Scholarships: Life-Giving Hope

In Hope promotional materials (especially to donors and asking for donations), scholarships are associated with some type of life-giving, hope-promoting (pun there), and very crucial pieces of student life.

I didn’t understand just how important they were until I attended a Scholarship Luncheon two weeks ago. I have received many scholarships during my time at Hope, and without them I wouldn’t be able to attend. Let’s be real, not many families have $40K to throw into a single individual’s education each year. My family certainly doesn’t. This is where loans come in. But who wants to be paying back for years to come? Scholarships are LIFE-GIVING. and HOPE Promoting. On both ends.

This year, a new scholarship emerged called the Dr. Margaret DeWitt Van Wylen Scholarship, given to an upperclasswoman (Gender roles here, people) pursuing some type of pre-medical/advanced science curriculum. When I received the initial letter, of course, I was like….SCORE. MONEY. Who doesn’t like a letter telling them they get some money? And of course, I noticed my scholarship contained names that are common on campus….DeWitt…hm well there is a STUDENT CENTER called the DeWitt Center…..VanWylen…Well…our VanWylen library….

But for some reason, in my busyness I didn’t really take the time to look into my donor, and things didn’t really click.

I was invited to the Scholarship Luncheon (where donors get to check in with their award receipients to see how the semester is going), and eagerly googled my donors to see what they looked like so I could be prepared to meet them. I ran into some INTERESTING things.

Oh – did you know Dr. Margaret VanWylen was a psychiatrist that traveled throughout Michigan helping nursing home patients?

The library was named after them……

And…oh…minor detail….she is married to Gordon VanWylen – the ninth president of Hope College.

BOOM. I quickly realized I was in over my head and did not realize the prestige of my donors and their contributions to the Holland Area (they do a lot). I’m just a struggling college student!!! How am I supposed to impress them?!

So, I put on my big-girl pants and went to the luncheon. Man. They are the most awesome power-couple you could meet. I learned about their retirement years, which now include TONS of reading by Margaret and impressive work for the City of Holland by Gordon. They live downtown and even invited me over for dinner!! They were very intrigued by my research and I talked a lot with Dr. VanWylen (Margaret) about her experience in the medical field. WOW were things different! She never found out her MCAT score, they just accepted her to UM med school! HA!

Anyways, I had a blast and can’t wait to learn more about them and develop our relationship.

Here’s a little snapshot from the day. (Please ignore my awkward stance).

Me, Mark (another recipient) and the VanWylen's!
Me, Mark (another recipient) and the VanWylen’s!

More next time!! XOXO


Posted inAcademics

Published by Amanda Porter

Hi! I'm Amanda. I'm from Traverse City, Mi and I'm a Junior Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. I do research for the Fraley lab on the gut bacterial ecology of Pekin ducks and I work for the Chemistry department! Aspiring Neurosurgeon and LOVE to learn in all situations. Follow me on Twitter! @hopeamanda15

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