Campus Scene


The freshman Class of 2021 swept both the Pull tug-of-war and the Nykerk Cup competition this fall. The freshmen were matched against the sophomore Class of 2020 in the two historic contests. The Pull was first held in 1898, and Nykerk in 1936.

The freshmen defeated the sophomores by a narrow six feet, two inches during the Pull, held on Saturday, Sep. 30, at the traditional Black River site.

The class earned its Nykerk victory on Saturday, Oct. 28, during Family Weekend. The annual evening of song, plays and oration was held at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse, the event’s home since 2014.

Pictured are the ’20 Pull team and ’21 Nykerk smiles.


Hope Football goes Purple for Van Andel Institute

A 19th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Women’s Cross Country Championships and a second-round appearance in the Division III Women’s Soccer Championships highlighted a successful fall at Hope College. Repeat Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles were claimed in women’s cross country and women’s soccer. The football team reached the eight-win mark for the ninth time, and its Purple Community game raised $13,792.03 for Van Andel Institute.

Three Hope student-athletes were named the MIAA’s Most Valuable: Josh Gibson (men’s golf), Emily Hamilton (women’s cross country), and Megan Klintworth (women’s golf).

Hope in Pictures

Please visit Hope online to enjoy extensive photo galleries organized by topic and chronicling a variety of events in the life of the college — such as Homecoming Weekend (October 13-15). A torrential Saturday storm was an unwanted guest, but that simply called for some creative adjustment, like starting the football game early and honoring the Homecoming Court (seniors Anthony Nguyen and Allie DeVries were named king and queen) at the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center.


Hope students studyabroad around the world. Now, members of the faculty will, too.
A $170,800 grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) is supporting a new, two-year program at the college that will provide opportunities for teams of faculty to travel abroad and develop connections to globalize their teaching and scholarship, the better to prepare students for their lives after graduation. The support is through the GLCA’s Global Crossroads Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through the “Hope Portal to the World,” which will begin this summer, teams of four to five faculty each will spend two to four weeks conducting study tours on topics and in areas of mutual interest to the team members. The teams will connect with colleges, universities and other organizations in the places they visit to learn more about ways to enhance their teaching or research and forming ongoing partnerships.


“I’m not limited to one passion at Hope. I play soccer — a game I’ve loved since I was little — at a high level here, and I learn at a high level here, too.”

– Erin Brophy, Senior

Writing for the Department of Kinesiology’s blog, senior geology major — and varsity women’s soccer player — Erin Brophy of West Lafayette, Indiana, reflected on the opportunity she enjoyed this summer to conduct field research in Sweden, noting that she found her experience equally enriched by the culture and people she met. “It’s amazing that the experiences you never expect to have and the people you never expect to meet are the memories you know you’ll never forget,” she noted.

The kinesiology blog is one of three dozen 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.


A grant to Hope from Lilly Endowment Inc. is supporting a new initiative to address the steep decline in church attendance and religious affiliation among the millennial generation and adults who no longer affiliate with a church while also meeting needs in local communities.

The $458,502 grant will support “Generation Spark: Mentoring Tomorrow’s Church Leaders.” The program will work with individual churches to connect their youth (including ages 16-24) and adults of age 45 and older in one-to-one teams focused on helping to meet needs in the world about which they’re concerned.

Generation Spark’s approach — of fostering interest in church by connecting older and younger members with each other, their congregation and projects they care about — was itself developed by young people through the college’s Center for Leadership.


More than 275 teachers, scholars and lovers of history gathered at Hope on Friday-Sunday, Sept. 22-24, for the 143rd Annual State History Conference organized by the Historical Society of Michigan.

The conference was co-hosted by the college’s A.C. Van Raalte Institute, Van Raalte Press and Joint Archives of Holland, along with the Holland Museum. Multiple Hope faculty and staff were among the speakers, including Dr. Fred Johnson,who is associate professor of history; Dr. Jacob Nyenhuis, who is interim director of the Van Raalte Institute, editor-in-chief of Van Raalte Press, and provost emeritus and professor of classics emeritus; Geoffrey Reynolds, who is the Mary Riepma Ross Director of the Joint Archives of Holland; and Dr. Robert Swierenga, who is the Albertus C. Van Raalte Research Professor at the Van Raalte Institute.

The conference’s 15-member planning committee was co-chaired by Nyenhuis and Larry Wagenaar ’87, who is executive director of the Historical Society of Michigan and from 1988 to 2001 served as founding director of the Joint Archives of Holland. In addition to Nyenhuis, members of the committee from Hope included President Dennis Voskuil; Dr. Elton Bruins ’50, who was founding director of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute and is a professor emeritus of religion at Hope; and Geoffrey Reynolds.


A film co-created by senior Ismael Byers of Grand Blanc, Michigan, about spending the spring semester in Santiago, Chile, has won the grand prize in the 2017 IES Abroad “Study Abroad Film Festival.”

The announcement was made during the IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival, held on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago. The film, Solitude: A Companion Abroad, explores the way that Ismael found moments in solitude valuable because they provided opportunities to reflect on his other experiences and their impact. It was selected through an online public vote during October from among three finalists that a jury had previously chosen out of 93 submissions.

Please also look for a feature about Ismael in the spring issue of News from Hope College. The short film can be viewed online.


Junior Irene Gerrish of Los Alamos, New Mexico, was chosen to attend the New York Times Athens Democracy Forum, an international event whose participants included former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, multiple current and former senior government officials from around the world, NGO and business executives, and leading journalists with the New York Times.

The forum ran Wednesday-Sunday, Sept. 13-17, in Athens, Greece. Gerrish was one of 24 students from 13 countries selected to participate through the Global Liberal Arts Alliance, an educational partner in the event.


Junior Ashley Trojniak of Sterling Heights, Michigan, won the “Outstanding Student Poster Award” in the COLL Student Poster Contest, held during the Aug. 20-24 national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

She was the only undergraduate selected for an award and was chosen from among about 150 presenters, most of whom were graduate students. She was honored for her poster titled “Investigating surMOF thin film growth for sensing and storage applications.”


Photo by Bryan Esler courtesy of the Russell Kirk Center

An expert panel of analysts spanning the political spectrum shared insights regarding the Trump presidency and the state and future of American democracy with an audience of hundreds during Kirk on Campus, a new program of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal that chose Hope for its debut.

The Thursday, Nov. 16, event featured New York Times columnist Ross Douthat; author and former New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus; and Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein. Held in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, the evening was co-hosted by the college’s Department of Political Science with faculty member Dr. Jeff Polet moderating.

“As a liberal arts college rooted in the historic Christian faith,” said Jeff Nelson, director of Kirk on Campus, “Hope College is a great partner for this kind of event, which notably features a wide range of political perspectives. It’s the kind of discourse increasingly rare on the average campus but we hope will be common for Kirk on Campus.”