Hope College Student-Athlete Spotlight: Dan Romano

Senior Dan Romano smiles in the end zone after scoring a Hope College touchdown.

Senior football player Dan Romano has run full speed during his time as a Hope College student-athlete. Whether on the field, in the classroom or at a service opportunity, he’s been determined to make the most of every minute.

The running back is one of 156 semifinalists for the National Football Foundation’s Campbell Trophy, which recognizes a college football student-athlete for his academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. Last fall, Romano was named a College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) Academic All-American in football.

Romano (Royal Oak, Michigan / Shrine Catholic HS) also makes time to serve as one of two Hope College representatives on the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council along with swimmer Macey Mayer.

Romano recently shared about how his life has been transformed at Hope College with Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt.

What are your major(s) and minors(s)? What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am a biomedical-mechanical engineering major with a minor in mathematics. I plan to take a long Europe trip with my girlfriend after graduation before going into the workforce in the late summer next year.

How has your sport helped shape you as a person and a student-athlete?

Sports have played a huge role in my life, teaching me valuable life lessons that I will never forget. Football has allowed me to become a better friend, team player, leader, and example for others. Not only has it forced me to have good time management skills in helping me with school but it has also given me so many opportunities to serve and help people in a variety of ways.

You also are one of Hope College’s two representatives for the MIAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) this school year. What are you aiming to bring to that role as well as learn from it? 

Dan Romano poses for a portrait.
Senior running back and engineering major Dan Romano.

The MIAA SAAC gets a voice in the rewriting of the division 3 NCAA constitution as well as give an opportunity for the MIAA schools to learn about different service activities, athletic involvement, and SAAC events that the other conference schools participate in. I am aiming to be a good voice and representative for Hope College Athletics. I am hoping to learn new and exciting ways of how athletes can be more involved throughout campus and take part in new service opportunities.

This year’s Hope Athletics theme is Strong and True. What does that mean to you as a student-athlete?

Being Strong and True reminds me of God telling Joshua to “be strong and steadfast”. Be humble, honest, and dedicated through any adversity that may come your way because God is on your side.

What extracurricular activity at Hope, outside of Hope Athletics, has been beneficial and memorable for you?

Although this is still technically within Hope Athletics, helping run the football Bible study has been super beneficial and memorable to me. I help run it with Zac Carlson and it’s a great opportunity for a group of guys to get together and talk about real topics in the world that matter and revolve around scripture. We have deep and meaningful conversations that help us become better Christian dudes throughout Hope and society as a whole.

Hope College Student-Athlete Spotlight: Macey Mayer

Macey Mayer swims the breaststroke.
Senior Macey Mayer swims during the 2022 MIAA Championships at Holland Aquatic Center.

Senior swimmer Macey Mayer relishes her opportunity to be a Hope College student-athlete and everything it brings her in the classroom, the pool and her extended community.

The butterflier from San Antonio, Texas loves to compete with the Flying Dutch, who are the two-time defending MIAA champions in swimming and diving. Hope opens the 2022-23 season on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 14-15, at the Ohio University Diving Invitational and on Saturday at a swimming dual meet at Grand Valley State University.

Women’s Schedule | Men’s Schedule

Mayer also is grateful for the chance to serve as a leader in Young Life at a local high school as well as one of Hope’s two representatives on the MIAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.

Mayer recently shared about how her life has been transformed at Hope College with Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt.

What are your major(s) and minors(s)? What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Mayer: I am a psychology major and an exercise science minor. After I graduate, I plan on attending graduate school to pursue a degree in occupational therapy to ultimately become an OT.

How has your sport helped shape you as a person and a student-athlete?

Macey Mayer poses for a portrait.
Senior Macey Mayer

Mayer: Being a part of the swim team at Hope the past three years has truly had such an impact in shaping me into the person and athlete I am today. As a student-athlete at Hope, I have further developed important life skills such as time management, leadership, responsibility, and teamwork, preparing me well in many aspects for the next chapter of my life post-grad. Most importantly, my sport and experiences have furthered and encouraged my faith in Jesus. I am BEYOND thankful for my coaches and teammates of the Hope Swim & Dive team, as well as the friendships I have developed with other Hope student-athletes.

This year’s Hope Athletics theme is Strong and True. What does that mean to you as a student-athlete?

Mayer: As a student athlete, Hope Athletics theme of “Strong and True” means to me staying strong and true to my faith, school, sport, and teammates. This theme is an encouragement and testament to the leadership and community of Hope Athletics.

What extracurricular activity at Hope, outside of Hope Athletics, has been beneficial and memorable for you?

Mayer: Attending Hope College Young Life my freshman year was an extracurricular activity outside of Hope Athletics that got me involved with Greater Holland Young Life. (That) ultimately guided me to become a Young Life leader for a local high school. As a Young Life leader, I serve as a mentor, role model, and friend to the students of this highschool’s Young Life group. Alongside the other leaders, I organize and lead various activities that include group games, leader lesson time, and small group discussion time at our weekly gatherings we call “club.” Through this experience, I’ve learned how to be more open in walking with those who’ve come from different backgrounds and are at different places within their walk of faith. This experience has challenged me to live my own life with integrity and humility.

You also are one of Hope College’s two representatives for the MIAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) this school year. What are you aiming to bring to that role as well as learn from it? 

Mayer: My role includes giving updates of what SAAC is doing on Hope’s campus, as well as bringing ideas & opportunities from the MIAA SAAC meetings to Hope’s SAAC group. I hope to bring more awareness about what MIAA SAAC actually is and does and increase awareness on Hope’s campus of the importance of this group. I hope to learn more ways to implement and encourage community service, and diversity and inclusion opportunities on Hope’s campus through our institution’s SAAC group.

Elly Douglass ’04 Jordan: Hope Athletics Podcast

Elly Douglass ‘04 Jordan was not born yet when Title IX came into law on June 23, 1972, but is grateful every day the legislation did.

A fulfilling journey from childhood to adulthood would not have been possible without the federal civil rights law which prohibits sex-based discrimination by any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country.

At Hope College, Jordan ran on the cross country and track and field teams before graduating with a degree in social sciences. 

Elly Jordan poses for a picture.
Elly Douglass ’04 Jordan

Now, Jordan is a supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and leads a team in providing trauma-informed legal services to refugee and immigrant kids who have experienced persecution and human trafficking.

Jordan talked about Title IX, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, as a guest on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.

“Title IX is such a simple piece of legislation really that embodies the principle that we shall not have discrimination on the basis of sex in education,” Jordan said. “Since I’m 40, it predates me. So many of the women that we stand on the backs of were the people that really pioneered for us. I was rarely the first woman to do a lot of things. I know there have been a lot of women that have gone before me.”

Read More from Hope College’s Title IX at 50 Series

Opportunities Created

Upon graduation from Hope College with a degree in social sciences, Jordan moved to El Salvador with her husband to work as a missionary with the SHARE Foundation. Upon realizing she was in a position of privilege and could use that to do more to serve, she attended law school, where she excelled. 

After graduating from law school, Jordan worked as a law clerk for the US Court of Appeals, then joined Warner Norcross and Judd, LLP. Jordan left Warner to work as the Supervising Attorney at the Michigan State University College of Law Immigration Clinic.

Jordan then served as the Lead Attorney for the Survivor Law Project at the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence before working at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center.

In April, Jordan was presented with the “Hope for Humanity” Award which is presented to Hope College alumni athletes who have demonstrated Christian commitment and service to others in their careers after Hope. 

“(Title IX) has impacted me quite a bit. I think it would be easy for me to take for granted a lot of the promise that Title IX has fulfilled thus far. Far be it for me to become lazy, to rest on my laurels and not continue to encourage that Title IX continues to fulfill its full promise.”

Orange and Blue Podcast Transcript

Title IX at 50: Nancy Kamstra, Swimming

Nancy Kamstra poses for a portrait
Nancy Kamstra, Hope College professor

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination by any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the anniversary, Hope College Athletics shares memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae.

In our 11th and final installment, we hear from Nancy Kamstra ’82, a faculty member of the Hope College Department of Kinesiology who as a student was a member of the college’s inaugural swimming and diving teams. Kamstra also ran on the Hope’s cross country team. After graduating from Hope, Kamstra taught in Zeeland Public Schools for 28 years before returning to Hope in 2010 to develop a health minor that involved creating new courses to meet state standards to certify students to teach health in grades 6–12. Kamstra holds a master’s degree in Education from Grand Valley State University and a bachelor’s degree in physical education and special education from Hope.

Check out our Title IX profile series

What are some of your favorite memories from being a student-athlete at Hope and being a founding member of the swimming and diving program?

The fall of my freshman year I came to Hope and the Dow Center was a brand new building with a brand new natatorium!  We also had this young swim coach from California. He was supposed to be really good and he was and still is today! I was kind of nervous, but super excited. We didn’t have many girls on our team, but we were so honored to be the first swim team at Hope! Since Coach (John) Patnott coached both teams, we had workouts with the guys team too. I do remember them being so hard! The relationships, the hard work, the memories and life lessons are all powerful takeaways from my time as a student-athlete at Hope.

How did you discover you wanted to have a career in education, particularly health education?

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in middle school. I knew this was God’s plan for my life. I loved the idea of physical education and health because this is an area that is so important! Being active and healthy is so important for all ages. I knew that I could help my students make better choices and that was powerful. Coming to Hope to teach students how to teach health and physical education has been such an amazing opportunity and journey. As a former longtime public school educator, to have the opportunity to teach the next generation of teachers and leaders is simply an honor.

What does Title IX mean to you today?

Title IX has provided so many opportunities for female student athletes!  It is so inspirational to see the growth of women’s sports at Hope College and the accomplishments of our female student-athletes.  When I look back at where our first women’s swimming and diving team started in the fall of 1978 until now, it is so exciting. Women in athletics deserve the same opportunities!

What is your hope for female student-athletes for the next 50 years?

My hope for female student-athletes at Hope in the next 50 years is that they will have the memories and experiences that I had as they move into life after competitive sport. I treasure the friends and relationships I made in the swimming pool and running cross country. The life lessons that athletics taught me have made me a better wife, mother, friend, teacher and person.  My coach taught me how to work hard and that anything is possible. For Hope student-athletes for the next 50 years, I hope that they continue to have the transformational experiences and success that Hope College Athletics is known for throughout the country. 

Arinn King and Jack Radzville: Hope Athletics Podcast

Arinn King and Jack Radzville displayed similar excellence on the field and in the classroom during their Hope College careers.

The 2022 Be Strong. Be True. Female and Male Athletes of the Year sat down together for an interview for the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. They talked about their athletics and academic experiences and offered advice for incoming freshmen student-athletes.

Arinn King and Jack Radzville pose for portraits.
From left, Arinn King and Jack Radzville

King, a standout second baseman in softball, and Radzville, a decorated attacker in men’s lacrosse, graduated last month and concluded their playing careers.

King, an exercise science major, is headed to physical therapy school. Radzville, an electrical engineering major, has accepted a job with Ford Motor Company.

In April, King and Radzville received their Be Strong. Be True. honors during the annual HOPEYs awards ceremony.

The Be Strong. Be True. Athlete of the Year distinction is presented to a junior or senior who demonstrates the true essence of being a student-athlete and embodies the NCAA Division III motto of Discover, Develop, Dedicate.  This student-athlete is in high academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.5), plays a significant role on the team, and is involved in the Hope and Holland community.

Saying Thank You

Both student-athletes expressed gratitude for their four years on campus and all the people who supported them along their journeys.

King earned all-region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association this spring. Hope posted a a 26-12 overall record.

“I would definitely say thank you to all of my coaches and my teammates. They pushed me on the field in the classroom, in my faith just and life in general with their friendships,” King said. “They pushed me to be my best in all aspects, taught me to be more confident in who I was. I’m definitely a better version of myself since walking into Hope because of them.”

Radzville received honorable-mention All-America honors from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. The attacker was voted as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s Most Valuable Offensive Player this season. Hope finished with 15-2 overall record and earned the MIAA’s regular-season title.

“I want to say thank you to all my friends, teammates, coaches and my family because they have had my back and encouraged me to do the best I can,” Radzville said. “They’re always proud of what I’ve done, but they always pushed me to do better. I want to shout out Andrew Conlon, Cole Scheffler and my coaches, Mike Schanhals, Chris Scheldt, for always pushing me to do better academically and athletically.”

Written transcript of the Orange and Blue Podcast interview

Title IX at 50: Grace VanDellen, Women’s Golf

Grace VanDellen, women’s golfer and mechanical engineering major

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the 10th installment of our Title IX celebration, we spotlight women’s golfer Grace VanDellen, a mechanical engineering major who is interning this summer at Gentex Corporation, a technology company based in Zeeland, Michigan, that develops and manufactures custom high-tech electronic products for the automotive, aerospace, and commercial fire protection industries. VanDellen was the MIAA’s Most Valuable Golfer last fall and a College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District® Women’s At-Large Team this spring.

What are you doing at and learning from your internship at Gentex? 

I am an intern in the Mechanical Engineering Design Department. I am learning different design software like Catia that is used in the design process. One thing Gentex does is design and manufacture interior rear view mirrors. I am testing properties of components of the mirror in order to simulate and predict performance. 

What did you do last summer during your research on campus?

Last summer, I worked under Dr. Katharine Polasek on a project to understand and create a device to treat phantom limb pain. I conducted tests on able bodied individuals to see how their brain responded to electric stimuli. I also worked to help improve the testing equipment. 

How has being a student-athlete prepared you for working in your field?

I think the biggest thing being a student athlete has taught me is time management. This is helpful when managing many different projects or assignments. It has taught me how to set priorities and execute tasks. It has also taught me how to communicate and work as a team. As an engineer, I will work with many people and on teams with other engineers. Being a captain on the golf team has taught me how to lead and be a good teammate! 

Title IX at 50: Saydee Johns, Women’s Tennis

Four Hope College women's tennis teammates high five on the court.
Saydee Johns, front left, high-fives Sydney Jackson on the tennis court.

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the ninth installment of our Title IX celebration, women’s tennis senior Saydee Johns talks the opportunity to pursue her academic interests, including a business major, as well as her athletic interests. Johns and her teammates will compete in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships this week after winning the MIAA Tournament for a league-record 10th consecutive season on Saturday with a 5-0 victory against Kalamazoo College at home on the VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts.

What’s next for you after concluding your tennis career at Hope College?

Saydee Johns: After graduation, I have a couple classes to finish up so I will be back next fall to take those. Also, I will be working for a company as an intern on the days I am not taking classes. Most important though, I will be cheering on the team from the sidelines. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being a student-athlete and being able to continue your tennis career in college?

Saydee Johns: What I have enjoyed the most about being a student athlete is the people I’ve met, specifically at Hope. The athletic community is full of driven and caring people, and each of them have pushed me to work harder on and off court to take home championships for Hope. Some of these athletes have become my best friends that I will be able to journey through life with after we walk across the stage in May. Truly blessed by these three years and wouldn’t take it back for anything. I encourage the underclassmen to fully live in the moment and enjoy the ride, it goes way too quick.

How has being a Hope student-athlete helped shape you as an adult?

Saydee Johns: Looking back at these past four years, tennis was something that was always changing. Whether it was because of injury, lineup changes or COVID, I have learned to adapt and adjust to the circumstances in front of me and work hard no matter what. Also it has taught me to show grace, and to give myself grace as well. 

Title IX at 50: Softball’s Avery Slancik

Avery Slancik throws a pitch to the plate.
Senior pitcher and neuroscience major Avery Slancik. By Michael Wilson

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the eighth installment of our Title IX celebration, softball senior Avery Slancik talks the opportunity to pursue her academic interests, including a neuroscience major, as well as her athletic interests.

Avery Slancik likes to mix her pitches on the softball diamond as well as what she studies in the classroom.

Thanks to the neuroscience program at Hope College, the senior pitcher has found a perfect major.

Slancik is majoring in neuroscience, the scientific study of the nervous system, the most complex organ system in the body. The 2021 All-MIAA First Team honoree also is minoring in both biology and psychology.

“I wanted to study neuroscience. It’s like a mix of everything, biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and psychology — everything into one, which I think makes it amazing,” Slancik said. “Everything stems from the brain.”

Hope’s neuroscience program is made up of a variety of associated departments that work well with the study of neuroscience, creating a melting pot for interested students.

After graduating, Slancik plans to enroll into Physician Assistant school.

This spring, the Scotts, Michigan, native pitches the first game in doubleheaders for the Flying Dutch this season. The right-hander and three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll has a career record of 16-6, including four victories this season. 

With Slancik’s help, Hope is off to an 11-5 start to the season, including a 2-0 mark in MIAA play. The Flying Dutch were MIAA co-champions last season.

Transformational Opportunity

Avery Slancik

Slancik is grateful for the ability to pursue her academic and athletic interests in college. 

Accommodations made by head coach Mary Vandehoef and Hope professors are greatly appreciated, Slancik said.

“If I was at any other school, I wouldn’t be able to study neuroscience,” Slancik saad. “Coach still expects me to play amazing and perform amazing in the classroom. The opportunity is pretty awesome. She will let us miss softball in order to go to the classes that we need.”

Meeting student-athletes’ needs in the classroom is a priority, VandeHoef said.

“Academics absolutely come first,” she said. “We had players registering for classes during the games on Tuesday. We have players who miss practice, sometimes whole days of practice, with their academics, needing to take a certain class or needing to take it at a particular time. With certain majors, there are things that are unavoidable. We make it work.”

Seeing student-athletes like Slancik being transformed makes all the effort rewarding, VandeHoef said.

“Avery does everything she does with everything she has,” VandeHoef said. “She excels in the classroom. She is a committed student who puts a lot of work into preparing for what’s next for her. On the field, she competes and gives this team everything she has every time she is in that circle. Our team rallies around that competitiveness.

“To see her balance both and do them at a really high level, that’s great to see.”

Title IX at 50: Volleyball’s Grace Pettinger

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year.

In the seventh installment of our Title IX celebration, Grace Pettinger ’21, talks on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast about her experiences as a volleyball student-athlete and the research she did as a history major. Before graduating, Pettinger published an article about the early days of women’s sports at Hope College for The Joint Archives of Holland.

Grace Pettinger returns a serve on the volleyball court.
Grace Pettinger ’21

A Hope College Women’s Athletic Association jacket from the 1950s was left on the doorsteps of the Holland Museum. The anonymous donation served up an fulfilling research opportunity for Grace Pettinger ’21.

The Hope College student-athlete studied an era before Title IX became law in 1992 and opened academic and athletics opportunities women like her enjoy today. She published an article titled “The Women’s Athletic Association: The Foundation of Women’s Sports at Hope College” in the Spring 2021 edition of The Joint Archives Quarterly.

The Joint Archives of Holland is a department of Van Wylen Library and promotes the educational mission of Hope College and its partner institutions by actively collecting, caring for, interpreting and making available the unique historical resources in its care.

Pettinger worked for The Joint Archives while pursuing her studies at Hope and playing volleyball for the nationally-ranked Flying Dutch.

‘I want them to be remembered too’

In the latest edition of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Pettinger discussed with sports information director Alan Babbitt about her experiences as a student-athlete, the opportunities Title IX gave her, and what she learned from her research into the Women’s Athletic Association at Hope.

Grace Pettinger poses for a portrait.
Grace Pettinger

“As a history major and someone who’s kind of obsessed with telling these stories, I always think about how I really want in the future someone to care enough to go through my jackets and my scrapbooks or someone to care enough to find my story,” Pettinger said. “I am so thankful for the people and women around me that empower me to do to work on women’s stories from the past.

“I want them to be remembered too and for them to be sought after in the future.”

Pettinger completed her studies at Hope in December. She plans to attend a graduate school to be determined to work on her M.A. in history and an M.S. in library sciences. She wants to become an archives librarian in a college or university setting.

Last fall, Pettinger helped Hope claim an outright MIAA championship in volleyball. She played in the back row as a defensive specialist. The Flying Dutch advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Division III Championships.

Written transcript of the interview

Clayton Dykhouse, Evan Thomas: Hope Athletics Podcast

Clayton Dykhouse and Evan Thomas quickly became friends when they became teammates on the Hope College men’s basketball team as freshmen.

Two Hope basketball players pose for headshots
From left, Hope College men’s basketball juniors Clayton Dykhouse and Evan Thomas

Three years later, they’re leading the Flying Dutchmen’s pursuit of an MIAA Tournament title and an NCAA Division III Tournament berth.

Hope hosts Calvin University on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the MIAA Tournament champion game at DeVos Fieldhouse. Dykhouse and Thomas — both All-MIAA First Team selections, with Thomas as league MVP — have teamed up into a powerful force on the court.

While a significant part of their lives, their journeys at Hope is not defined solely by basketball. Dykhouse is an elementary education major with aspirations of becoming a teacher. Thomas is a biology major with goals of attending medical school.

Earlier this month, both sat down with Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt in the latest episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. Since the conversation, the Flying Dutchmen won the MIAA’s regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed for the MIAA Tournament. During the February 25 semifinal win vs. Albion, Thomas became the 43rd Flying Dutchmen to score 1,000 career points.

Inspiring Conversations and Change

Now roommates as well as team co-captains with senior Tyler George, Dykhouse and Thomas talked about their friendship, what makes their basketball team special on and off the court, what they have learned about leadership, and their unique perspectives as Americans. Dykhouse is African-American; Thomas is biracial.

Both are involved in leadership within Hope’s Athletes Coming Together-Student Athlete Advisory Council (ACT-SAAC). They participate in ACT-SAAC’s Diversity and Inclusion committee.

“The group as a whole is just bringing leaders, athletes, from all different sports together to have a group that can talk to higher up faculty about what athletes need, what students need kind of in community,” Thomas said. “What Clay and I are doing in the diversity and inclusion kind of efforts are just to create a conversation within athletes about diversity, inclusion, how Hope can be more acceptable, more inclusive to all different kinds of people, no matter where they come from. It’s been a lot of fun so far, creating conversations. We’ve had great speakers come in and talk to us and just learning and are startings conversations to learn more about what diversity and inclusion really means.”

A recent interaction with two young fans at DeVos Fieldhouse reminded Dykhouse how vital diversity and inclusion is at Hope and society.

“I’ve spent my entire life with white parents in a predominantly white community. I think they did a great job of exposing me of me and my brother to just what it means to be black in America at a really young age,” Dykhouse said. “I know a couple of home games ago there was a family that I had gotten to know the dad a little bit, and he has two adopted sons. After the game, they were talking to me. They were talking about Evan, me, and T.J. (McKenzie), and how cool it was to see someone in a position at Hope that looks like them. They’re fourth and second grade boys recognizing that.”

Written transcript of the interview