From the President: Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02

Dear Friends and Family of Hope College,

An important strength of Hope is that the college isn’t distinguished by one quality, but many. Some institutions of higher education are known for outstanding teaching and strong mentoring relationships with faculty and staff. Some are known for research and scholarly inquiry. Some are known for faith development. Some are known for their athletic programs.

As a co-educational liberal arts college grounded in the historic Christian faith, Hope focuses on all of those at once. And time and again, we receive affirmation that we are doing it well. This comes in many forms, be it public recognition for excellence in research and teaching (this year we are proud to have set a new record for academic grants), sports championships (this year we won two national championships and 12 league championships), and strong interest from students in being part of our community (this fall we will welcome our largest freshman class ever, after having received 1,000 deposits by May 1 to be part of the Class of 2026!). We’re encouraged by this momentum, but these external measures aren’t at the core of why we do what we do.

The answer, of course, is for our students, reflecting our commitment to educating them as whole people. Throughout each year in this magazine we present a variety of ways that happens at Hope, but beginning with this issue we’re placing added emphasis on faculty scholarship in a new section called Spera. Spera began as an annual, stand-alone journal in the spring of 2017 to showcase the breadth and depth of faculty research campus-wide, and continued in print through 2020 and online (due to the pandemic) in 2021. By folding the content into the magazine, we intend to do something that the original approach couldn’t: keep the spotlight on our professors’ scholarship throughout the year. Moving forward, we’ll be continuing to highlight research in the arts, humanities, natural and applied sciences, and social sciences.

We hope that you’ll enjoy the “what” of the articles (what is behind the behavior of West Michigan’s spectacular lakeshore sand dunes and their ecosystems?) but also hope to inspire you with the “why.” Hope’s professors are outstanding teachers whose commitment to their students is remembered fondly by alumni throughout their lives. For faculty across campus, research is part of that commitment, providing an opportunity to mentor students in going beyond what is already known and experiencing how to discover, building skills that have served Hope’s graduates well for generations. As researchers, our faculty not only stay current in their fields but lead the way, expertise that translates into an excellent classroom education. And through their research, our faculty expand understanding and address needs that make a difference in the world. That helps our students — and all of us — too.

Spera in Deo!
Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02