Hope 2017: A Watch List

New year. New semester. New classes. New start.

The bisected rhythm of an academic year is something special. It affords faculty, staff and students two yearly markers for two new beginnings that most other entities and professions do not. In academia, new starts come at the end of summer (and the official start of a new school year) and at the end of 365 previous days (and the official start of a new calendar year). And each gives new opportunities to look at what’s to come on our educational horizon.

It is once a year or in a lifetime events that brighten our mission statement with even more living color, those things that make a Hope education as fresh as a new year or semester.

At Hope, we’ve done our fair share of looking ahead. We’re not wishing our days away, mind you, but we cannot help but be excited about what 2017 has in store on campus. Of course, we’re always mindful of the everyday privilege “to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith.”  Yet, it is once-a-year, or in a lifetime, events that brighten our mission statement with even more living color, those things that make a Hope education as fresh as a new year or semester.

Here is a list of the top five Hope happenings to watch for in this New Year, from new buildings to new institutes to new classes.

  1. Student Space Expands

One has been a little over a year-and-a-half  in the making, the other about eight months. Each will give students new space for living and learning in 2017.

Construction on the $22.5 million Bultman Center nears completion.

The Bultman Student Center, a 42,000-square-foot facility devoted to student activities in the heart of campus, will reach its completion in the spring of 2017. It is hoped that students will get their first look inside their new communal home this April. Ground broke for its $22.5 million construction in the fall of 2015 and since then, this campus epicenter has been taking shape to the excitement of student life offices and groups longing to use it. Named for former presidential duo, Jim and Marti Bultman, the center will be dedicated in the fall of 2017.

The Cook Village will have two new apartment buildings which will house 16 students by fall 2017.

Cook Village, the student apartment complex that stands in the “U” along Lincoln Avenue and 11th and 12th Streets, is being expanded, adding two more townhouse-style buildings to the four that already exist. At about 3,800 square feet in each, the new brick apartments will house 16 more students. The $1.8 million addition to the village, named for its major donor, the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, will be completed by the fall of 2017 to welcome new inhabitants for the 2017-18 school year.

2. Toward a Better Understanding of Our Global Society

A series of lectures on wide-ranging international topics will be hosted at Hope in conjunction with the World Affair Council of West Michigan in the spring of 2017. Bringing renowned experts to campus, which include a retired brigadier general and former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan on Mondays, starting February 7 and ending April 3, the “Great Decision Global Discussion Series” will address hot topics such Latin American health care, clashes in the South China Sea, and the future of the European Union, to name a few. It is a perfect example of Hope’s prioritization to provide the campus community with opportunities for global understanding.

“By bringing foreign policy experts to campus, we live into our liberal arts mission to prepare our students to faithfully engage an increasingly complex and interconnected global society,” says Dr. Dede Johnston, professor of communication and Hope’s liaison with the World Affairs Council of West Michigan. Hope is an educational partner of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan, which informs and engages people of all ages on matters of national and international importance, and explores how national policy and global events affect the community in West Michigan.

3. New Institute to Prepare Students for Vocational Future

George ’61 and Sibilla Boerigter

The Boerigter Institute, a new, college-wide initiative, will help ensure that every Hope student is robustly prepared for career success and professional growth. The goal of the Boerigter Institute is to transform the college’s approach to career preparation with an innovative and comprehensive framework that guides students from their first semester onward by identifying their strengths and interests, and engaging them in career planning and experiential learning. It will more closely link multiple departments and programs at the college.

This significant effort is made possible by a major gift from SoundOff Signal in honor of Founder and Chairman George Boerigter, who is a 1961 Hope graduate, and his wife, Sibilla. A task force of Hope faculty and staff is currently working to develop this new, cross-functional integrated program, bearing the Boerigters’ name, which is scheduled to begin implementation by fall 2017.

4. Happy Anniversary, Reformation!

Reformer Martin Luther, 1483-1546

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther changed the course of Christian history for 95 reasons. It was on that day that the once anonymous monk and scholar delivered his “Ninety-Five Theses” to a Roman Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany, sparking the Protestant Reformation and altering the progression and understanding of Christianity as the world once knew it.

As a school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America since its inception in 1866, Hope has long appreciated the significance of this event. And as a school that also appreciates ecumenism, Hope will commemorate this momentous 500th anniversary by looking at the Reformation with more than one event, and throughout the year, from various faith-based, historical and social viewpoints via lectures, discussions and even a musical performance. A Presidential Colloquium commences this spring with keynote speakers to complement the Danforth Lecture that will all address the Reformation’s impact. Hope faculty will engage in panel discussions this fall, offering other perspectives on the topic. As for the musical element, a participatory hymn sing is being planned as well.  Additional information will be released throughout the year about each event.

5. Up to the Grand Challenge

Relevant, complex topics will get new, curricular looks this fall, all thanks to $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The Mellon Grand Challenges Initiative (MGCI) is providing Hope faculty and students with opportunities to come together in true liberal arts fashion to explore “grand challenges” by crossing and connecting disciplines for Hope’s general education program as well as for collaborative summer research. Over three years, MGCI will aspire to support the development of about six projects per semester, involving two or more faculty members and developing a potential total of about 50 new linked courses.

Currently, the MGCI committee has awarded about $130,000 in internal funding to six cross-divisional projects involving a total of 15 faculty members. Entitled Disability in Contemporary Societies, Healing in Post-Conflict Societies, Immigration Stories, National Identities, Peace Movements, Storytelling and Cross-Cultural Empathy, these new classes involve nine departments and all four divisions at Hope.

Three more rounds of funding are on the docket to fund additional courses as is the creation of a summer research program for 2018.

Hope Numbers in the News

Recently, a Holland Sentinel new story featured the phenomenal work and large sums of external funds secured by Hope faculty for undergraduate research.  And the numbers, and people, are impressive.

“Hope’s Research Footprint: $9.9 in Use for Faculty, Undergrad Studies” highlights Dr. Courtney Peckens and her research project on sound quality in the new Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts while also making note of these facts:

  • In the past decade, Hope College faculty have garnered 405 research grants totaling $32.77 million.
  • On average, Hope faculty research and scholarships draw in $2 million in external funding annually.
  • For the 2015-16 fiscal year that ends June 30, Hope’s faculty have secured $1.5 million out of the $5 million in external research grants that they’ve requested — and are on track to hit the $2 million mark again.
  • Grants come from between 30 and 50 sources that range in all sizes from $5,000 to half a million dollars.


In this story, Karen Nordell Pearson, associate dean of research and scholarship at Hope, summarily noted this about the strength of Hope’s research agendas:

“All of our 244 full-time faculty are involved in work as scholars, artists and teachers. Their scholarly work varies from what might be considered traditional ‘research’ such as laboratory discoveries to publishing books and articles on wide ranges of topics to creative works that artists, musicians and writers produce… Faculty are amazingly adept in figuring out how undergraduates can contribute even in those circumstances. I give them so much credit for figuring out how to integrate undergrads.”

Hope 2016: A Watch List

A new year is a perfect time for list-making. Many of us do it. A resolution list for self-improvement. A goals list for work. A bucket list for travel. Basically, these are all ways to look forward to 365 days worth of new opportunities and growth.

At Hope, we have many things to look forward to in 2016, the sesquicentennial year of our existence. While our resolution list will always be our mission—“to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith”—we have a highlight list, too. Some list items, like effectively teaching and researching and advising and mentoring, are quieter and less showy than other items that grab big headlines (even on this blog!). But when each item gets its conclusive checkmark, we know the resolve toward our mission has been enhanced.

New Year’s lists are ways to look forward to 365 days worth of new opportunities and growth. Our resolution list can be permanently found in our mission statement.

Here, then, are four things on our watch list worth checking out for our mission’s sake in 2016—the quiet, the loud and the resolute.

  1. CIS x 2

Since its inception in 1980, Hope’s Critical Issues Symposium (CIS)—an event to stimulate serious thinking about current issues and to provide a forum in which the students, faculty and the Holland community may all engage in discussion with experts—has traditionally been held annually during the fall semester. In 2016, though, CIS guest speakers will take to their lecterns during both the spring and fall semesters, a first in CIS history. Last fall’s CIS was moved to this spring semester due to a scheduling conflict with David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and best-selling author who spoke on campus in September, 2015, as part of the Presidential Colloquium. Now CIS gets an added spring spotlight as it focuses on “Engaging the Middle East:  Understanding Contemporary Changes” on Wednesday and Thursday, February 24 and 25.  In light of the recent Syrian refugee crisis, the Iran nuclear deal, and the rise of ISIS, this is a subject that could not be more timely.

In the fall CIS will look at economic inequality in America on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27 and 28. The income gap keeps growing in the U.S., minimum wage is a hot-button issue as are the survival of unions, and our largest socioeconomic class, the middle class, is struggling. This CIS will delve into all of those subjects and more by asking ‘Why?’ ‘What are the implications on our economy other sociocultural markers?’, and ‘How should Christians, poor and rich, respond?’

  1. Musical Showcase Comes Home
Musical Showcase, held at DeVos Hall in the past, will come home to Hope in 2016

The 28th Annual Musical Showcase—a fast-paced, musical spectacular during which audience members hear everything from opera to jazz —will take the stage at Hope for the first time since its creation in 1989. Traditionally performed at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids on one night, Musical Showcase comes home to debut the large, 800-seat concert hall on two nights in the newly opened Jack H. Miller Center for the Musical Arts. “We felt we should christen this new space with a performance by our students,” said Julia Randel, associate professor of music and chairperson of the music department. “Musical Showcase involves every student in our department. It is a celebration of all we do, so that makes it the perfect event to open this new concert hall… Every note will be crystal clear. The sound in there is just gorgeous.”

Musical Showcase will take the stage Friday and Saturday, February 5 and 6 at 7:30 pm. Tickets to the Hope community go on sale the week of January 18 while the general public sale start January 25.

  1. Bultman Center Gets Bolted Down
The Bultman Student Center begins its shape with footings and foundation.

Nykerk Hall was razed and the site cleared since last fall. Now, the center-of-campus earth is ready for the growth of the new Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center. With site surveying and prep complete, construction on this newest Hope building has begun in earnest as soil was recently moved for the elevator pits and the pouring of its foundation and footings. Exterior walls for the three-story, $22.5 million center named for Hope’s 11th president and his wife will start to rise this May. The center should be enclosed by late fall, 2016. Once the building is complete in late spring, 2017, the Bultman Center will provide much needed, dedicated space for student organizations, offices for Counseling and Psychological Services, group meeting rooms, a large multi-purpose room, a small chapel, a theatre, a fireplace room (especially attractive during Michigan winters), and the latest in food and coffee service.

  1. 150 Going on 151

The 2015-16 academic year continues to mark the sesquicentennial of Hope’s founding in 1866 when its charter was granted by the state of Michigan. That first commencement saw eight students graduate. This May, the 151st commencement will see the most graduates ever walk across the stage to receive their diploma folders from President John Knapp. The largest freshman cohort ever to arrive on campus four years ago will depart as the largest senior class, too. Approximately 650 seniors will graduate this May having completed their degree requirements in one of Hope’s 100 majors. Since it takes 126 credit hours to earn a Hope degree (and many Hope senior often earn more than that), this means the class of 2016 has successfully completed more than 81,900 credit hours or, at an average of 3.25 credit hours per course offered, have taken more than 25,000 classes in four (sometimes five) years.

From the breadth and depth of general education requirements to the specificity of major courses, from the first graduating class to the next and beyond, in new buildings and old, our 2016 watch list is really about what we do best: a Hope education delivered, learned, and applied. Check.

Kruizenga Art Museum: A Tool for Teaching

The Kruizenga Art Museum at night

If you’ve noticed a little electricity in the air on campus lately, it may be the excitement around the opening of Hope’s Kruizenga Art Museum. Our new museum enhances the role of the college’s permanent collection as a teaching tool. Designed by architect and Hope alumnus Matthew Vander Borgh ’84 of C Concept Design, the building provides space and resources to conduct scholarship using artwork from around the world.

The latest issue of News from Hope College included the article “Global Scope, Lasting Impact,” which describes the academic mission of the the Kruizenga Art Museum.

From the article:

Vase with Eight Daoist Immortals; Chinese, 19th century; porcelain, enamels; Gift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton

[Margaret Feldmann Kruizenga Curator of the Kruizenga Art Museum Charles] Mason is eager to see the museum connect with departments in every academic division — not only the arts, but also the humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences — to find ways that the objects, their history and their context can enrich the experience of students campus-wide. One themed exhibition, for example, might include a concert featuring music from the tradition represented. Another might compare and contrast Tibetan and European monastic traditions.

“Our goal for the first year is to show the breadth and overall quality of the collection, to give people a sense of the range of material that we have in the collection and how it could potentially be used to support a wide range of academic disciplines,” Mason said. “So it’s to some extent going to be a kind of ‘greatest hits’ of the Permanent Collection, but with an eye toward having pieces out that we can use to begin conversations with faculty and students from different academic departments across campus about ways that we could integrate the museum into teaching and learning.

Abuna Gebre Manfes Qeddus; Gabra Sellase Abadi Walda Maryam (Ethiopian, ?-early 1980s), c. 1971-72; paper (cardboard), pigment, ribbon, thread; Gift of Neal Sobania ’68

Though it was created with students and scholars in mind, the museum is open to all. Come visit! In the meantime, check out this recent media coverage about the Kruizenga Art Museum:

Museum director Charles Mason talks about the new Kruizenga Art Museum at Hope College (mLive.com, Aug. 31, 2015)

Art seldom seen opens at Hope College’s Kruizenga Art Museum (mLive.com, Sept. 11, 2015)

See how Hope College’s new, $5M art museum makes a statement (mLive.com, Sept. 7, 2015)

So you want to start a college art museum… (Hyperallergic.com, Sept. 10, 2015)

Project Gallery: Kruizenga Art Museum (Architect Magazine, Sept. 15, 2015 )

Let’s Talk About Hope

10-048 NCSDO Hope - 2010 College CampusStep foot on campus, and it’s not long before you realize that Hope College is the kind of place that changes lives.

Hope comes alive in our vibrant Christian atmosphere and our focus on the holistic development of each student. It inspires through our nationally accredited fine arts programs and our championship athletics. It challenges and emboldens with our distinctive academic rigor and our commitment to the highest levels of scholarship.

At Hope College, we believe in the depth of our academic curriculum. It’s challenging and highly collaborative, with deep roots in the liberal arts tradition enhanced by a rich heritage of graduate school-style research in every field of study.

We believe in our faculty, too. These active, engaged scholars are dedicated to teaching — and to encouraging the intellectual excitement essential to a lifetime of learning. Together with our caring staff, Hope professors are committed to the success of each and every student, helping them to think about life’s most important issues with clarity and wisdom.

In today’s world — a world where diverse human communities call out for innovation and interconnection — Hope matters. This blog, Hope Matters, will be a space for the college to share exciting stories of scholarship and research conducted by members of the Hope community. Whether in a laboratory, in the field or in the studio, the work of Hope College is transformational and inspirational. We’ll showcase it here.