A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity

Hope College is renaming its most important research event of the year to honor the extraordinary generosity of Paul ’67 and Carol Schaap, who have long been ardent supporters of Hope College and the sciences.

The newly re-named A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) will showcase more than 100 student research projects conducted in partnership with faculty mentors. The event will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, April 12 in DeVos Fieldhouse.

“I am very thankful for Paul and Carol Schaap’s generosity, commitment and engagement that has facilitated faculty-student collaborative research and creative activity across the college,” said Provost Gerald Griffin. “I am delighted to join in the honoring and celebrating of the Schaaps as we recognize the excellent work of our students, faculty and staff.”

As a chemistry major at Hope and Ph.D. chemist, professor and entrepreneur, Paul naturally became a champion of the natural and applied sciences at Hope. Along with Carol, known for her philanthropic heart, they have provided countless students educational and research opportunities that have inspired the future course of their lives.

The renaming is a fitting tribute to Paul and Carol because student-faculty collaborative research has long been a hallmark of Hope’s academic program, a distinction that has garnered national recognition. U.S. News and World Report ranks Hope College #27 in undergraduate research and creative projects ahead of Dartmouth College, University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, University of Pennsylvania and many other noteworthy schools.

The A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap CURCA celebrates the scholarly accomplishments of student-faculty research collaborations across all four Hope College academic divisions. For more than two decades, CURCA has been the culminating event every spring for students to showcase their research and creative activities to hundreds of fellow students, faculty members, families and the community. This showcase of talent has become a symbol of collaboration, excellence and the vibrant spirit of intellectual curiosity — all characteristics that have defined the Schaaps.

Collaborative research has had a far-reaching impact on students at Hope. Jolie LaBarge, a senior double majoring in exercise science and psychology, said her research experience at Hope has meant more than she ever imagined. She will present her findings on three different research projects at the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap CURCA.

“These opportunities have meant a lot to me over my time at Hope,” LaBarge said. “ They have helped me learn a variety of skills ranging from communication, to scheduling, to editing, etc. These opportunities brought me new friends and faculty members that I knew I could depend on.

“Having these experiences on my résumé also provided me with a variety of advantages when applying to graduate school programs,” LaBarge added. “Last but not least, it gave me confidence in myself to trust my abilities and grow as a person and as a student.”

LaBarge is one among a countless number of students impacted by the Schaaps’ generosity. Their matchless gifts to Hope College span decades and have transformed every area of campus including academics, co-curricular experiences, faith formation and scholarships. The A. Paul Schaap Science Center and the Carol C. Schaap Chapel stand as a testament to their desire to provide students with life-changing educational opportunities.

“They deeply deserve this honor,” said Griffin.

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