We Love You, Nykerk!

Hope College – The 83rd annual Nykerk Cup competition held at the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Nykerk is something that is hard to explain- and I’ve had a lot of practice trying. It’s typically brought up in a conversation by someone asking me about why all of my friends are dressed up in navy sweaters and white turtlenecks. I usually laugh and launch into an explanation of the 84-year-old Hope College tradition that impacted me so much; I wanted to come back and coach.

Being a song girl was something I wore with pride. I loved walking to our practice room and seeing girls that became my close friends over the four week season and the morale boys who did everything in their power to make us feel appreciated. There is nothing like working for weeks on something and then finally hitting the chord perfectly or putting up the correct prop at the exact time. We knew we were doing something right when we made our coaches tear up.

These feelings were nothing in comparison to putting on the ‘nun-fit’ as we call it and standing with my Even Year Sisters for the last time. Getting up on the bleachers was an incredibly bittersweet moment- I mean, this is what we worked for, but this was also our last time as song girls. At the end of the song, it is a tradition for all the song girls to put our hands up and stay that way until everyone stops clapping.


Our Sophomore year was no different, but as our hand went up, the tears came down. I looked to my left and noticed that a girl who has become one of my best friends purely because we met sitting next to each other at practice freshman year, was overcome by the same emotions. We loved Nykerk, and we will always keep it in a special place in our hearts.

Hope College – The 83rd annual Nykerk Cup competition held at the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Song isn’t the only event; there is also play and oration. I have so much appreciation for each of these segments of the competition as well. Nykerk is much more than a song; it is an event that teaches the women of Hope College to stand tall and be proud of the work we are putting into our school. When all three of our events combine in a way that every participant left their heart and soul on the stage, we know we have accomplished our goal of working together to do something magnificent.

Hope College – The 83rd annual Nykerk Cup competition held at the DeVos Fieldhouse.

We end each practice with a song I’ll leave you with that I believe captures why we do what we do every year in this tradition:

“We love you Nykerk, oh yes we do. We love you Nykerk, and we’ll be true. When you’re not with us, we’re blue (so blue!). Oh, Nykerk, we love you!”

You can help support student activities like Nykerk and keep the tradition strong. Make your gift today and show your love for Nykerk.

Join us for the 84th Annual Nykerk Cup Competition on Saturday, October 20 at 7 pm at DeVos Fieldhouse.

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.

The Power of Hope

Every fall, the Hope College community welcomes a new class of students to campus. These students will experience the power of a Hope education.

They will thrive in small classes, where one-on-one collaboration with professors is the norm. They will experience a uniquely vibrant Christian character, with many opportunities to explore their faith. They will participate in one or more of the 1,800+ internship opportunities and 300+ study-abroad opportunities in more than 60 countries. They will mature as leaders, guided by staff who care about their personal, professional and spiritual development. And, they will begin their career or enroll in graduate school soon after graduation, ready to lead and shape their communities.

Together, our faculty and staff support the mission of Hope College — to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith. Donors bring this mission to life for countless accomplished students, making a Hope education accessible for many who might otherwise deem it impossible. Ninety percent of Hope students receive financial aid based on need or merit, and about 750 students benefit specifically from donor-endowed scholarships.

“Hope is a place that opens doors, offers a multitude of opportunities and connects students to people who sincerely want to help,” said Meghan Lau ’15 at Hope’s annual Scholarship Luncheon.”

“Each story of every scholarship, every donor and every recipient is unique.”

Your gift to Hope makes a significant and positive impact on the students of today and tomorrow. Visit hope.edu/give for more details on supporting student scholarships.

Heartened by Hope

Ask Alexis-Simone Rivers who influenced her most during college, and she’s quick to recognize two people: her mother, and her scholarship donor, Mrs. Libby Hillegonds.

Alexis-Simone Rivers and Mrs. Libby Hillegonds.

As a shy freshman, Alexis-Simone had mapped out her future around the certainty of a nursing career. During her first year at Hope, which was a period of discernment, she realized that nursing was not, in fact, her calling. Suddenly having to rethink her vocation, Alexis-Simone was disheartened. But, knowing she was supported by the William Hillegonds Scholarship — and encouraged by her mother — Alexis-Simone found heart, persevered and even chose to study abroad the spring of her sophomore year.

“Being in Argentina was my most challenging semester,” she says. Challenging, and life-changing. Alexis-Simone returned to campus with a new sense of purpose and identity. She switched her major to business and marketing, and leapt into leadership positions. She served as the Advising and Transition Orientation director, a program coordinator and mentor for the GROW Peer Mentoring Program, a core member of the Student Activities Committee, and the president of two student organizations.

Alexis-Simone Rivers ’16 receiving her diploma at commencement.

When Alexis-Simone received her diploma in May 2016, she was a different person.

“I’ve learned not to lose sight of my goals and ambitions,” she says, “and to remember I am a child of God.”

Your gift to Hope makes a significant and positive impact on the students of today and tomorrow. Visit hope.edu/give for more details on supporting student scholarships.

Unique Reunion Celebrates Hope Professor and the Sciences

A unique reunion on Hope’s campus highlighted faculty-student rapport that time and distance could not shake or undo. On the 50th anniversary of his arrival at Hope College, Dr. Sheldon Wettack, a member of the Hope chemistry faculty from 1967 to 1982 who served as dean of the natural sciences for the last eight of those years, was celebrated by his former Hope research students in July.

Dr. Sheldon Wettack, 1967
Dr. Sheldon Wettack, 2017

During his 15 years at Hope, Wettack mentored 21 Hope students — self-named the Wettack Research Warriors — in his physical chemistry laboratory in both Lubbers Hall and the Peale Science Center. Upon invitation from organizers Dr. Ken Janda ’73 and Dr. Charlie Bibart ’69, thirteen of those former students returned for the reunion on campus, a few for the first time in decades. What they found is a college that has grown in size and stature yet with a still-strong reputation in and mission for the natural sciences.

Not coincidentally, the Wettack reunion coincided with the first annual Schaap Chemistry Symposium, with Dr. Sylvia Ceyer ’74 as the keynote speaker. Ceyer is the John C. Sheehan Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an elected member to the renowned American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. And she was a research student in Wettack’s p-chem lab. “There is no doubt in my mind that the encouragement and guidance of Sheldon, along with the warmth of his wife Marilyn throughout my student years, were crucial ingredients to my scientific future,” praises Ceyer.

Sheldon and Marilyn were “left speechless at the idea (of the reunion). We were both flabbergasted,” he says. But for Janda and Bibart, the notion of celebrating a person who affected the career trajectories of many Hope students made perfect sense. And to do so while that person is still an active scientist and professor on campus made the event even more meaningful. “Very few faculty get to hear from their former students after 50 years about what you meant to them half a century ago,” says Wettack. “The reunion was very special in that regard.”

Though Wettack left Hope in 1982 to become art and sciences dean at the University of Richmond, then president of Wabash College, and finally vice president/dean of the faculty at Harvey Mudd College in California, he returned to the college in 2004 to teach part-time. He was invited back to “help out around the chemistry department, and I thought it was be a good way to go into retirement.” Then he laughs, fully aware that he has never abided by the full definition of that r-word. He even became the announcer for Hope’s swim meets.

For Bibart, who spent his career in the pharmaceutical industry and is now retired, the reunion was a terrific way to reconnect with his former mentor and other Hope alums, some of whom he hadn’t seen in over four decades or had never met since the returnees spanned a decade of Hope years. With great affinity and technical jargon, they reminisced about all manner of memories and methodology, including the acquisition of a gas phase photon-counting fluorescence spectrometer that needed construction in Lubbers Hall. Though Wettack was its chief constructor, he allowed his research students to work right alongside him and learn the nuances of laboratory assembly.

The gas phase photon counting fluorescence spectrometer constructed by Wettack Research Warriors in Lubbers Hall.

“Almost anyone you talk to who worked with Sheldon was impacted significantly,” says Bibart. “The recurring theme is this: As we look back, we see how much we were impacted by Hope, Hope science, and Hope science with Sheldon Wettack.”

Janda, who has remained in contact with Wettack throughout their careers, concurs. Wettack opened doors for him and others, providing opportunities that steered him, and them, toward meaningful, reputable science career experiences whether in higher education or industry or public service.

“Sheldon seemed to pick me from out of the crowd to nurture me and mentor me. He was kind and forgiving, never perturbed with a mistake,” says Janda who is the dean for the physical sciences at University of California-Irvine. “He said we had to learn by doing, so mistakes were plentiful. But his patience was limitless.”

Working with those who have youthful exuberance and enthusiasm for chemistry seems to be a Wettack forte. Before finishing his doctorate at the University of Texas-Austin in the mid-70s, he taught high school science. After completing his degree there, he came right to Hope to instill in those slightly older the hard work and love of chemistry.

Patsy Meliere ’72 Janda and Ken Janda ’73 (far left) present a check to former President John Knapp (far right) to honor Sheldon Wettack (center) and benefit the Wettack Research Fellowship.

Janda, along with his wife, Patsy Meliere ’72, also paid homage in one more way to their former mentor. They contributed a significant gift to the Wettack Research Fellowship, a fund that supports Hope students in summer research experiences. “The strength of the sciences at Hope is what drew us here in the first place, and we want to see that continue,” says Patsy of their rationale for giving the gift to the fund’s endowment.

As their time together wound down, the Wettack reunion attendees presented Sheldon and Marilyn with a commemorative book filled with pictures and epistles detailing his former students’ life trajectories and Wettack’s effects on them. Each story — 17 in all — told a tale of determination, scientific passion, and a Hope education used well.

“Marilyn and I sat together and read those pages and lots of tears came to our eyes,” Wettack says. “We were blessed by this very special time with very special people.”

WETTACK’S RESEARCH WARRIORS

James Hardy ’68, Charles Bibart ’69, James Koert ’71, Mark Rockley ’71, Charles Kan ’72, Gordon Renkes ’72, Daniel Dethmers ’73, Ken Janda ’73, Robert Klapthor ’73, Sylvia Ceyer ’74, Bill McAndrew ’74, Mary Millard Mayo ’74, Doug Sluis ’74, Doug Worsnop ’74, James Garmirian ’76, Patricia Dwyer Hallquist ’76, Dave Bartels ’77, Elizabeth Hager ’77, Richard Wood ’77, Mary Koeppe Luidens ’75, Kathleen Stratton ’78

Make a gift to support the Wettack Research Fellowship.

Engaged with Hope

Spencer Westley ’17

Keeping up with Spencer Westley is a challenge. He wants to make the most of every opportunity Hope has to offer, and scholarships have allowed him to do just that.

Call Spencer busy. Call him focused. Call him engaged. But don’t call him overcommitted. He can, and does, balance it all — so well, in fact, that he graduated a year early. In his final year at Hope, Spencer was president of Student Congress, director for the Business Club, career advisor with the Career Development Center, former Student Ambassador and intern for the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals.

 

Scholarships allowed me to participate in these different activities, all of which are molding me into the young professional I hope to become after graduation.

Not surprisingly, Spencer’s career aspirations are driven by a spirit of service that Hope staff and faculty have encouraged and cultivated.

Have an impact on students like Spencer and make a gift today.

Inspired by Hope

Diana Gonzalez ’17

Meet Diana Gonzalez. After visiting Hope, she knew it was where she wanted to be. It seemed like the perfect place. During her high school years, Diana’s family worried about how they would pay for college. She applied to Hope but, fearing tuition was out of reach, dismissed the possibility of attending.

Fortunately, Diana was granted an amazing financial aid package with included scholarships that changed the course of her future.

As a freshman, she joined the Phelps Scholars program, which allowed her to live with students from a broad range of cultural backgrounds. She was inspired by her fellow Phelps Scholars as well as her professors to build lifelong relationships and experiences that would serve her well.

After declaring a major in Spanish and minor in psychology and ethnic studies, Diana went on to study abroad in Spain. Looking ahead, she is planning a career in social work. She is just one of many Hope students who rely on your generosity.

Your gift to Hope makes a significant and positive impact on the students of today and tomorrow. Visit hope.edu/give for more details on supporting student scholarships.

Thank You!

Many of you participated in Scholarship Day of Giving and we are grateful for your support. Thanks to you, we raised more than $162,000 — all for student scholarships through the Hope Fund. The number of gifts and the total raised both exceeded last year’s day of giving.

On behalf of the Hope College community, and especially our students, thank you for your generosity!

Your support brings Hope’s mission to life for countless accomplished students, making a Hope education accessible for many who might otherwise deem it impossible.

Scholarship Day of Giving Thank You Video

Unlock $25,000 for Scholarships at 700 Donors

Scholarship Day of Giving is now over halfway to our overall goal. We were close to our goal of 500 donors by 5 pm, but came up just short. Help us reach the next goal of 700 gifts and an additional $25,000 will be unlocked and added to today’s total thanks to another generous group of challenge donors.

How can you help? 

1) If you haven’t already, make a gift at hope.edu/give2hope.

2) Spread the word on social media and email using #give2hope.

To make your gift by phone, please call 616.395.6006. The students will be in the Outreach Center until 10 p.m. EDT.

Looking for a quick and easy way to help? Forward this update to a group of friends!

125th Donor Thank You

Today’s the day many on Hope’s campus hit the refresh button for hope.edu/give2hope with a strong sense of gratitude. Each new commitment to support Hope students represents a unique donor story, while simultaneously launching new Hope stories for students receiving scholarships.

We are excited to introduce you to the 125th Scholarship Day of Giving donor. CJ Ditzenberger’s Hope story began when her daughter, Grace, was looking for a small Christian liberal arts college with a strong exercise science and volleyball program. Grace is now a sophomore that makes the trip each semester from her home in Centennial, Colorado to study on a pre-med track at Hope College. CJ visits as a Hope parent a few times each year and was motivated to be part of a community of donors on this special day.

“Hope College has provided Grace with amazing research opportunities and great professors. It’s been everything we imagined it would be.” -CJ Ditzenberger

Thank you CJ and all who have contributed to the success of this day so far. We are now at 181 gifts (10:57 AM EDT) toward out goal of 1,000 before midnight. We can do it! To encourage us, a group of generous donors has offered a $10,000 challenge that will be unlocked when we reach 250 gifts. Help us reach our goal by making a gift and spreading the word!

#give2hope