Campus Scene

Graduation Will be May 6

The college’s 153rd Commencement, celebrating the graduating Class of 2018, will be held on Sunday, May 6, at 3 p.m. at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium. Baccalaureate will be held earlier in the day, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Temple Smith, assistant professor of sociology. The Baccalaureate speaker will be Dr. Gerald Griffin, assistant professor of biology and psychology.

In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse. Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.

Dr. Temple Smith
Dr. Temple Smith
Dr. Gerald Griffin
Dr. Gerald Griffin


Hope is in the top 25 among small colleges and universities producing Peace Corps Volunteers in 2017, as reported via the agency’s 2018 list of top volunteer-producing schools.

Hope is ranked 22nd nationally, with 10 alumni serving as Peace Corps Volunteers. Hope is the only school from Michigan in the category, and is one of only three Michigan institutions of any size recognized for the number of alumni volunteers in 2017.

Breaking News: Hockey Wins!

The college’s club hockey team has won its first American Collegiete Hockey Association Division 3 National Championship! Look for a feature on the team in our summer issue.


Allie Schultz looks at graffiti in India

“What this has taught me is that I need to be willing to embrace my discomfort. Sure, I may cringe at the idea of a loose schedule now, but I am excited to see what it teaches me about myself.” — senior Allie Schultz

Hope students studying around the world share their experiences through on-going columns featured on the college’s Off-Campus Study blog. Writing from Hyderabad, India, senior Allie Schultz has been reflecting on the lessons that she is learning beyond her chosen field of communication — such as adjusting to an environment much less concerned with deadlines than her own. She writes, “[I]t is not enough to ‘just be yourself’ when abroad; you have to be willing to grow.”

The Off-Campus Study blog is among more than 40 on the college’s vibrant blog network, which shares accounts written by students, faculty and staff highlighting scholarship, off-campus study, individual academic and co-curricular programs, alumni activities and achievements — and more.


Theatre Festival

The Department of Theatre and students received multiple honors during the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival on Jan. 9-14 at the University of Indianapolis.

The annual festival is a gathering of more than 1,200 college theatre students and faculty who join together to showcase the best work of the four-state region of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Senior Akia Nyrie Smith (pictured) received the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition award for her audition with her scene partner, senior Sam Hill; sophomore Emmie Sandstedt received the Stage Management Fellowship; and junior Rachel Dion received for the KCACTF/Lort Leadership Award for artistic administrators. In addition, the department was selected to bring The Line Between, which it had staged at Hope in April 2017, as a participating production to the festival.


Hope has named critically acclaimed director Lenny Banovez, whose experience includes nine years as an artistic director, actor and director in New York City, as artistic director of the long-running Hope Summer Repertory Theatre.

Banovez, who is working with director Anne Bakker ’85, HSRT’s managing director is artistic director and co-founder of Titan Theatre Company in New York City. Because their seasonal schedules are complementary, he will split his time between Titan Theatre Company and HSRT, serving in New York from September through April and at the college between May and August.


Dr. Steven Smith
Dr. Steven Smith

Dr. Steven Smith has retired as head men’s soccer coach after 28 seasons.

His teams compiled a 372-154-44 record that includes nine MIAA championships and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, and put him 11th in wins among active Division III men’s soccer coaches and in the top 50 nationally with a .691 winning percentage.

Although his tenure as coach has ended, Smith won’t be far away. He will continue teaching as a professor of kinesiology.

Winter Sports Report

Track and Field

The first MIAA indoor women’s track and field championship, and shares of MIAA men’s and women’s basketball titles, were among Hope College athletics highlights for the 2017-18 winter season.

Coach Kevin Cole’s Flying Dutch placed first in two events at the track championships at Trine and recorded a winning score of 131.5 points. Women’s basketball finished the season with a 29-2 record, advanced to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament and tied for first place in the MIAA with Trine, with Francesca Buchanan becoming the 15th Hope player to reach 1,000 career points. Men’s basketball reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament and became MIAA co-champions en route to a 19-10 record, with Jason Beckman setting Hope’s single-season free-throw record at 91.4 percent. Swimmer Meg Peel qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, and also swam with Emma Schaefer, Chloe Palajac and Sydney Asselin in the 200 and 400 medley relays at nationals.


Hope has received a record eighth Beckman Scholars Program award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in recognition of excellence in faculty-student collaborative research in biomedically related sciences. The program provides support for stipends and supplies for select students at recipient institutions to engage in in-depth research with designated faculty members in biomedically relevant science disciplines.

Hope was in the first cohort awarded a Beckman Scholars Program in 1998 and has had an active award ever since, more than any other college or university in the country. Only 12 received awards this year.


The college’s Day1: Watershed program has received the 2017 Watershed Stakeholder of the Year Award from the Macatawa Watershed Project of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.

Established in 2015, Day1: Watershed is a yearlong program that engages freshmen in research regarding the health of the 175-square-mile Macatawa watershed by measuring sediment run-off, the presence of nutrients such as phosphorus, and E. coli contamination.


Hope students received the 2017 Youth Social Justice Award from Holland’s Human Relations Commission for their leadership in organizing a march and rally this past fall to advocate for those impacted by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

The award recognized the three student organizations that co-sponsored the Oct. 31 event — Hope Democrats, Hope United for Justice and the Latino Student Organization — and the six students who were its primary planners: junior Julia Fulton, sophomore Jocelyn Gallegos, senior Alejandra Gomez Limon, junior Ye Ji Jun, junior Frina Redoloza and sophomore Nancy Sierra. It was presented on Jan. 17.

The “Blessing Not a Burden” march and rally, which began in the college’s Pine Grove and concluded at Holland City Hall, was held to raise awareness of issues of immigration, to show support for students and community members affected by the Sept. 5 announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding DACA, and to empower students to action. Approximately 300 members of the Hope and Holland communities participated.

Presidential Update

With all things made ready, the call for candidates for the college’s presidency is about to begin — and the Hope family can help.

The national search for a new president to take the helm in 14-plus months will formally launch in May. To develop the best possible pool, the college is working with AGB Search, which since being founded in 2010 by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges has assisted with more than 500 full-time executive and interim searches at 325 institutions. As part of this process, the college is seeking recommendations from those who know and love Hope.

The Rev. Dr. Dennis Voskuil is serving as interim president of Hope College following the presidency of Dr. John C. Knapp. Voskuil is a former president of neighboring Western Theological Seminary as well as a former member of the college’s religion faculty and director of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute.

The top priority is to find the right match for both the college and the candidate selected for the leadership role. The process is being coordinated by a 14-member search committee composed of trustee, faculty, staff, student and alumni representatives chaired by Suzanne Shier of the Board of Trustees.

Preparations for the search have been underway for the past several months. A profile informed by documents such as the college’s strategic plan, Hope for the World: 2025, will help candidates understand the college and Hope’s aspirations for the future. To shape the profile that will serve as a guide in evaluating candidates, the committee organized a series of individual interviews, focus groups and campus forums to gather input and information from the campus community and conducted an online survey of the extended Hope family.

The next six to eight months will see events move quickly. The goal is to develop the candidate pool this summer, narrow the pool during the fall semester and elect a new president during the winter of 2018-19 (past experience suggests sometime between the middle of December and late March).

For updates and more information, please watch for subsequent issues of News from Hope College (next published in August) or visit the presidential-search website. The website also includes information regarding how to nominate candidates.