Campus Scene


Three members of the faculty were appointed to endowed professorships earlier this year.

Dr. Angela Carpenter

Dr. Angela Carpenter, assistant professor of religion, has been appointed to the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Professorship in Reformed Theology. The professorship was established by the late Leonard and Marjorie Maas to be held by a faculty member whose scholarly emphasis is on the historical and philosophical development of Reformed theology through the present day. Carpenter focuses on Christian theology and ethics with an emphasis on Reformed theology, and her research interests include moral formation, theology and the human sciences, and grace and ethics.

Dr. Fred Johnson III

Dr. Fred Johnson III, professor of history, has been appointed to the Guy Vander Jagt ’53 Endowed Professorship. The professorship was established in the early 1980s by friends of Vander Jagt, a longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, in appreciation for his leadership, and is held by a distinguished faculty member, preferably one who has a special interest in oratory or the interface between politics and communication. Johnson is an award-winning public speaker. His primary field is 19th century U.S. history, specifically the Civil War. His other areas of study include the U.S. in the 20th century, the U.S. military, foreign policy and African history.

Lisa Walcott

Lisa Walcott, assistant professor of art and gallery director of the De Pree Art Center and Gallery, is the inaugural recipient of the Billy Mayer Endowed Professorship in Sculpture or Ceramics. The professorship was established by the late Dr. Richard ’52 and Margaret Feldmann ’52 Kruizenga in honor and memory of Mayer, a longtime member of the art faculty — and head of the college’s sculpture and ceramics program — who died in 2017. Walcott’s art practice includes kinetic sculpture, installation, drawing and photography through which she grapples with and makes light of the perils of daily life.


Dance Marathon students playing with a percussion cymbal with one of the little kids.

Hope students have put on a marathon effort for a 24th year for the young patients of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. More than 800 students participated in this year’s installment of the annual marathon, held on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, at the Dow Center.

All proceeds from the marathon go directly towards the funding of special programs that are designed to make the children’s visits to the hospital more bearable; helping the families to deal with their illnesses; and supplies related to treatment and care. This year’s marathon raised $384,336.24, setting a new Hope record and bringing the event’s 24-year total to more than $4 million.

A gallery of photographs is available online.


Decorative image of a leaf

Dr. Jennifer Blake-Mahmud, assistant professor of biology, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation for the first research study seeking to reveal the genetics behind a curious biological phenomenon: the ability of some plants to change sex during their lifetimes.

“We know sex expression can be affected by light in some species, or even how big the plant is, but we don’t know anything about how this works genetically,” she said.

Blake-Mahmud and her student team are focusing on one species in particular: the striped maple, a tree native to Michigan. They began their investigation earlier this year supported by a $501,356, three-year grant through the NSF’s “Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology” initiative.


Hope has appointed two current members of the faculty with strong backgrounds as teachers, researchers and administrators to academic deanships following national searches for both roles.

Dr. Jonathan Peterson ’84 of the geological and environmental sciences faculty has been named dean of natural and applied sciences after serving as interim dean since the fall of 2020.

Dr. Lindsey Root Luna ’03, associate professor of psychology and department chair, has been named dean of social sciences.

Dr. Jonathan Peterson ’84
Dr. Jonathan Peterson ’84

Peterson joined the faculty in 1994. He chaired the department from 2001 to 2007, and was appointed to the Lavern and Betty DePree VanKley Endowed Professorship in Geology and Environmental Science in 2015. Among other service beyond campus, he has twice been a visiting scientist at the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and twice been resident director of the GLCA/ACM Oak Ridge Science Semester Program.

Dr. Lindsey Root Luna ’03
Dr. Lindsey Root Luna ’03

Root Luna has been a member of the faculty since 2012. Her service to Hope has also included directing the neuroscience program, and co-directing the Continuum Scholars and Faith and Scholarship programs for faculty, and she advises the college’s chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, and Psychology Club. Her service beyond campus includes having been vice president of the Midwestern Region of Psi Chi.

Both Peterson and Root Luna maintain active research programs that involve students.


Decorative image of baccalaureate procession

Baccalaureate and Commencement for the Class of ’23 are scheduled for Sunday, May 7. Commencement will take place at 3 p.m. at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium, and Baccalaureate at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Richard Frost, who retired from Hope in 2022 as vice president for student development and dean of students after serving at the college since 1989. The Baccalaureate speaker will be Dr. Stephen Hemenway, who is the Betty Roelofs ’53 Miller Professor of English and will be retiring at the end of the school year after serving at Hope since 1972.

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

Dr. Richard Frost
Dr. Richard Frost
Dr. Stephen Hemenway
Dr. Stephen Hemenway


Danai Mandebvu ’25
Danai Mandebvu ’25

The Department of Theatre and students received multiple honors during this year’s Region III Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Sophomore Danai Mandebvu was the regional runner-up for the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Audition Award. In addition, she was subsequently one of only eight students, from colleges and universities across the United States, named a National Aspire Arts Leadership Fellow to participate in the national festival in Washington, D.C., this month.

Among other individual Region III honors, junior Kelsey Sivertson received the top award in the Institute of Theatre Journalism and Advocacy; junior Lydia Konings was a finalist for the Stage Management Fellowship and received the Off-Headset Book award; and senior Katy Smith was a semi-finalist and finalist for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship along with her acting partner, Annika Dekker ’22. In addition, the Department of Theatre received several certificates of Merit for the 2022 productions of Bright Star, The Winter’s Tale and Silent Sky.