From the President: Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02

Dear Friends and Family of Hope College,

Are we at Hope College “revolutionists”? That’s how Malcolm Gladwell referred to us. He repeatedly called the Hope Forward vision “revolutionary” and said that we are leading a revolution to change higher education. Maybe! I hadn’t really thought of us as revolutionaries. If it is the case that we are leading a revolution, it’s because Hope Forward is informed by the original revolutionist: Jesus.

When we launched Hope Forward in 2021, we set out not just to improve access to college for our students, but to start a national conversation about how college is funded. Less than two years later, that conversation came alive at Hope through the Catalyst Summit, co-hosted by bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell. The purpose of the gathering was reflected in the summit’s name: A catalyst provokes change. The event gathered a distinguished array of educators, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, writers and others to discuss access, generosity and community — at Hope and nationwide.

Hope Forward is a vision for a radically different funding model for college, which we believe will ultimately lead to an even better learning environment. It’s a new idea, but one based on timeless truths: the message of Jesus. Hope Forward is a vision that funds education through gifts, asking students to donate to the college after graduating, rather than paying through tuition bills and debt up front. It extends the core message of the Gospel — you are covered, now go and live differently — to all Hope students. We give away what we offer at Hope — an excellent Christian liberal arts education — as a gift, and students are transformed and empowered to spread hope to the world. It eliminates the burden of student loan debt so that our alumni can pursue impact rather than chase income. It attempts to re-orient the kind of relationship we have with students to a covenantal one, rather than a transactional one.

It was inspiring to see how our guests at the summit were moved by this vision. Malcolm Gladwell commented, “Watching you put your faith to work makes me indescribably happy.” Without a doubt, the highlight of the summit’s sessions was the student panel. Members of the pilot cohorts spoke with depth and conviction about the life-changing power of a Hope Forward model.

You can read more about the Catalyst Summit in the article A Catalyst for Hope which begins on page nine in the printed magazine. And best of all: The movement has only just started. It will be exciting to see where it leads.

Spera in Deo!
Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02