According to, one of the definitions of the word ‘distinct’ reads: “different in nature or quality.” As such, this word reflects a type of being that stands out among other natures. For me, Hope College embodies this definition. At its very core, Hope is distinct

But what makes Hope’s nature distinct from that of others you may ask? For me, I see Hope’s foundational distinctiveness deriving from its heritage as a Christian, liberal arts institution, with its mission statement reading: “The mission of Hope College is 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.” This distinctive heritage as a Christian, liberal arts institution manifests across the College through the intentional integration of faith, the dedication of excellence and the beauty of community.

Photo credit: Nico Kazlauskas (’27)

At Hope College, the integration of the Christian faith serves as an invitation for students to grow closer to Christ and become formed in Him. The College offers multiple opportunities for this type of formation. For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday there is the opportunity to gather as a community in Chapel Services at Dimnent Chapel. Though not required to attend, classes are intentionally not scheduled during the time of 10:30 am – 10:50 am on these days in order to make this experience possible for the student body. There is also the Gathering service every Sunday on campus at Dimnent, and Campus Ministry will also host events for deeper faith formation, including several Bible studies. Additionally, the St. Benedict Institute on campus offers Catholic mass every day and the sacrament of adoration every Tuesday in St. Anne’s Chapel of Graves. The organization also brings speakers to campus, and runs programs including Exodus 90 and Genesis. The incorporation of understanding the Christian perspective and virtues is also evident within the classroom. Hope offers an invitation for students to enter into the faith more deeply if they so choose. 

Another distinctive factor about Hope is that it seeks excellence. By serving as a liberal arts institution, the College enables students to study a variety of academic disciplines, while also seeking to form students holistically. For example, its general education requirements cover a breadth of subject areas, which helps form multi-dimensional thinkers. Guided by accomplished professors and faculty, students can participate in unique experiences. For example, Hope is nationally ranked for its extensive research program. This provides students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with professors in the field, offered both during the academic year and during the summer. Excellence also extends within Hope’s athletic teams, which consistently rank among the top in the conference along with several championship runs and wins. 

Furthermore, the beauty of Hope College reverberates throughout the campus. For example, there is a close-knit community found within the College. With smaller class sizes, students become more than just a number in a massive lecture hall. Professors intentionally seek to know their students, and they encourage office hours. With a student population size around 3,300, peers recognize familiar faces around campus, extending friendly smiles and waves throughout the Pine Grove, Student Center, and classroom buildings. Even beyond graduation, the Hope community gives back as alumni support students and the College. The beauty of the community is witnessed even in the landscape of Holland and Lake Michigan. 

From the intentional integration of faith, to the dedication of excellence, and to the beauty of community, the characteristics of Hope College exudes its Christian, liberal arts nature. And in doing so, Hope College is distinct

Published by Madeline Kenney

Class of 2025 Hometown: Livonia, MI Majors: Biology and Business Minor: Classical Studies

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