Road to Destruction” and “End of the Line?”, all helping to raise awareness for the need to protect orangutans, which are declining due to habitat loss.

“I think that photojournalism can have a big impact in conservation because people don’t really appreciate what is going on until they see it themselves.” – Tim Laman ’83

Tim is a freelance photographer and writer on natural history as well as a research associate in the Ornithology Department at Harvard University.  He has been a regular contributor to National Geographic, with a focus on conservation and endangered species, since earning his doctorate from Harvard in 1994.

He and his wife, Boston University anthropologist Cheryl Knott, have long studied the orangutans of Indonesia’s Gunung Palung National Park. Their work was recently highlighted in the television program “Mission Critical: Orangutans on the Edge.” Among other publications, their research has been featured in National Geographic, and they are co-authors of the children’s book “Face to Face with Orangutans.”

Entwined Lives by Tim Laman
“Pursued by Fire” by Tim Laman

In addition to 21 feature stories on a variety of topics in National Geographic through the years, he has been the photographer or author and photographer of 29 articles.  In addition to “Face to Face with Orangutans,” his four books include the landmark “Birds of Paradise: Revealing the World’s Most Extraordinary Birds,” a chronicle of his multi-year effort to document all 39 species of New Guinea’s colorful “Birds of Paradise” for the first time.  He has also co-authored 20 scientific articles, including four based on research that he conducted with faculty while a biology major at Hope.

He has had solo exhibits of his photography featured in France, Japan, the Philippines and multiple cities in the United States, and has delivered more than 50 invited lectures around the world.  He has also received numerous external grants in support of his research, exploration and conservation work, including nine from the National Geographic Society or National Geographic Expeditions Council.  Other honors include an Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award from Harvard.

Entwined Lives by Tim Laman
“End of the Line?” by Tim Laman

Tim has also returned to Hope to speak in conjunction with the opening celebration of the college’s A. Paul Schaap Science Center, and to present an illustrated lecture about the “Birds of Paradise” project—the latter to a capacity audience in the DeWitt Center main theatre on Hope’s campus.

His commitment to his alma mater continues this May as he plans to lead the next trip of the Alumni Travel Program.  Taking place May 9–22, the 14-day adventure on the northern safari circuit of Tanzania will explore four renowned national parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Registration for the trip is now open and is limited to the first 25 guests.

You can read more about this exciting award from some of the news media around the world featuring Tim’s work:

The Guardian
National Geographic
New Scientist

From Bach to Bieber: Derek Brown ’06 Plays Sax on NPR

Hope College graduates often apply their liberal arts education by finding unique ways to make innovative and untraditional connections in their work. But Derek Brown ’06 is the only one combining the bass line and melody of Every Breath You Take, switching from Bach to Bieber on the same album and playing the saxophone as percussion and woodwind.

In fact, Derek’s sound is so unique that it earned him a spot on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday. Listen now.

“When you listen to Derek Brown play the sax, you figure this guy has got to be using all kinds of loops and overdubs and electronic pyrotechnics. And then when you figure out it’s just him playing live, it is a little bit hard to fathom.” -NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly

Photo from www.derekbrownsax.com
Photo from www.derekbrownsax.com

If the 19th century Belgian inventor were still alive, Adolphe Sax would be proud of the lengths to which Chicago-based saxophone innovator Derek Brown has taken his instrument.

Derek crosses genres from jazz to funk to classical using creative new “beatbox-like” techniques. He is currently involved with the up-and-coming Chicago funk/fusion supergroup Low Spark, as well as his signature solo show, “BEATBoX SAX.”

After growing up in Michigan and attending Hope College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Jazz Studies and Music Performance double major, Derek went to grad school at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His experimentation with the saxophone started at Hope and continued through graduate school.

For the next six years, Derek was the Director of Jazz Studies at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

beatbox-sax-album-coverNow living in Chicago with his wife Rachel (also a Hope grad), Derek is focusing on a career as a full-time freelance saxophonist.  In addition to a growing YouTube following and a recent release of BEATBoX SAX, he has performed in France, Germany, Norway, Latvia, Bulgaria, the UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Serbia, China, Malaysia, and Brazil.

Whether it’s on their albums, online, in Hope’s Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts or on NPR, we love listening to our alumni, student and faculty musicians!


Hope Graduate Wins ArtPrize Outstanding Venue Award

While at Hope, Steffanie Rosalez ’05 was referred to by her professors as a “rock star.” Today she is an artist, musician, community organizer, and now an ArtPrize award winner.

ArtPrize has been recognized as the most-attended public art event on the planet and was recently highlighted in The New York Times.

Steffanie Rosalez ’05 (Photo by Eric Tank)
Steffanie Rosalez ’05 (Photo by Eric Tank)

This year, many of the 400,000 attendees experienced Steffanie’s venue, This Space is Not Abandoned. Selected to share the juried outstanding venue award, This Space is Not Abandoned  was a Curatorial Fellowship Venue located at 912 Grandville Avenue. There, more than fifteen artists created a Cultura Collective centered on the theme of race and cultural identity in Grand Rapids. They featured paintings, murals, audio installation, fashion, photography, live music, dance, and theater performances.

Mural at 912 Grandville Avenue (Photo by ArtPrize)
Mural at 912 Grandville Avenue (Photo by ArtPrize)

Steffanie participated in the 2016 ArtPrize Fellowship for Emerging Curators program. As a curator, she received grant funding and the opportunity to work alongside established curator Paul Amenta, co-founder of SiTE:LAB. Together they brought two exceptional exhibitions to the Rumsey Street neighborhood. Fifteen unoccupied buildings provided the setting for site-specific installations.

Steffanie graduated from Hope College in 2005, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Communication. Since graduating, she has managed the after school program at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, taught and worked as a commissioned artist. Today, she pours her talents into the Roosevelt Park neighborhood, planning and implementing arts programming for youth and families as the Program Director at Cook Arts Center. She is a social justice advocate and works to provide equality through the arts for the communities she works in.

Even as a student, Steffanie was slow to abandon and quick to repurpose through art what others might discard. (Photo by Katrina Herron '05)
Even as a student, Steffanie was slow to abandon and quick to repurpose through art what others might discard. (Photo by Katrina Herron ’05)

It is great to see others recognizing Hope graduates living out the mission of the college. Even without such an honor as this, Steffanie’s leadership, service and creativity applied to improving the lives of others is something to celebrate!

Hope Graduate Makes National News with Innovative Drone Delivery

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's drone prepares to land in the Pine Grove.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt’s drone prepares to land in the Pine Grove.

Jeremy Latchaw ’00 has personified a liberal arts education since uniquely combining business administration, religion and the Army ROTC as a Hope College student.

He did it again earlier this week with an innovative connection between drone technology and frozen yogurt.

The mechanical merger of drone and dessert was not the product of a wild promotional brainstorm, but rather the natural extension of two of Jeremy’s current passions. He and his wife, Molly, relocated to Holland in 2013.  They operate two Orange Leaf frozen yogurt franchises in the area and donate 20 percent of their profits to charity. Jeremy is also president of Mishigami Group, a drone consultant and engineering firm that works with companies and government agencies to build unmanned aerial vehicle programs.

The drone that made the delivery to campus was piloted by another Hope College graduate and Mishigami’s principal, Matt Rybar.

“It made sense to put the two of them together,” Latchaw said. “It’s cool to do something like this, delivering to a place like Hope College.”

Jeremy Latchaw '00 and OrangeLeaf President Geoff Goodman celebrate a successful landing.
Jeremy Latchaw ’00 and Orange Leaf President Geoff Goodman celebrate a successful landing.

The project put him and the college in the spotlight this week as hundreds of local and national media outlets picked up the story. Here are a few highlights:


Following graduation from Hope in 2000, Jeremy was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, stationed initially in Texas.  During his active service he was deployed to Iraq, earning decorations including the Bronze Star, and he later served in Kuwait during 2007-08 while in the U.S. Army Reserve.  Promoted across his time in the military, he continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve as a major, and is an associate professor of military science in the Army ROTC program at Western Michigan University.

Jeremy Latchaw '00 after receiving a 2015 Hope College Young Alumni Award. Jeb Wierenga, a Hope ROTC student, presented the award.
Jeremy Latchaw ’00 after receiving a 2015 Hope College Young Alumni Award. Jeb Wierenga, a Hope ROTC student, presented the award.

His additional involvement in West Michigan has included serving as vice president of training for Cultivate Holland and as the ROTC Awards chair for the Michigan Sons of the American Revolution.  His continued engagement with Hope has ranged from hosting Hope-Calvin rivalry satellite parties; to serving on his reunion committee; to volunteering with the Center for Faithful Leadership and the Career Resource Network.

In April of 2015, Jeremy received the Hope College Young Alumni Award and spent time on campus to to present workshops designed for students as they consider their lives after graduation.

After an exciting and tasty week on campus, we can’t wait to see what unique connections Jeremy and some of Hope’s other 33,000 graduates think of next.

Alumni Survey Results

In February and March we asked for alumni feedback via a comprehensive survey. We had a great response with over 4,100 alumni participating across 48 states and 45 countries. For the researchers or armchair pollsters reading, this gives us a margin of error of less than 1.5%.

Captions to be edited by SAT.
Response by region. 13% of all Hope alumni participated in the study.

Response by Decade
Response by graduation year.
More importantly, the results of the study serve three primary functions. First, it provides those of us working at the college a chance to listen to those we serve. Second, it evokes discussion and gives alumni an additional opportunity to have an important voice. Third, it allows us to make decisions regarding the Alumni Association with objective information and alumni insight.

We are grateful for those that took the time to share their opinions and are fortunate to have a loyal alumni base. In fact, 76% rated their loyalty to Hope as a 7 or higher on a 10 point scale. Moving forward, we are planning to connect even more alumni to the mission of Hope through improved benefits and services based on what we heard.

Overall Loyalty
When asked to reflect on their loyalty to Hope College, 76% rated it as a 7 or higher.
Online and Career Connections
Alumni shared that relevant connections today should be made more around region and career and less around traditional class year. The benefits alumni are most interested in include an improved online alumni directory, discounted merchandise, regional connections, online lifelong learning and career networking. Plans for improvement and initial discussions are taking place in all of these areas and in April the Alumni Association Board of Directors prioritized a list of improvements to focus on.

Benefits Overview
Alumni rankings (four point scale) of the perceived value of benefits and services that are or could be offered by the Alumni Association.
Student Scholarships and Designated Giving
While there are many ways for alumni to make a difference, philanthropic support remains a crucial one. Currently, just under 20% of alumni support the college financially. Alumni shared that directly supporting students and the ability to designate gifts are the clearest ways to increase support. Based on this feedback, 100% of money raised through the Hope Fund will now directly support student scholarships. We are also working on priority designations and will be sharing new opportunities this year.

Giving Designation
Likelihood to give if alumni were able to designate their gift to a specific area.
Every alumni voice matters as we work together to fulfill Hope’s unique mission and vision each day. Thank you for your continued involvement and support of Hope students. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at alumni@hope.edu or 616.395.7250.

Summer Send Off: Then and Now

Rewind to July of 2014. 

As an incoming first-year student at Hope College, I was a ball of nerves and excitement. Being the type of person that needs planning and order, not knowing what was to come when I stepped onto campus in the fall was a rattling concept. Thankfully, Hope College does a picnic called a “Summer Send Off” in four different areas: Naperville, Mid-Michigan, Southeast Michigan, and Southwest Michigan. Since I am from the Lansing area, I went to the picnic held at Patriarche Park in East Lansing in the summer of 2014. About 10 of my high school friends were also coming to Hope, so we all arrived together. Even though I was with the people I felt most comfortable around, I couldn’t help but be nervous. I was moving away from an area that I had lived my entire life, to a town where I had visited only a couple of times. Coming to Hope was more or less a leap of faith for me, as I hadn’t even gone on an official campus visit. From the very beginning of the picnic, I knew that this was where I was supposed to be. The people from Hope College that hosted the picnic were friendly and I didn’t feel completely clueless anymore. I had no idea how to do this whole college thing, considering how I was a first-generation college student, with no real guidance in this adventure. But after the picnic, the countdown was set for August 24, move-in day, and I couldn’t have been more excited.


Fast forward to now: July of 2016. 

Packing up the orange and blue Gatorades into the cooler and putting everything into the Hope van, I would soon be on my way to the first Send Off picnic of the summer. Ever since August of 2014 (Yes, two weeks after I stepped onto campus!) I have worked in the Alumni and Family Engagement Office, the very office that hosts the Summer Send Off picnics. I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was so nervous about a simple picnic. Now, I am greeting the incoming students as they arrive, and making them feel at home before they even come to campus. Hope College has a way of doing that. As I stood under the pavilion, looking at all of the students that were listening to the Orientation Directors, I couldn’t help but look back on the time that I was sitting in their exact place. A feeling of peace and thankfulness washed over me. The leap of faith that I once took in 2014 brought me to a state of joy, contentment and peace in 2016.

If only these freshmen knew what they were in for.

Great Golf Outing, Better People

6AM didn’t seem too bad with this kind of early morning view.

The morning of the Bob DeYoung Golf Outing was crisp and bright. As the golfers came to register at the Ravines Golf Club in Saugatuck, each one had a smile on their face (whether they were morning people or not!) And as President Knapp gave his morning remarks, I couldn’t help but stop and think about how lucky I was to be in this place. By this place, I mean Hope College. This place and these people have one word to describe them: genuine. The students, my co-workers in the Alumni Engagement Office, and all of the people surrounding me are truly genuine. The smiles, jokes about golf scores, and laughs carried on into the afternoon round, making me more and more thankful with each person I interacted with that day.

I sat out on Hole #17, giving away some of the prizes for the On-the-Green Challenge, and was continually amazed at how great the day was. Every person that came up to me was cheerful, even though they may have shot their golf ball into the trees to my left. I began to realize that even if something were to go wrong in the planning of the outing, the golf outing would have remained great- simply because of these people.

Too often we take the people around us for granted when trying to make things perfect. Having the perfect grades, the best job, or an amazing wardrobe don’t really matter. At this golf outing, I realized that life is about the people and the relationships that we have made. And boy, am I thankful for these Hope College relationships.


“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made?” -Francis Chan

Mary Elizabeth Winther ’15 Receives Lilly Graduate Fellowship

Mary Elizabeth Winther valued her experience at Hope, so much so that the 2015 graduate ultimately dreams of mentoring students at an institution much like her alma mater.

As one of only 10 young scholars nationwide to receive an award through the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program for graduate studies beginning this fall, and newly enrolled in a three-year MFA program in costume design at Wayne State University, the French and theatre double major is on her way.Winther_Headshot

“My dream career path would involve working in a theatre department at a college similar to Hope,” Winther said. “I would love to be the resident designer or the costume shop manager at a small Christian school where I could build meaningful relationships with students while teaching and designing.”

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is a part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts that supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar as they pursue graduate degrees in humanities and the arts. Mary Elizabeth is excited by the opportunity that her fellowship will provide to continue to reflect on her career choice and faith holistically.

“The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program appealed to me as a way to keep me grounded and focused during graduate school,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to having a community of people who are motivated in their studies by their love for Christ and desire to seek Him through whatever academic path they follow.”

She has felt well-prepared by her Hope experience for both her forthcoming graduate work and her participation as a Lilly Graduate Fellow.

WintherDSC02184“Hope absolutely prepared me well for graduate school,” she said. “I was able to costume-design three fully realized productions for the theatre department, work in the costume shop (which will be a part of my graduate school experience as well) and take classes in all areas of theatre.”

“Several of my courses, both in and outside of the theatre department, asked that I think critically about why I wanted to pursue theatre, and how my faith would inform my choices along my career path,” she said. “I think all of these factors helped me to affirm my desire to work as a designer, and prepared me for the demands of a rigorous graduate school program.”

Winther has spent the past year as a costume intern with Meadow Brook Theatre, a professional company that operates on the campus of Oakland University in Auburn Hills. In addition to her participation in theatre productions while a student at Hope, she spent the spring semester of her junior year studying abroad in Paris, France, and was also in co-curricular activities including serving as a resident assistant, and the “Milestone” yearbook and the Nykerk Cup competition. A summa cum laude graduate, she was inducted into the college’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society.

Winther and the other nine Lilly Graduate Fellows were selected by an eight-member selection committee who interviewed 16 finalists (selected from 56 applicants) in April in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Fellows will meet together for three days at an Inaugural Conference on August 1-4 in Indianapolis, Indiana, with their mentors, Gretchen J. Van Dyke of The University of Scranton and Douglas Henry of Baylor University. Following the Inaugural Conference, the Fellows will embark on a long-distance colloquium, engage in one-on-one mentoring relationships, and participate in the three additional conferences. All 10 are pursuing terminal graduate studies in humanities or the arts.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is funded by a generous grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The program will select a total of 10 cohorts of Graduate Fellows from the current 99 schools that make up the Lilly Fellows Program National Network of Church-Related Schools. Lilly Graduate Fellows participate in a three-year program in which they meet regularly with a mentor, attend four conferences, participate in a long-distance colloquium, and receive three annual stipends of $3,000 ($9,000 total) to use at their discretion. More information on the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is available at lillyfellows.org.

Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning through three programmatic initiatives. In addition to the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program, it offers postdoctoral teaching fellowships for young scholars who wish to renew their sense of vocation within a Christian community of learning in order to prepare themselves for positions of teaching, scholarship, and leadership within church-related institutions. It also maintains a collaborative National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities that sponsors a variety of activities and publications designed to explore the Christian character of the academic vocation and to strengthen the religious nature of church-related institutions. The National Network represents among its current membership of 99 schools a diversity of denominational traditions, institutional types, and geographical locations.

Share Your Hope Experience at Summer Send Offs

686-tmp460-sample2-2JUN2016 Each summer Hope alumni, students and parents meet members of the incoming class and their families at a series of welcome events. You are invited to help welcome the Class of 2020! Connect with Hope alumni, parents and students at a Summer Send Off event near your and share your Hope experience with students just beginning theirs.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 1.15.48 PM copyJoin us for a complimentary dinner hosted by Alumni and Family Engagement. These events happen rain or shine and are complimentary for all. The RSVP deadline is one week prior to each event.

For more information and to RSVP please visit hope.edu/alumni/events or call 616.395.7250.

Alumni Weekend 2016

Sesquicentennial Logo_horiz_blueYou answered our call to come back home! From re-connecting with classmates, celebrating the sesquicentennial, exploring new buildings and remembering our past, we hope you left with new memories and an excitement about the college’s future.

Some highlights from the weekend included a full house at the Sesquicentennial Celebration premiere of02dfb084-0949-465c-bef7-2cbcab47eb29I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (Psalm 21)” in the new Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. We welcomed the Class of 1966 into the Fifty Year Circle. The Classes of 1971, 1976, 1981 and 1986 celebrated their reunions in style throughout Holland. Thomas Nowotny ’59 and Tim Laman ’83 aa7054262-3bc0-4052-9815-a829c5b68b9bccepted the Distinguished Alumni Award and shared the impact that Hope had on their lives. You packed Maas Auditorium to hear Dr. Jack Nyenhuis, Dr. Elton Bruins and Dr. Dennis Voskuil share the story of Hope. Finally, we shook off our umbrellas and capped off the weekend with an elegant meal in the newlycf85da99-5e49-4ff4-bf17-e94fc988e19f renovated Phelps Dining Hall. We’re glad you could be a part of it all. Thank you for helping us celebrate!

Check out our photos of Alumni Weekend.  There’s still time to commemorate your time on campus with a gift or referral of a hia2e61a49-ab6e-48bc-a64c-baf7e05b302dgh school student.

And it’s never too early to mark your calendars for Alumni Weekend 2017! We can’t wait to see you on April 28 and 29, 2017.