Being a student-athlete and a mechanical engineering major has been much tougher than Caden Brainard thought, but he wouldn’t want to be at any other school than Hope College.

An endowed scholarship is one of the biggest reasons the junior from Muskegon is at Hope. “I thought I wasn’t going to come to Hope because of how expensive it is,” Caden said. “Once I came to campus, I knew this was the right place. Hope was set apart from all the other schools.”

He was awarded the David and Jill Goetz Scholarship, both alumni of Hope. “It means a lot, someone being able to help pay for school here,” said Caden, who met the Goetzes at a luncheon for endowed scholarship recipients. “I thank them a lot for giving and their generosity. Who knows where I would be without it?”

The Goetz’s scholarship enabled Caden to pay for his Hope education and do much more. He’s on Hope’s lacrosse team, a sport he started playing in fourth grade, and invests in the Holland community and other student-athletes on campus.

As part of the Athletes Coming Together/Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ACT/SAAC), Caden helps unite all Hope athletes for support, community building and service. Currently ACT/SAAC is raising funds for Hand2Hand, an organization that provides food for kids facing weekend hunger in West Michigan.

Balancing the demands of being a student-athlete and tackling the rigorous courses required for an engineering major has been challenging. “It’s really beneficial figuring out how to get through the adversity,” he explained. “I’ve learned to organize my schedule and plan my week out. Trying to find a good balance is crucial.”

He urges anyone thinking about establishing an endowed scholarship to “just do it.”

“That’s going to affect multiple students,” Caden said. “You are changing their lives. You will impact their lives and the lives of the people they go to school with – their teammates, their roommates and students in their classes. It’s making a generational difference.”

Consider funding an endowed scholarship and help more outstanding students like Caden to afford a prized Hope education. Learn more at

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