Launching Hope Forward

A college education is priceless, but way too expensive.

Given our Christian mission and our name – HOPE! – we aim to lead the charge toward a new college funding model.

Today Hope College is launching one of the boldest endeavors in higher education. Ever.

Our goal is to provide a transformative Hope education for all students who come through our doors, with tuition fully funded by the generous gifts of others. This, in turn, will free up our graduates to pursue impact, working to make the world a better place rather than working to pay off student loan bills. These alumni will then commit to “pay it forward,” investing in the generations of students who follow them. This is aligned with the core of the Christian gospel — you are covered; now go and live differently.

This is Hope Forward! It’s a college funding model based on the biblical principles of generosity and gratitude. It could change everything.

Hear more about how it works:

To do this in a financially sustainable way, we need to raise a significant amount of money in the endowment. So far, we have raised more than $30 million toward this vision. In addition, this fall our first pilot group of Hope Forward students will join our campus. These 22 students have big hearts, open minds and a God-given passion to bring hope to the world.

We need your help to accelerate this momentum.

Spread the word! Share this message with your friends, family and colleagues on your social media accounts!

Learn more about how you can participate in this bold initiative at

Campus Resources for these heavy times

Campus Community,

As we enter the last few weeks of this Spring 2021 semester, we acknowledge that the past year has been mixed with much pain, division, and hurt.  As many of us were planning on the details of summer research and Fall 2020 details, we were also grieving the brutal murder and killings of many.  Of these, the murder of George Floyd gripped and shook the world–causing many to pause, lament, and wrestle with systems and practices that have subjugated too many based on the physical form God put his divine breathe in.  

While we may not know the precise end of the current Chauvin trial, we do want to remind our campus community of our Mission, Christian Aspirations, and Virtues of Discourse.  We are living in very challenging times–grieving a pre-pandemic life and dealing with the ramifications of racist sins.  

We know there are many different challenges that distinct individuals and groups have weathered during this season–often in disparate manners.  This note both acknowledges the building emotional load we are all trying to carry and shares some resources we continue to provide students, faculty, and staff in light of these challenges.

CDI Resources
CDI will host several virtual townhall meetings targeting students, faculty and staff respectively. CDI staff will be available to assist individual students, as identified, with other supporting departments as appropriate.

CAPS Resources
CAPS has same-day scheduling for appointments – just call the CAPS office at (616-395-7945) to arrange an appointment. There is also an after-hours crisis on-call service available for times when the CAPS office is closed. This service can be reached by calling the CAPS number and following the recorded prompts.

Faculty & Staff Resources
Our Employee Assistance Program has a 24/7/365 hotline available.  Just call 1-800-448-8326 to immediately connect with someone for support.   Here is a newsletter (1Hope login required) focused on identifying resources and methods to help heal in the midst of national and global tragedies.

Spiritual Resources
I. Personal Support: Hope’s Chaplains are available for prayer, conversation, and support for any and all students struggling in this season. Feel free to reach out to Trygve Johnson (, Jennifer Ryden (, Jill Nelson (, Paul Boersma (, Bruce Benedict (, Nancy Smith (, and Matt Margaron (

II. Pray the Psalms. Scriptures to pray in times of Lament: The psalms is the prayer book of the Bible, and within the 150 prayers, there are 42 psalms of lament, and thirty of which are individuals psalms of lament, and the rest are communal. In times of deep grief, uncertainty, anger, frustration, these psalms have been a guide for the people of God. It is also a reminder that God can handle our anger and cries of lament for justice. If you are looking for help to know how to pray I encourage you to use these Psalms as a guide for to pray – both individually and with your friends or community corporately.

These Psalms are often helpful for communal prayers of lament: Psalm 12, Psalm 44, Psalm 58, Psalm 60, Psalm 74, Psalm 79, Psalm 80, Psalm 83, Psalm 85, Psalm 86, Psalm 90, Psalm 94, Psalm 123, Psalm 126, Psalm 129.

For individual Laments these are recommended Psalms to guide you in prayer: Psalm 3, Psalm 4, Psalm 5, Psalm7, Psalm 9-10, Psalm 13, Psalm 14, Psalm 17, Psalm 22, Psalm 25, Psalm 26, Psalm 27, Psalm 28, Psalm, 31, Psalm 36, Psalm 39.

III. Create. In times of pain, anger, and personal and communal trial it is often helpful to write your own prayer of lament to God. Following the form of the psalmists, here is a guide for you to use for your own prayer of laments.

  1. Invocation – The initial cry to God to take notice
  2. Complaint – the description of the psalmist suffering against God or some enemy/ies.
  3. Request – the psalmist petitions God to act on the Psalmists behalf.
  4. Expression of Confidence – often a recital of God’s trustworthy characteristics or acts in history.
  5. Vow of Praise – assurance of praise that will follow deliverance.

IV. The Harvey Prayer Chapel is available for you to go and pray individually, or with a Chaplain, or with friends. In the Harvey Prayer Chapel there are resources available, such as journals, Bibles, the Book of Common Prayer and guides for prayers of lament, as well as a prayer wall where you can place your handwritten prayers.

V. Chapel and Worship. Chapels on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays are open for all students. One of the ways we respond as a community in times of trial is we go to God to worship. To focus on God, his character that inspires faith, hope, and love, and our communal virtues of Hope is a resource for you.

Together, we come as servants of the Lord.  We come with a spirit to listen and allow space for the multitudes of ways of grieving and lamenting.  We are dedicated to not retraumatize.  While we are in unknown seas, our hope is in our anchor–the Lord God Almighty.

On behalf of the following offices:
Office of the President
Provost’s Office
Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Campus Ministry
Counseling And Psychological Services
Public Affairs & Marketing

Easter Message

Dear Hope Community,

A colleague recently focused me on the side of the Easter story I am usually too quick to skip over: Jesus’ suffering. The injustice He faced. His death. 

Emotionally, it’s easy to jump to resurrection Sunday and the joy of Easter morning. But the suffering Jesus endured is a vital part of the story.

Perhaps the suffering side of Easter should take on new meaning for all of us this year. The suffering our world has endured over the last twelve months has been undeniable. And Easter tells a story of the God we serve who suffers with us.

On Good Friday, we see a God who suffers first-hand from the grief of losing a loved one – His only son. Many of us have lost loved ones during the last twelve months. Hope College has lost two of our own colleagues: Dianna Machiela in Human Resources and Dr. Jenny Hampton in the Physics Department. Easter depicts a God who knows the pain of loss and endured it Himself. 

The Easter Story also shows a God who is the victim of injustice and oppression. The Old Testament says that God identifies with the poor and oppressed (Proverbs 14:31). The New Testament — especially on Good Friday — goes a step further: God becomes poor and oppressed.

Jesus, the King of Heaven, was born to a poor family in a dirty stall. He was ridiculed, beaten, endured a trial that was a miscarriage of justice, put to death, and buried in a borrowed grave.

Our nation is wrestling with legacies and stories of oppression and marginalization. As the body of Christ, we stand together and lament together.  What’s more, Easter reminds us that no other religion in the world worships a God who Himself was the victim of oppression and marginalization.

So this year, as we celebrate the joy of resurrection Sunday, let’s not forget the suffering of Good Friday. And let’s remember that we serve a God who suffers with us.

Spera in Deo.

Looking Ahead to the Fall

President Scogin
President Matthew A. Scogin

One year ago today, March 12, 2020, we cancelled classes to give faculty a chance to prepare for remote learning and provide students an extra day to pack their things. Little did we know that we were embarking on a journey requiring extraordinary patience, perseverance and resilience.

Today, with one year behind us, we look ahead. We are preparing now for the 2021-22 academic year, and our plan is to return to a normal campus environment.

We know from experience circumstances can change, but assuming vaccinations progress as expected and state guidelines allow, we will resume regular campus operations and policies by August 1. This will include the removal of restrictions on campus gatherings, residential life and dining as well as requirements such as mask-wearing. In the months leading up to August, staff and faculty will return to standard on-campus work and operations, so that when the academic year begins, our community will be fully together.

Over the course of the last year, we’ve been at our best when we have shown bold leadership. Hope was one of the first small institutions to go remote last March, and last summer, we made an early commitment to resume in-person learning in the fall — even reimagining the academic schedule to make it happen.

As we look to the next academic year, let’s embrace this recalibration for the fall as another bold step forward. Resuming normal operations isn’t about “going back to the old way of doing things.” It’s about moving ahead, building upon all the innovation, creativity and expertise we generated during the pandemic.

Let’s also use this light at the end of the tunnel as a chance to renew our commitments today. We are surely closer to the end of the pandemic than the beginning. Yet currently, the virus remains a real threat to our community.

Therefore, while we will do our best to incrementally provide a more normal experience this semester, most current restrictions will remain in place through the end of this term, as well as May/June terms. Our mitigation strategy of masking up, distancing, wastewater surveillance testing, and quarantine/isolation is working to maintain a strong and healthy learning environment. Thank you for your efforts!

We are stronger than we were a year ago. And we look to the future with HOPE — a confident and joyful expectation that something good is going to happen!

Philanthropy: Love of Humanity

Today is Hope’s annual Day of Giving.  

The word “philanthropy” is a high-sounding word typically associated with wealthy people giving money to “good causes.” That only scratches the surface.

In its purest form, “philanthropy” means love of humanity. “Philos” means love (think: Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love); “Anthropos” (think: anthropology) means mankind or humanity. A philanthropist is one who acts out of love for mankind.

That – philanthropos – is at the center of what we do at Hope College. We raise money for scholarships out of love for students, current & future, making the opportunity for a college education more affordable and accessible for students & their families.

But we also do more than that. We don’t just offer a high-quality Christian education. We spread hope.

So did the first “philanthropist.” The word philanthropos was first used in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, a Greek myth written 2,500 years ago. In the story, a primitive humanity, living brutish lives in dark caves, aroused the anger of the god Zeus. To prevent Zeus from destroying mankind, the titan Prometheus, out of his philanthropos tropos (“humanity-loving character”), gave humanity two redeeming gifts.

The first gift was fire: enabling not just the ability to cook food and keep warm, but craftmanship, technology, and ultimately, knowledge and civilization. 

The second gift was hope

These gifts go hand-in-hand: with fire – their new abilities – hope is justified. With hope, they can use their abilities to improve the human condition.

Prometheus is a 1934 gilded, cast bronze sculpture by Paul Manship, located above the lower plaza at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York City.

That’s what philanthropists do: give the hope and tools necessary to better the human condition.

That’s Hope College: out of a Christ-like love of mankind, we offer the tools and hope necessary to transform lives.

Through Day of Giving this year, we’re asking you to join us in our philanthropic endeavor. More important than ever due to the economic challenges of the pandemic, scholarship dollars make this transformative Christian education even more accessible and affordable for our students.

To be a philanthropist, you don’t have to be wealthy or influential. All you need is a love for humanity – for these students at Hope – and a heart to give the gift of hope.

Partner with us:

People of Hope

Dear Hope Community,

I’m sure many of you found it hard to concentrate today. I certainly did.

This morning, after watching events unfold in our nation’s capital yesterday, I did my best to take solace in Psalm 30:5: “His joy comes in the morning.”

Yet today, as we stand in the shadow of yesterday’s attack, it is natural to feel more discouraged, threatened or angry than joyful.

Last night I felt personally worried. I spent part of my career working in Washington, D.C. and have been to countless meetings inside the Capitol Building. I know people who work there, and Hope College has many alumni who work in and around the Capitol complex.

As I reflected on what happened yesterday, I found myself asking (probably along with many other Americans) whether we are witnessing the erosion of our democracy. This comes after a year of fighting the sin of racism, the intentional marginalization and unequal treatment of people who bear God’s image, and the scourge of white supremacy — all of which we saw manifested yesterday.

It is rumored that after the Constitutional Convention concluded, a passerby saw Benjamin Franklin and asked, “What do we have, a monarchy or a republic?” His supposed response, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Today our republic feels particularly fragile.

The question is, what can we do? At Hope we say we exist, in part, to “pursue truth so as to renew the mind, enrich the disciplines and transform the culture.” What does that look like now?

It, of course, means that we should condemn violence, racism and white supremacy. We’ve done so before and repeat it again now. But condemning things that are obviously wrong and antithetical to the values of Christianity isn’t a bold action.

So what can we do?

First, we should pray. This might feel like inaction to some, but could there ever be anything more powerful than seeking intervention from the one whose very name makes evil tremble?  

Second, we should actively engage in discourse with love and listening. Following Jesus comes down to two things: a radical devotion to God and radical love for each other. If we enter into all aspects of our lives — not just political discourse — looking for ways to love each other, that will change the nature of our division. We need devotion, not division. 

Third, as we prepare to come back together in a couple weeks, let’s look for ways to actively live into our aspired campus culture characterized by grace, understanding and belonging. Here’s what these mean in short:

Grace: We extend our best to each other and we believe the best of one another. We strive to foster a culture of trust and accountability. Our culture is free from threat, intimidation, gossip and retaliation. People always have someone they can turn to for help.
Understanding: Even when we don’t agree, we work to understand each other better and move forward. We disagree well.
Belonging: Everyone here feels it’s their Hope. We share in this together. Let’s each ask ourselves what we can do to foster a culture of belonging.

We talked about this before the election, and put in place some measures that we will continue in the spring.  

If we actually did all these things, we could be different than the culture around us.

We have a new year ahead of us — an opportunity to come together in a broken world, to heal wounds, to seek the face of God in others. We often talk about being agents of Hope in the world. Today, there is more urgency to our need for HOPE. Please continue to pray with me, and be a light in the darkness.

It may feel difficult to feel God’s “joy in the morning.” And yet, we are a People of Hope.

Spera in Deo,
Matthew A. Scogin

Freezing tuition, room and board rates for 2021-22

Dear Hope Community,

As we wrap up this semester and begin to look ahead, I’m excited to announce that the Hope College Board of Trustees has approved a freeze to the tuition, room and board rates for the 2021-22 academic year. For the first time since 1968, the cost of a Hope education will not increase in the coming year.

A difficult year. In part, this freeze is our response to a difficult year that Hope students and families have endured. Given the challenges of 2020, we are proud of all that our students have accomplished. No other cohort in recent memory has been as resilient, focused and dedicated in the face of adversity. We know that, for many students and families, financial hardship was a particular source of adversity. It is our hope that, by keeping tuition, room and board flat, we can help mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19 on Hope’s students and families.  

A counter-cultural position. The decision to keep costs flat, however, is more than simply a response to challenging times. Against the spiraling cost of higher education, it is a deliberate move to be counter-cultural.

For decades, colleges and universities in the United States have increased the sticker price of tuition at roughly double the rate of inflation. Increasing tuition year over year is now assumed — as if it’s the law of gravity. It’s no longer “if,” but “by how much?” Hope has not been immune to this cultural assumption; until now, we’ve followed the trend, raising our tuition every year for more than 50 consecutive years. 

Looking ahead, tuition increases for an excellent residential college education are unlikely to slow — and may even get worse in the coming years. 

Here’s what’s happening on a national level: The cost of running a college has never been more expensive than it is right now (due to COVID-19), and at the same time, revenue is decreasing because of declining enrollment. The combination of higher expenses and less revenue means more pressure on scholarship dollars. With less scholarship money available, the real cost of college will go up yet again — this year and likely for several years to come.

That is the phenomenon occurring nationally. At Hope, we, too, have been strained financially this year. Nevertheless we are well-positioned to do something different. Our enrollment is strong, our financial balance sheet is healthy, and we’ve been smart about how we spend money. Sure, given the headwinds and future uncertainty, it would be easiest to follow what’s always been done. But we are committed to a longer-term ambition of making Hope more affordable and accessible. 

Despite current challenges, we remain relentlessly — and counter-culturally — focused on that goal.

A new thing. In my inauguration speech, less than 18 months ago, I said something that was and continues to be on my heart: “God is one who never changes . . . and yet also a God who does new things. I feel God moving here now . . . doing a new thing at Hope College.” I’ve never lost the feeling that God is doing a new thing at Hope College. In fact, I feel it even more strongly today than last year.   

The decision to keep tuition, room and board costs flat marks a pivot toward doing a “new thing” relative to the business model of higher education. We believe Hope can be a leader with regard to one of the biggest societal issues of our day: the cost of a college degree. 

Hope has already set itself apart this year, and we can continue to do so by tackling tough questions facing higher education. This is the first step toward the goal of a different approach to funding higher education and, ultimately, improving how we provide a transformational Christian education that equips students to bring HOPE to the world. 

Spera in Deo!

Matthew A. Scogin
Hope College

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19

Dr. Gordon Van Wylen (1920-2020)

To the Hope College Community,

It’s with sadness that I write to inform you that our former president, colleague and friend, Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, passed away early this morning at age 100. 

Dr. Van Wylen was a remarkable human being — a vibrant and passionate leader who devoted his life to God, the pursuit of knowledge, and public service. He had a profound, positive impact on countless lives.

He served as Hope’s president from 1972 until 1987, and his extraordinary leadership and vision has left an enduring mark on this college. 

As president, Dr. Van Wylen penned the mission statement that still guides us. He was also a champion of the physical development of our campus — notably architecting the closure of 12th Street that made the Pine Grove what it is today. In short, he helped us center our purpose AND created the center of our campus. That’s a remarkable legacy, and we will miss him greatly.

Please join me in passing along heartfelt condolences and prayers to his son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Pat Van Wylen, and the rest of their family. Dave will shortly end his time as Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences and move into the Office of Possibilities and Applied Innovation; Pat is Hope’s Global Travel Program Coordinator.

On a personal note, I am grateful for the opportunities I had to visit with him and pray together over the last couple years. Soon after I was named president, Dave took me to see him at Freedom Village, and President Van Wylen gave me this advice — “being a Christ follower means being a servant leader.” That’s exactly what made Gordon Van Wylen a great man and a perfect role model for me.

Dr. Gordon Van Wylen had a human spirit that radiated the Christian gospel. He fought the good fight and finished the race well; he was indeed a good and faithful servant. Today he joins Margaret, his wife of 66 years, in heaven.

To honor and celebrate his legacy, we will have a moment of silence on campus with a ringing of the chapel bells today, November 5, at 5 p.m.

You can read more about his life and legacy here.

Spera in Deo,

Matthew A. Scogin
Hope College

Resilient Hope on Election Eve

Dear Students of Hope,

This year, 2020, has been a year of turmoil unlike any other in your lifetime.  And much of the drama is coming to a head right now. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the most vicious, mean-spirited political season in modern history has reached its pinnacle. We are on the eve of the 2020 election – and we are worn out. We are tired of all the vitriol, name-calling, stereotyping and polarization. 

Hope College is not a political organization. We have never endorsed political candidates, and we aren’t about to start doing so now. You all are more than capable of making your own political choices. 

Where we do take a clear stance, however, is regarding our allegiance. At Hope, our allegiance is to God above politics. 

For too many people, political tribes have become family, even religion. We remember that ultimately God’s family – God’s kingdom – is the only one that lasts forever. Therefore, our allegiance is to God above country, party and political opinion.

That means our identity is not defined by the outcome of tomorrow’s election. No matter who wins, we have reason to take heart, because God is on the throne.

When all is said and done, I pray that we will look back and say that 2 Cor 1:12 characterized the Hope community. “We have conducted ourselves in the world . . . with integrity and sincerity from God. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.”

Conducting ourselves according to God’s grace has never been more needed.

As a result of a large number of people voting by mail, it is likely that the final outcome of this election will not be clear right away. It is important to be prepared for uncertainty – and the potential for anxiety – that may follow. During this time, let’s conduct ourselves according to God’s grace.

After the 2000 election, which occurred while I was a student at Hope, the outcome was unclear for several weeks. I remember the unease that gripped our nation (and Hope’s campus) during that time. But I also remember that it was a fascinating time to be a student. That can be true now also. While not ignoring the stress of the day, we can step out of the current moment and be curious observers of this historic period. Take advantage of the resources at your fingertips. Schedule office hours with your professors, and enjoy discussions with your classmates. Some scholars will spend their entire lives studying this time in human history, and you get the chance to live through it as a student.

The potential for prolonged uncertainty combined with heated rhetoric, polarization and already high levels of anxiety from the COVID pandemic, has caused many to predict civil unrest or violence throughout our country after the election.  This could manifest itself in large or small ways.

It goes without saying that violence (or intimidation of any kind) is completely inconsistent with the type of Christ-centered discourse based on love and listening that we have been talking about all semester. Yet even as we avoid conflict on our campus, please be mindful that some of your peers may feel afraid for their safety because of the current climate. Therefore, as people who “love thy neighbor,” let’s continue to find ways to let uncommon love characterize our campus.

The story of our semester, it seems, is coming to a climax this week – with COVID cases rising, election day drama peaking and the stress of final exams looming. As we go through the next several days, it is worth stepping back and remembering how far we’ve come this year. You all have proven to be the most resilient group of students to study at Hope in several generations. 

You are resilient. You have endured. You have bounced back from unprecedented disruption. As we near the finish line of this extraordinary semester, remember where endurance comes from. Endurance comes from HOPE (1 Thess 1:3).

You have inspired me in profound ways this year. Let’s continue to show the world what it means to be a people of hope.

Spera in Deo!

Matthew A. Scogin
Hope College

This message was originally sent via email to the students, faculty, and staff of Hope College.

Election Season: A Time for Belonging, Understanding and Grace — and HOPE

We are just over two weeks away from Election Day. Throughout this campaign season, our nation has been experiencing increasing levels of vitriol, disrespect and hostility — and those experiences are having a corrosive effect on our communities. At a time when others are sowing seeds of discord, we aspire to live fully into our name, HOPE.

In the spirit of HOPE, our divisional teams will be working together to provide resources and opportunities that engage the body, mind, spirit and community in the days before and after the election. United by our faith and driven by our mission, we aim to offer encouragement and support to students and employees alike.

At the heart of our work is a commitment to belonging, understanding and grace — the three-part framework that Hope’s Culture Task Force established last year.

Belonging: Everyone here feels it’s their Hope. Together we celebrate diversity and together we share in defining Hope.
Understanding: Even when we don’t agree, we work to understand each other better and move forward. We disagree well. We can respectfully discuss emotional and consequential issues.
Grace: We extend our best to each other and we believe the best of one another. We strive to foster a culture of trust and accountability. Our culture is free from threat, intimidation, gossip and retaliation. People always have someone they can turn to for help.

As important as it is to define belonging, understanding and grace, it is equally important to be clear about what is not acceptable in the Hope community. In the weeks before and after the election — and indeed at all times — it is unacceptable to:

  • Display symbols of hate
  • Speak racial slurs
  • Participate in acts of vandalism
  • Participate in acts of intimidation or violence

As we head into this final stretch before the election, please watch for updates regarding events, activities and resources on campus. Through these opportunities, we will endeavor to listen to one another, ask questions, and consider each others’ perspectives.  

We all are connected, and we all have a role to play in keeping Hope’s campus a place of belonging, understanding and grace. Thank you for everything you are doing to keep HOPE!

Spera in Deo —
Dr. Richard Frost, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students
Dr. Gerald Griffin, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Rev. Dr. Trygve Johnson, Dean of the Chapel
Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown, Chief Officer for Culture and Inclusion