Spring Update from Student Development

Dear Hope Families,

Richard Frost, Dean of Students

Here at Hope, we are in the final weeks of the academic year, and the entire community is ready to finish strong. As you probably know, this time of the year is filled with meaningful tasks — completing classwork, preparing for final exams, finding summer work, planning to launch a new career and attending year-end events. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is seeing students celebrate their achievements and other important milestones with friends and loved ones. This will certainly be the case on Sunday, May 6, when we gather for the graduation of the Class of 2018!

At baccalaureate and commencement, graduates always tell me how fast their college years went by. They say that, “Time flies when you are having fun!” I would revise that to say, “Time flies when you are engaged in meaningful, life-changing experiences.” Over the course of this year, your student has worked hard in classes, developed relationships with faculty who have guided and challenged them, engaged in opportunities to deepen their faith, and made lifelong friends. No wonder time seems to go so quickly!

As the dean of students, I want to thank you for being a part of the Hope family. Our community is better because of the energy and gifts you and your student have shared with us. Whether your student will be continuing as a student next year or stepping into the new role of Hope alumnus, there is much to look forward to in 2018-19. Most exciting of all, we will be conducting a search for our next president, helping us begin a new chapter at Hope.

For those parents and families who will be joining us on May 6 for graduation, we look forward to celebrating your student’s many accomplishments and will be shedding a tear as we say goodbye to the Class of 2018, whom we love dearly.

Thank you!

Spera in Deo
Richard A. Frost
Dean of Students

The Hope Gratitude Project

Gratitude, is it your attitude? This February, Hope students put gratitude into practice during the first ever Hope Gratitude Project hosted by the annual giving team.

“We are always looking for ways to educate students and get them involved; expressing gratitude for scholarship gifts really seemed to fit.”

The Hope Gratitude Project was a month-long student-focused event intended to encourage thankfulness throughout the Hope Community. The team provided calendars to students which contained one gratitude action per day and encouraged them to lead a full and grateful life. From positive personal activities such as “Complaint free day!” and “List ways you’ve impressed yourself” to interpersonal thankfulness like “Thank a professor who challenged you” and interactive events in the Bultman Student Center. The campus was brighter in a traditionally gloomy winter month.  

Through two events, students came together to write over 150 personal thank you notes to donors. One student exclaimed,

“This is so great! I’ve always wanted to express how thankful I am to people that give!” – Annie ‘20

The Hope Gratitude Project challenged us to balance academics, faith, family, and gratefulness (among a long list of other commitments). Being grateful to ourselves and others takes a small amount of time each day, and can have such a positive impact on daily life. A simple smile or encouragement to a friend can make a big difference in our lives, and other’s lives.

Being grateful doesn’t have to stop now that February is over. Keep it going, and find a way each day to complete a simple act of gratitude!

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.

Meet the Provost

As provost, I think about academic affairs at Hope College every single day. I focus on our students’ education and experience. I spend most of my days meeting with faculty, staff, and students asking questions and listening for what’s going well and what can be improved.

Here’s what I know so far. We have 235 full-time faculty who are well-educated, well-equipped scholarly teachers. I appreciate that at Hope College, full-time faculty teach the vast majority of our courses. Unlike our competitors, we don’t have many part-time instructors—and when we do, they’re practitioners in their field who add to the quality of our education here. And at Hope, we have zero graduate teaching assistants—unlike large land grant research institutions. In short, the vast majority of our professors hold the top degree—PhDs in their fields–and they hold leadership roles in their professional associations and are national experts and authors in their fields. I appreciate the fact that our faculty’s full-time careers are to teach well, conduct research, mentor students, and work closely with students in countless ways. And the faculty are caring and very student-centered—they love to work with students. Students are the highlight of our collective work.

So, I think we get it right—after 21 years of academic leadership experience and having seen various models, I believe it’s best to have a hybrid model of teaching really well and doing research. Some schools teach a lot but don’t do much research or stay on top of their fields. Other institutions do research and teach a little—to varying degrees of success, quality and engagement. We do both and we do them well.

I’ve also spent a good amount of time meeting with and listening to our students, individually and in groups. Our students’ stories and lived experiences are impressive here. I appreciate all that they’re able to juggle here at Hope. Many are double majors–bringing together interesting combinations of study like Engineering and Dance, Computer Science and Classics, Communication and Religion, Neuroscience and Art, the list goes on. I’ve learned to listen for the “and”—they study this AND that. Students can do that here at Hope; students cannot do so everywhere.

And then I like to ask students what else they do with their time here. Many engage in interdisciplinary projects. Hundreds of students conduct collaborative undergraduate research with our faculty members. Many are involved in the National Science Foundation-funded research projects. Students present and publish their research with our faculty—in many institutions, this is unheard of at the undergraduate level. I know many places will use the student labor and intellectual contributions but not give them credit. Hope College shares the research opportunity and the authorship with our students. To give you a sense of our undergraduate research prowess at Hope College, the Council for Undergraduate research awarded us along with two other institutions in the nation for our high level and high quality of undergraduate research. And our students earn major international awards and recognitions for their excellence through prestigious awards like Lilly, Goldwater, Mellon, Fulbright, and more. Having served as a founding graduate program director elsewhere, I’ve concluded that our undergraduate education is a whole lot like graduate education elsewhere in the depth, quality, and research experiences that our students have alongside our talented faculty. We’re providing rich, robust, and rigorous academic experiences for our students.

In addition, our students tell me that they are athletes, musicians, dancers or artists. And most students are leaders and community servants who care about things that are bigger than themselves. Our student body is full of smart and ambitious, but other-centered individuals. It is the well-rounded and the holistic approach to their education and their lives that I love the most.

And let me tell you about a Hope College student I know particularly well, my son. This year, our oldest child started college at Hope College. He chose Hope for the superb science programs, to have the opportunity to play Division III lacrosse, to engage in a wide array of study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities, and because of the vibrant chapel program. I can tell you that wearing my two hats of provost and mom in one place have thrilled me. Hearing our son talk about how much he loves his classes, the faculty, the Phelps Scholars program, lacrosse, residential experience, and his new friends makes my heart sing. After a 21 year career in higher education, where I have truly loved academics and have seen its power daily in everyone else’s children, I now have the opportunity to watch my child (whom I love deeply) love what I love. And it’s ridiculously good!

So, I’m delighted to lead at Hope College.

A place that celebrates a well-rounded education, holistic student experience, and a relational endeavor that weds academics and faith in a safe and idyllic playground on the shores of Lake Michigan where gorgeous sunrises and sunsets fascinate us each day! This is all distinctly Hope College and I’m genuinely pleased to travel this academic, relational, and spiritual path with your child and student. Know that I’m as invested in your child’s education as my own son’s four years here.

Grace and peace to all of you, friends!
Cady Short-Thompson, PhD
Provost, Hope College

Heather is Shaped by Hope College Women’s Basketball

Visiting Hope College for the first time, Heather Randall fell in love with the professor-to-student ratio, basketball environment, and the Hope community. She knew from the beginning that great relationships were going to be built with fans, teammates, and coaches. 

Heather has been playing basketball since 4th grade and always knew she wanted to play at the college level. Her dad understood the seriousness of her goal and said to her, “I’m gonna help you, we’re gonna get you there.” She worked hard towards that goal, and fulfilled her calling by coming to Hope College and playing women’s varsity basketball.

Now fully immersed in Hope College as a senior, Heather is completing a Business Marketing and Communication double major, and loves all things Hope. She has been a part of Hope women’s varsity basketball for four years, is on the Hopey Award Committee, and is an intern for Holland Hope Sustainable Institute. She also contributes to the community through volunteer service acts through the SEED Program (Sport Evangelism to Equip Disciples) including going on a mission trip to Costa Rica with a team of student athletes and coaches.

“Hope College has changed me into a young, confident individual.”

Heather used to stay silent instead of speaking up when she felt the need to. After attending a liberal arts college for four years, she knows that it really makes a difference, and that Hope College is an incredible place to be. Friends, faculty and staff are here to help you no matter what. The relationships she’s created will last her lifetime. 

“Hope College has absolutely transformed me. I am ready to tackle whatever problems come in my future.”

The Hope College’s women’s basketball team were the first faces Heather met freshman year, and are now her closest friends. She is a part of an athletic community and knows that there are fourteen other girls who constantly have her back, and five coaches that she could ask for help with anything. The athletic culture has taught her how to work together with a team, as they all pursue a common goal. Team comradery is at a constant high on the women’s basketball team, and they keep each other accountable. Heather succeeded as an individual, but she only focuses on the success of her team.

In Heather’s third year, the team went into the first round of nationals where they faced the giant, undefeated Thomas More College. She recalls that even the announcers presumed that Hope College would be obliterated by the opposing team. But Hope’s coaches, bench, and fans believed in them, and they beat the top team when everyone else thought that they were done for. Heather recalls the excitement and pure joy in the locker room afterwards, which included people full of excitement and proud of their team. Hope College women’s basketball was the big time underdog that everyone thought would have their butt’s kicked, yet at Thomas More College’s home court, with every single odd against them, and they worked together to win.

Heather believes that she could not be attending Hope or fulfilling her dream of playing college basketball without the help of scholarships. They provide her and many other students with the opportunity to work toward a goal, go to a new place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that they may not have been able to get to without help.

“All over the world, you find someone from Hope, you’re always anchored in the Hope College world.”

Your Orange and Blue Fund gifts support Heather and student-athletes just like her. Gifts to the Orange and Blue Fund go directly to support student-athlete scholarships and make it possible for many deserving student-athletes to attend Hope College and compete in athletics. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Orange and Blue Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help student athletes grow spiritually, academically, and athletically.

Investing in Heather and all Hope student-athletes provides them with an unsurpassed educational and athletic experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference. Give now at crowdfunding.hope.edu/athletics.

Chapel Choir Will Cross Oceans

Gabby Barber, a junior at Hope College, is a music and political science major and on Chapel Choir’s leadership board. She has been a soprano singer in Chapel Choir for three years. When Gabby came to Hope College she knew that music would be a concrete part of her future, because it was a huge part of her past. She sang in high school choir, took voice lessons, participated in musicals, and knew she never wanted to stop singing.

Chapel Choir is a medium size ensemble made up of men and women who come from diverse backgrounds and majors, but they all have a parallel passion for singing and performing. As a group they have the very unique experience of traveling and singing, while becoming a tight knit group. Chapel choir performs at baccalaureate, opening convocation, vespers and many other Hope College events.

“Usually if there’s a choir singing, it’s us.”

Gabby’s favorite part of being a part of Chapel Choir is the amazing experience of putting herself out in the world through Chapel Choir tours. The choir performs for audiences of different geographical locations, social-economical and racial backgrounds, and the choir hopes that their music affects their audience in a positive way. Gabby’s years in Chapel Choir have brought a new understanding that you never know how the music is going to encourage a listener.

Gabby has been told that Chapel Choir’s 2018 Tour to South Africa will be a life-changing experience and she believes that statement.

“The way we get to interact with people though our music is so much bigger than just traveling and singing to people. We just need a little help to get there. The people that donate to Chapel Choir can know that they will change lives. 

Your Chapel Choir Fund gifts support Gabby and student choir members just like her. Gifts to the Chapel Choir Fund go directly to support sending chapel choir students to South Africa. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Chapel Choir Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help students grow spiritually and musically.

Investing in Gabby and all Chapel Choir members provides them with an unsurpassed educational experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.

Lydia Berkey Doesn’t Shoot for the Stars, She Builds Her Own Ladder to Them

Lydia Berkey’s first three years at Hope College have been stuffed to the brim with her involvement on campus. She brings her leadership abilities and inspirational spirit to every project she undertakes. Now in her junior year, Lydia is the Vice President of Student Congress, and has previously been involved in the Student Activities Committee for two years. She works in the Bultman Student Center at the Student Life and Center for Diversity and Inclusion Office as a Student Manager, is a general member of Black Student Union and a member of the Gospel Choir.

Lydia grew up in Fenton, Michigan, with many Hope College alumni family members. During her visit to Hope College, she focused solely on Hope’s Social Work program. She instantly fell in love with it due to its esteemed program and it’s friendly, welcoming faculty members. Lydia has continued pursuing her passion of social work and has thrived at Hope College since day one.

Lydia’s post-graduate plans are to receive her Masters in Social Work. Her dream is to become a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with a focus on children.

“I have a passion for advocating for those whose voices aren’t heard.”

Your Hope Fund gifts support Lydia and students just like her. Gifts to the Hope Fund go directly to support student scholarships and make it possible for many deserving students to attend Hope College. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Hope Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help students grow spiritually and academically.

Investing in Lydia and all Hope students provides them with an unsurpassed educational experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.

Recent Grad Researches Grit and Presents at International Congress

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive. At a recent international conference, one of our Hope College alumni community members contributed to this field of study with some academic thriving of his own.

Robby Henry ’17 recently presented original research he completed at Hope as part of the 5th World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association. The conference, held this year in Montreal, Canada, is comprised of the leading researchers and practitioners in positive psychology. They meet annually to share research and best practices. This year, over 1,300 delegates from more than 60 countries attended. Among those presenting the latest research, Robby shared “Reflecting on Grit: The Physiological Markers of Self-consciousness and a Gritty Personality.”

During the event he broadcasted his eagerness to participate, tweeting his excitement to Hope College and the Hope Psychology Club. Robby also gave a shout-out to Hope College alumni who are contributing to the field.

Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, Robby graduated from Hope College with the class of 2017, receiving his BA in Biology and Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. During his time at Hope he was a Resident Assistant and a volunteer at the Holland Free Health Clinic. Currently, he is a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Utah focusing  on developmental psychopathology, lifespan transitions, and psychophysiology.

The Pull & the Tooley Family

The Pull, a unique tug-of-war contest, is one of America’s oldest standing college traditions: on Saturday, Hope College will experience the Pull for the 120th time. Each year, freshman and sophomore teams face each other from each bank of Black River, attempting to claim the rope for themselves.

Each team is comprised of 18 Pullers and 18 Moralers, who direct and support the Pullers for three rigorous hours. Even Year teams stick together while those of Odd Year form their own unity. Every year, the coaches pass down traditions to the current teams, and seniors coach the sophomore team while the junior coach is responsible for the freshmen. After having participated in the Pull as a team member, students have the opportunity to be selected as the next coach by the current ones.

Hope College Pull Rope-Run classes of 2019 and 2020

This year, Allison Tooley ’18 is a coach for the ’20 Pull team after having been a ’18 Moraler for two years. By working with her fellow coaches to prepare the sophomores for this year’s competition, she has become familiar with the traditions and strategies unique to the Even Year teams. Allison has been practicing intensively for the past three weeks and promoting Hope’s significant tradition by dressing in the traditional colors of red and white for the first five weeks of the semester.

Allison learned about the Pull already in her childhood, as her parents participated in the event when they were students at Hope College. Her father, Eric Tooley, was a Puller on the ’87 Pull Team and her mother, Anne Hathaway Tooley, participated as a Morale Girl on the ’88 Pull Team. For both Eric and Anne, the Pull was one of the first events that shaped their experience at Hope College, where a shared purpose and commitment to hard work instantly brought their respective teams together. As the Tooley Family exemplifies, the Pull connects students in marvelous ways and creates meaningful, lifelong friendships.

Hope College – The 2015 Pull event held on both sides of The Black River.

In addition to the Pull, the Tooley Family also upholds the tradition of the college’s Greek Life: Both Allison and her sister, Katelyn, are Sigmas, while Anne is a Delphi and Eric a Frater. In 2015, Katelyn graduated with a dual major in Business and Political Science, and Allison is a senior majoring in Business.

This weekend, the Tooley Family will be cheering for the ’20 Pull Team at the Rope Run on Friday and at the Pull on Saturday. To them, the Pull is an incredibly meaningful tradition, and so much more than a game of tug-of-war.