Seven Arts Alumni Share Lessons Learned at Hope and in New York City

Hope College provides instruction and experience in every major arts program. In fact, Hope was the first private, liberal arts college to hold national accreditation in art, dance, music and theater. Perhaps it is not surprising that a visit to New York City, which has been a shining theatrical center since electricity first hit Broadway in the 1880s, would put you in contact with Hope College alumni on stage, behind the scenes and, in some cases, programming the lights.

The energy of Times Square and the Theater District light up mid-town Manhattan.

One out of every ten Hope graduates majors in the arts and they are twice as likely than their counterparts to live in New York. While they each have unique stories, they also have common experiences. Some were encouraged to apply for a Distinguished Artist Award scholarship when they first considered Hope. Others met a unique blend of distinguished professionals and young artists from all over the country when they participated in Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HSRT). Still others benefited from Hope’s connections to the Great Lakes College Association and the NY Arts Program, putting their creativity to work with an immersive internship and seminar experience in NYC.

On a recent trip to the city, I had the opportunity to meet seven of these graduates and learn important lessons from their lives after Hope College.

Meet the Alumni

Susan Checklick ’97 on a phone in wardrobe room.
Susan Checklick ’97 preps for a Dear Evan Hansen performance.
Marquee of The Music Box Theatre
The Music Box Theatre

Susan Checklick ’97 is a self-professed jack of all trades, master of none. With 20 years of experience on Broadway as a wardrobe supervisor, she floats between HR manager, professional shopper, tailor, team builder, pants-presser and counselor. Currently, she sets up shop below deck at the Music Box Theatre. Established by Irving Berlin in 1919, it is now home to the award-winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Her prior experience includes Tuck Everlasting, Newsies, Matilda and In the Heights. She credits faculty mentors like Michelle Bombe and Perry Landes for identifying her talent and providing her a safe place to explore prior to returning to New York.

Lindsey Ferguson ’09 in Manhattan.

Lindsey Ferguson ’09 is a dynamic freelance performer with experiences ranging from aerial trapeze, Broadway magic in The Illusionist, performances at Radio City Music Hall, television and film appearances like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and immersive theatre with Third Rail Projects. She moved to New York 11 years ago after auditioning through a connection from a visiting professor. Inspired by her faculty, she also has intentionally sought out teaching opportunities, including at Joffrey Ballet School, Hope College and Montclair State University. While a dance major, theatre at Hope College was a big part of her life. She even met her fiancé while a cast member with HSRT.

Isaac Bush ’09 on the High Line near Hudson Yards.

Isaac Bush ’09 is from a third generation Hope family and has used the stage to launch from Muskegon, Michigan to experiences in London, Brazil, China and across the United States. He credits his student role with Rose and the Rime for the trajectory of his career. This nationally acclaimed play developed at Hope in 2007 has inspired his training at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London as well as his founding of the Circle Theater of New York. From using Hansel and Gretel to tell the story of child soldiers in the Middle East, to exploring the intersection of media and populism, his work uses theater to examine the consequences of our actions and how they affect the most vulnerable in society.

Jeremy Lydic ’02 in Union Square.

Jeremy Lydic ’02 was a football player in Iowa when he discovered his true passion for music and theatre. Focusing on this, he chose to attend Hope. He studied abroad in London and gained experience as a production assistant. After graduation, he moved to New York with fellow alumni to become a singer and director. After being on stage as much as he could and singing in choirs and experimental operas, he decided to focus on backstage skills first learned at Hope. His career grew to include work with the Public Theater, Einstein on the Beach, Pomegranate Arts and his own design and production company. He has worked on over 60 Broadway productions, including Book of MormonSomething Rotten and Cats, and has toured internationally in over twelve countries.

Nathan Hart stands in front of a white church.
Nathan Hart ’01 at Stanwich Church in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Nathan Hart ’01 went from performing in plays to preaching in pulpits. He was a student of the religion, communication and theatre departments at Hope but discovered his true self through theatre. Upon urging from a faculty member, he attended Princeton Seminary after graduating. Internship experiences, including with the Yankees team chaplain and with Bible studies on Wall Street, shaped his vocational interests and built an important network. He took his first call to a congregation on Long Island and then worked with students on the Upper East Side. Eight years ago, he responded to a call back to pastoral ministry at Stanwich Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. He recently became its senior pastor.

Lydia Ruth Dawson ’13

Lydia Ruth Dawson ’13 knew she could start a successful career in New York after she danced with the Joffrey Ballet as a Hope College sophomore. It didn’t hurt that she was an English literature and musical theater composite double major with dance and Spanish minors where she broadened her skill set and was encouraged to grow. She has performed with American Ballet Theater, appeared in film and over 20 regional theater productions, danced in three off-Broadway shows and has been on a national tour with Cirque BELIEVE. You can find her working at SoulCycle, dancing at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center when she returns from St. Louis where she is currently performing in The Boy from Oz.

Megan stands on a street ini New York City.
Megan Mills ’99 on her way to work.

Megan Mills ’99 moved into Kleinheksel Cottage with a group of transfer students when she came to Hope as a junior. She knew she was forming lifelong friendships immediately. With her time at Hope limited, she got involved with chapel and the theatre department. She graduated and moved to New York where she worked “survivor jobs” alongside backstage roles on Broadway and Off-Broadway. For eight years she created, directed, taught and studied improv. Then, at the age of 30 and within a year of getting married, she had a stroke. One year later she had open heart surgery. She credits her journey to a healthy recovery to a deep-rooted faith planted at Hope and a little improvisation.

Lessons Learned

No matter how their journey brought them to the city that never sleeps, they all had a common starting point at Hope College. It served as a foundation of curiosity, identity development and practical experience that they continue to build on today.

Curiosity

These graduates were clearly influenced by an intentional liberal arts approach to education. They have developed a wide base of knowledge and an intense desire to know and to understand.

“Lindsey Ferguson believes her range of knowledge across history, religion and culture makes her more than just a talented dancer, but a smart dancer.”

Lindsey Ferguson ’09

Lindsey Ferguson believes her range of knowledge across history, religion and culture makes her more than just a talented dancer, but a smart dancer. She can share wisdom and opinions on her craft, providing her a seat at the table when decisions are made. Likewise, Isaac Bush’s journey has been invigorated by the liberal arts, allowing him to find solutions to problems, such as limited funding for the arts, with approaches inspired by other industries. Lydia Ruth Dawson feels that her job as an actor is to convey truth.  Her varied exposure to history, literature, science, art and faith allows her to more believably convey characters onstage.

This has provided them all with an incredible ability to adapt to the challenges of their industry. Lindsey’s freelance career requires a constant flux from gig to gig. Isaac faced limitations in casting in the United States and realized that on an international stage he could stand out. Jeremy Lydic had a well-rounded education beyond acting and singing. This allowed him to use design, stagecraft, electronics and crew skills in ways that made him marketable and created a network in the industry. Megan Mills explored life’s possibilities through improv. She learned to listen, adapt, encourage and question. She sees parallels between the improv stage and faith, sharing that “when we jump in to help each other through life’s rough patches we can  create something better and move forward.”

Identity Development

Each of these graduates had glimmers of passion for the arts during their youth. Susan Checklick loved to sew with her mom and later merged this with a love for theatre when she became a wardrobe supervisor. Lindsey Ferguson remembers dancing in the living room as a toddler. After growing up in a small town in upstate New York, she found out about Hope College and continued to dance here. Nathan Hart credits the theatre department at Hope as helping him discover his true self. When he was young he thought of acting as pretending, but at Hope realized that acting comes from a place of truth and from answering questions like, “who am I really?”

The career can be brutal with rejection on a weekly basis as agents tell you who you should be. In this environment, these alumni shared the importance of knowing who you are at a deeper level. They know that uniqueness as an individual is what makes them an artist. Lindsey recognizes that she needs to be open to others having influence on her creative vision, but ultimately knows the story she wants to tell is her own. Isaac Bush reflects on his identity as a white male and the responsibility he feels to incorporate different voices and advocate for those that are marginalized.

In addition to understanding themselves, these graduates know the importance of being part of a community.

Alumni gather at a recent event with President-Elect Matt Scogin.

Susan’s friendships within the theatre community on Broadway are her favorite part of her work. Her strongest moments, like those on stage, are when she connects with others as human beings. Lindsey sees her art as a gift and responsibility to others. The phrase, “it takes a village”, recurs constantly. Nathan acknowledges that the Hope network is far more scarce in New York than it is in the Midwest. This makes the awareness of that network and the importance of community building even more meaningful. In addition, Lydia Ruth Dawson believes her ability to adapt quickly, find balance and create community is invaluable as she constantly tours around the country. As a transfer student with only two years at Hope, Megan Mills learned to jump in to communities as soon as you can. She says, “the time you have with those around you might be short, but with intention they become people you couldn’t imagine doing life without.”

Practical Experience

Finally, many of their journeys included practical, hands-on learning experiences and a desire for even more business training.

Susan Checklick ’97 stands in front of the site of her first internship, located just around the corner from where she works today.

With a chuckle, Susan Checklick said, “the only thing they didn’t teach me in school was Excel spreadsheets.” Isaac Bush envisions future programs on campus that pair business students with arts majors to work on interdisciplinary projects. His advice to future artists is to take business classes. He knows they are not the exciting classes theatre majors want to take, but acknowledges that they are necessary to keep art available and affordable. In his words, ‘you need business acumen to survive.”

“There is no such thing as failing. There is only learning.”

Susan also goes so far as to say that there is no such thing as failing. There is only learning. With just 27 shows operating on Broadway, there is limited demand for her work at that level. She credits internships and summer work as what has helped her to stand out. Jeremy Lydic encourages others to explore curiosities and interests, adding “you never know when they may lead to job opportunities or creative relationships.” Nathan Hart had internship experiences that opened his eyes to how the world works beyond the classroom. He thinks of them daily. As she reflects back on her years at Hope College, Lydia Ruth Dawson sees Hope as a “lovely bubble,” acknowledging that it only prepares you if you get out of it from time to time to see what you need to be prepared for.

My Journey to Hope

My name is Yea Rang Song. I will be a junior this fall, and I am pursuing a degree in religion with an emphasis on biblical studies, German and classical studies. I plan to go to seminary after college and prepare to become a missionary like my parents; their lives as missionaries in South Africa and Zimbabwe have inspired me to help others.

Two years ago, on August 16, 2017, my plane landed at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was exhausted from a long flight from South Korea but also excited for the “dream come true” college life. I remember getting into a white van with the Hope College logo on it and setting off for Holland, Michigan to begin a new adventure.

Growing up in South Korea, South Africa and Zimbabwe, I knew I wanted to attend college, but I wasn’t sure where. I began researching different colleges, but was interested in Hope because it was recommended to me by my cousin. Unlike other colleges and universities, Hope had the best acceptance letter! All the other places sent a short email or letter congratulating me, but Hope’s was different — it was very personal. They responded to every single detail that I had written in my application essay. That is when I decided that I wanted to be part of a community like Hope College.

When I got out of the van, I found myself surrounded by a beautiful green campus. It was quiet because I had arrived a week earlier than other incoming freshmen. This was so I could attend a time of orientation designed especially for international students. This week-long series of events and activities put on by the Fried Center for Global Engagement was set up to help us learn about Hope, Holland and Michigan. My favorite part was visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Mackinac Island. Looking back at this experience, I am even more grateful for the warm welcome I received and for all of the staff members at the Fried Center for Global Engagement.

Freshman year was the year of adjusting to American life. Although I had grown up in various countries as a foreigner my entire life, living in America was different. All my professors made their very best effort to make me feel more comfortable and welcome. After class, they would take time to talk to me – it felt good that they went out of their way and were willing to get to know me. Of course, there were times when I didn’t understand why people were saying certain things or doing things in a certain way, but because of these experiences, I was able to learn.

Being part of the Phelps Scholars Program allowed me to experience a more diverse community. All the professors and the students tried their best to understand students from different cultures and values. This program is also where I met my group of close friends. Knowing that there will always be a community for me made my first year at Hope easier.

I got my first job working in Print and Mail Services during the second semester of my freshman year. I learned a lot, and it helped me improve my communication skills. Even at work I felt welcomed. At the beginning of each semester, my boss brought us a meal while going over the goals for the semester. She even provided all the student workers snack bags before finals. Through her actions, I could see how much the staff at Hope cares about their students, and once again there was proof that I had made the right choice in coming to Hope.

After freshman year, I went back home for the summer. Although it was hard to leave home again, returning to Hope for my sophomore year was easier because I knew I had a community at Hope waiting for me which had become my second family. It was also the year I began working in the Development and Alumni Engagement office and learning more about fundraising. I learned how many people give back to help support students like me. In this new job, I had the great opportunity of thanking people for their gifts by writing notes to them.

All of the “different” I had experienced in the past two years was a good different. Growing up as a missionary kid, serving was always a part of my life. It was not until I started working on Hope’s campus that I realized the true meaning of reciprocal service. Serving and being served was a new life experience for me. I am looking forward to traveling to Germany to study abroad this spring and learn even more about what it means to serve in a global society. Hope College has been a blessing to me.

You can help support students like Yea Rang when you make a gift to the area that you love at hope.edu/give.

Day of Giving 2019

This was a record-breaking year, thanks to your incredible efforts. With the new “Give To What You Love” campaign, the campus community rallied around Day of Giving with incredible enthusiasm. In 36 hours, $281,395 was raised to support Hope students from over 1,500 donors. (Prior to this year, our best Day of Giving was 2017, when we received $162,101 from 855 gifts.) We couldn’t have achieved this success without your passion and collaboration — and maybe a little competition, too. What if somebody missed Day of Giving and they still want to make a gift? How exciting! Go to hope.edu/give which features an online form for making gifts.

Thank you for coming together for Hope students. Your generosity inspires us — and it tells us that you believe in the transformative power of a Hope education. We are so grateful for your enthusiastic support.

From all of us at Hope College: Thank you!

Hope Grad Co-Authors Amicus Brief and Attends Arguments at Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear a trust tax case that has significant implications for states and trust beneficiaries. A Hope College graduate, Raj A. Malviya ’02, was part of a prestigious group of eight other national trust and estate experts who drafted and filed the amicus brief. He attended oral arguments at the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. on April 16.

The question posed in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. the Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust is: Does the due process clause prohibit states from taxing trusts based on trust beneficiaries’ in-state residency? Hundreds of millions of dollars of annual tax revenue hang in the balance.

Raj on Supreme Court steps
Raj Malviya ’02 on the steps of the Supreme Court on April 16 when he was in Washington D.C. for oral arguments.

Raj’s involvement is remarkable, considering he is at a relatively early point in his career. However, for those that know him, they aren’t surprised.

Raj has been practicing law since 2005, focusing on estate and tax planning. Today he is a partner at Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, MI. He is well versed in all aspects of planning for families with foreign ties as well as working with clients like business owners, licensed professionals, film and music artists, public figures and diplomats.

He is involved in a number of professional associations, including the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, and several sections with the Grand Rapids Bar Association.  He is also a member of the Society of Trusts & Estates Professionals. In 2014, he was appointed to the State Bar of Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Council and was selected from among many qualified candidates across the country to be a Fellow in the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.

Raj is a fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a group of peer-elected trust and estate attorneys from across the United States and abroad. His previous involvement with this group includes being selected as a member of the ACTEC Foundations Young Leaders Program. In 2017, he was elected a fellow by their Board of Regents.

Raj Malviya '02 in his office.
Raj Malviya ’02

As an advocate for diversity, he was also the co-founder and past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Michigan and served as the Michigan Liaison to the North American South Asian Bar Association where he helped form their Tax Section made up of attorneys, educators, law students and other professionals. In addition, he is an alumnus of the Fellows Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.

In 2016, Raj was one of West Michigan’s young professionals honored by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in their “40 Under Forty.”

Prior to this prestigious start to his career and true to a liberal arts background, Raj was a biology and business administration major at Hope College. He was also a member of the Omicron Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the men’ tennis team on which he held a 55-22 career record in singles and a 46-18 career record in doubles.

After Hope, he went on to earn his LL.M. in Taxation from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and his JD from Valparaiso University School of Law.

This trust income tax case is already getting national attention from a variety of media outlets including Forbes and Bloomberg.

For his part, Raj had this to say about the experience, “It was a privilege to collaborate with national experts on the ACTEC brief. The fiduciary income tax nexus rules across the states are nowhere close to being uniform and vary considerably in scope. Our goal was to provide education to the Court and focus the issues that govern this complex area of tax law. We felt that our brief made a meaningful impact in the case.”

Participation Matters

“Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play today.”

In this season, many Hope LAX, SB, BB, Golf, XTC&F and 10S athletes (you know who you are by your Twitter handles) echo John Fogerty’s refrain. Wanting to play, striving to win is their mission. And don’t we all want to participate in life in some way to affect outcomes?!

Participation matters in sports, academics and co-curricular activities at Hope College. It also matters in giving to your alma mater. Numerous buildings and projects on campus are named for distinguished Hope graduates who provided a special or penultimate gift to capstone a distinctive career and lifetime of giving. The impact of such philanthropy is obvious, but Hope is built no less on gifts at a variety of levels by thousands of alumni, parents and friends. Many of the college’s major donors presented three-figure ($100+) annual gifts thirty years ago. By today’s standards, that equates to a good cup of coffee a couple times a week. While that may sound a tad hyperbolic, what is not is that their giving began and was sustained by establishing a habit. Just like that cup of coffee.

Hope requires a broad spectrum of donors to remain competitive and to keep the Hope experience accessible and affordable. Tuition and fees alone do not support the kind of Hope experience we strive to provide. Your philanthropic participation begins a journey toward a lifetime of joyful giving, bolsters our reputation scrutinized by external reviewers such as Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report, and fortifies the value of your hard-earned degree. Your gift also leverages other gifts and grants. Many national foundations examine participation rates in advance of affirming a grant. Participation from many stakeholders is considered, including Board of Trustees (100% expected), Alumni Board, Administrative Council, Deans, faculty and alumni.

It is easy to deflect. Many constituents suggest that we seek major funding from recognized philanthropists in our region with names that include De__  or Van_____. Some also suggest the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Warren Buffett, even though their funding priorities are narrowly defined and their beneficiaries are often pre-selected.

Younger alumni cite their debt loads following graduation. I’m keenly aware, since my debt was equivalent to a very handsome new car. I’m also reminded that my financial aid package in the form of scholarships and Hope grants was also equivalent to a few nice cars, and made possible by donors I didn’t know or meet.

I’ve heard the chorus many times: “When I win the lottery or inherit a fortune, I’ll give a major gift to Hope.” Steady-and-regular wins the race if we participate together. Your gifts, combined with others, transform Hope and expand opportunities for students to learn, discern, serve and make a difference in communities and our world.

The transformational education that Hope has provided for more than 150 years has been possible only because of generous support. Through those many decades, Hope has been a good steward of resources entrusted by parents, friends, corporations, organizations and alumni. Hope is worthy of your investment.

Are you ready to participate?

Visit dayofgiving.hope.edu to learn how your gift, no matter the size, makes an impact. #Give2Hope

Day of Giving 2019 – Join Our Team!

Get ready!
Hope College’s Day of Giving is 14 days away. We need your voice, your networks and your enthusiasm to help promote Hope College. Please join our team on Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 12 and become an online ambassador!

What’s an Ambassador?
An ambassador can be an alumni, parent, employee or friend that is willing to promote Day of Giving through their personal networks, especially social media using #Give2Hope. Ambassadors will receive a personal online link and be able to promote a specific category, program or department. The individual ambassador with the most gifts tied to their ambassador link will win a Hope College prize pack!

Words of the Week: Give to what you love!
This year, you can designate the area you would like to support. This option allows you to “pick your passion” and support the areas you feel most closely connected to. Help us spread the word: Give to what you love at Hope College!

Help us make the day a success. We will supply you with a toolkit full of easy to post pictures and graphics, sample posts and more. Did we mention the one-of-a-kind t-shirt? All you need to do is sign up and start promoting Hope College on your social media accounts.

Please consider helping our efforts this year and sign up to be an ambassador!

Frances Traisman ’89 Gets Ready for MLB Opening Day in Tokyo, Japan

Joe DiMaggio once said that Opening Day for Major League Baseball is “like a birthday party when you’re a kid.” For generations, the day has symbolized a fresh start and a sure sign of spring. This year, for one Hope College alumna, opening day will start early. Really early.

On March 20 at 2:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time, eight days and several hours before the rest of the league, Frances Schrock ’89 Traisman will be cheering on the Seattle Mariners as they play an international opener in the Tokyo Dome against the Oakland Athletics.

The Mariners have been connected to Japan since Nintendo purchased a majority of the team in 1992. They have had Japanese players on the roster every year since 1996. That is the same year that Frances Traisman was hired. Now as Senior Vice President of Sales, the former Hope College English major oversees business development and revenue generation through ticket sales, corporate partnerships, sponsorships, radio broadcast sales, customer engagement and analytics.

Frances Schrock ’89 Traisman

After graduation in 1989, Frances spent a year in China teaching English to college students in Hangzhou. A fellow teacher she met there encouraged her to move to Washington, D.C. She eventually landed a ticket sales job at the US Senior Open golf tournament at Congressional Country Club. She loved it. After the tournament, she and her husband, Cliff, packed up a moving truck and their yellow Labrador, Tuco, and headed for Washington (state this time). There, they started a family and their new careers.

Now in her 23rd year with the Seattle Mariners, Frances shares that she enjoys the benefits of her liberal arts education every day. “In our ever-changing world, having broad knowledge of a variety of subjects has made it easier to navigate the changes,” says Traisman who was part of Sigma Sigma and the Vienna Summer School during her Hope days. “Whether evaluating capital improvement projects, researching business development opportunities, or making sales presentations, I draw on a variety of skills and experiences gained at Hope.”

The connections she made while at Hope have also been instrumental in determining where she is today. Her travels to China were at the suggestion of a fellow Hope graduate, and she was introduced to her husband by one of her best friends from Hope. While she has been geographically separated from Hope for a long time, the Hope community continues to play a strong and supportive role in her life.

“Smart people with a curious nature and a broad familiarity of how the world is connected are key – and those are the type of graduates Hope produces.”

As she thinks about today’s students, she says “there are tremendous opportunities in sports and entertainment, especially in the world of data analytics. While it’s important to have someone to write code and structure data, it is as important, if not more so, to have people who can bring the data to life and use it to recommend improvements. Smart people with a curious nature and a broad familiarity of how the world is connected are key – and those are the type of graduates Hope produces.”

Frances’s advice to students interested in a career like hers is to do your research and talk to as many people as you can. Many opportunities exist in sports management, you just need to find the one that fits you.

Wake up early, brew some coffee and tune in to the opening games in Japan on March 20 & 21 on ESPN at 5:35 AM EDT.

Refer A Student

Referrals from alumni and families make a difference. Once a prospective student is referred, one in five of them apply. Over the past four years, nearly 300 students are at Hope because they first connected through a referral from someone like you.

WHY HOPE?

With more than 3,500 colleges and universities in the United States alone, what makes Hope such a unique option? Well, let’s start with three words: mind, body and spirit. These are the anchors of the Hope experience. Before you reach out to the prospective Hope students in your life, brush up on why there’s never been a better time to consider Hope College.

WHO SHOULD I REFER?

Students from around the world that are currently sophomores and juniors in high school and have demonstrated leadership, service and academic performance are great candidates for a referral. We seek students who will bring a wide range of perspectives and gifts to enrich our campus community. Though admission is selective, we’ll give each completed application careful consideration and review for factors that signal future academic and social success.

WHAT SHOULD I SAY?

Feel free to share your own Hope experiences in addition to these ideas:

For those that express interest, don’t forget to suggest they apply.

HOW DO I MAKE A REFERRAL

Making a referral is easy. You simply fill out this refer a student form. There are a few required fields including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Current school

Other items like contact information, date of birth, GPA and academic interests are not required, but are helpful if you have them.

The Hope College admissions team will follow up with individual attention to the student you recommended.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You’ll receive an email from Hope confirming your referral, and we will follow up with the student encouraging them to apply to Hope.

As a thank you for referring a student you will receive a coupon code for $10 off a purchase of $40 or more to the Hope College Bookstore.

Refer a student today!

The Alumni Postcard Project

Here in the Office of Alumni & Family Engagement, we spend a few minutes every Tuesday morning watching a TED Talk or two. We’ve learned how to overcome fears from a man who climbed a 3,000 foot cliff with no ropes, how to find joy in everyday life, and how hilarious replying to a spam email can be. These short videos have given us a lot to talk about and have also inspired us to get creative in our work. A talk about sending letters to strangers led to a discussion on other ways mail can be used to connect and inspire. Lots of crazy ideas and a few bunny trails later, someone suggested asking our 33,000+ alumni to send postcards to our students to show them where a Hope education can take them.

Our new Boerigter Center for Calling and Career asks students “Where will you go?” So we want to know . . . “Where did you go?”

Are you an accountant in Austin? A biologist in Boise? A choreographer in Cleveland? Regardless of where your Hope education has taken you, we want to share your journey with the Hope students who will follow you into the world. The Office of Alumni and Family Engagement and Boerigter Center for Calling and Career are teaming up to launch The Postcard Project. The mission of the project is to inspire current Hope students by showing real-life examples of the paths they could take upon graduation (or even before!)

We are asking our network of more than 33,000 alumni to grab a postcard from where they live or work (hotel gift shops, gas stations or convenience stores like Walgreen’s often carry inexpensive postcards). Then simply write your name, graduation year, major and answer to the question “Where did your Hope education take you?” on the back of the card. You can be straight forward by answering the question with your job title and company, or get creative with a short tale.

Mail your postcard to:

Hope College
Boerigter Center
141 East 12th Street
Holland, MI 49423

We will display the postcards in an installation in the Boerigter Center lobby space in DeWitt Center, allowing students to peruse the cards as they are added in a space that has been designed for them to contemplate their future plans.

You need not have won a big award, made a big discovery or rake in the big bucks to be a big help with this project. We are looking for submissions from every corner of the world and every type of profession. We want students to have a realistic representation of the options that await them – maybe they’ll even be inspired to explore professions they’ve never heard of before.

Want to get even more involved in helping students discern their calling? Sign up to be a DiscoverWork host! This program, operated by the Boerigter Center, provides students with short-term opportunities to meet with or shadow professionals in their field of interest.

Check hope.edu/alumni/events for upcoming events both regionally and near campus.

The Invitation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the school year of 1962-63, Roland Marshall ’63 and Pete Paulsen ’64, with the permission of the administration and the support of student government, invited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to campus. Pete contacted the Office of Alumni Engagement recently to share his story:

Hope College campus, 1965

Pete Paulsen ’64 recalls that the early 1960s were years of discussion, action, turmoil, and change. Although Hope College clearly never was a Berkeley, Paulsen admits, all over campus Hope students engaged in passionate discussions about what could and should happen to address the United States’ problem with racism, its movement toward war in Vietnam, and tensions with the Soviet Union.

He confesses that his memory might not be as good today as it was when he was a student. However, it appears that his friends are able to recall even less about the courageous step they took when inviting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the campus of Hope College. “Much of this history must of necessity then be conjecture,” Paulsen therefore concludes. One of his friends involved was Roland Marshall ’63, a former classmate of James Sanford. Together, the two students attended Dr. King’s speech at Ohio University during the International Student Conference of Race. Paulsen recalls his friends’ excitement about the dynamic and direct nature of Dr. King’s presentation upon their return to Hope, and the powerful impact this had on him.

Paulsen believes that this enthusiasm matched the energy Dr. King generated through his effort to address the issues with American racism. Although Paulsen is unsure about specific details, he recalls having planned an invitation of Dr. King to the campus of Hope College together with several friends. Many students placed an importance on hearing what Dr. King, a pivotal figure in the civil rights movement, had to say, and demonstrating their support of his work.

Baccalaureate 1965

Paulsen is confident that an invitation of Dr. King could not have been realized had it not been for student support and the permission of the college’s administration. Unfortunately, Dr. King was unable to visit the campus. Paulsen does not possess a copy of the initial invitation letter and of Dr. King’s response to this. He vaguely remembers having sent Dr. King another letter asking him to choose a date, and in the summer of 1963, Paulsen received a second letter from Dr. King. This indicated that the first letter had offered a specific date on which Dr. King was unavailable. Paulsen recently gave this letter to Hope’s archives. The letter reveals that due to commitments to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. King was unable to visit Hope College.

MLK Jr. Letter to Hope College student Peter Paulsen, August 1963

According to Paulsen, Hope College has been committed to traditions and historic practice while simultaneously pushing for knowledge and morally right behavior and values. “It was courageous of the college to extend this invitation and invite a challenging voice to speak on campus and to community,” he says. “We need to continue that balance.”

“It was courageous of the college to extend this invitation and invite a challenging voice to speak on campus and to community.”

Thank you, Paul, for sharing your story and this letter. As we look forward to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19, you are welcome to attend a lecture by Dr. Joy DeGruy on campus at 2:00 pm. For more information, please visit hope.edu/calendar.