Campus Scene


Both an academic program and the athletic program at Hope will benefit from a new major gift that will address facility needs to enhance student experiences and education.

Jim and Eileen Heeringa of Holland, Michigan, contributed $5 million to the college, designating approximately half toward the construction of a new locker room facility at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium and the other half toward renovating space in the DeWitt Center for new studios for the Department of Dance. The donation is the lead gift for each project, and the new facilities will be named in honor of Jim, who died on Oct. 21, and Eileen.

Groundbreaking for each project is yet to be determined as fundraising continues. Per the new Pay It Forward policy recently enacted by the Hope Board of Trustees to move toward fully-funded tuition for students, new funds must be raised for the endowment that are equal to new building costs.


It’s been a difficult couple of years for the Pull tug-of-war. Last year, the contest relocated to campus because of the high water at the event’s traditional Black River site. This year, it was canceled because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

This fall is only the fifth time on record that the long-running freshman/sophomore (and even-year/odd-year) event has been canceled. Believed to have started in 1898, the Pull was previously canceled in 1918, 1943 and 1944 due to World War I and World War II, respectively, and in 1957 due to a campus flu epidemic. There’s no information for 1899-1908.

There’s a chance that the contest will be rescheduled to the spring semester, but the continued pandemic and structure of the academic calendar make it unlikely.


The sophomore Class of ’23 has won this year’s Nykerk Cup competition. In a first for Nykerk, there was no in-person audience, with the event instead prerecorded and shown on the college’s livestream channel due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The staging was also adjusted, with all of the participants — including in Song and Play — filmed individually and presented together through the magic of technology and editing.

Please visit Hope online for more background about this year’s contest and the video.


Even though adjustments due to the pandemic have changed its form, Christmas Vespers is still a part of the Advent season.

Vespers is usually presented to large audiences in Dimnent Memorial Chapel during four services in early December. This year, however, the college concluded its semester before Thanksgiving and in any case the traditional model would have run counter to the ongoing safety precautions designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Instead, the event was pre-recorded and has been made available on the college’s YouTube channel.


With many families struggling because of the economic impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Hope will hold tuition, room and board at the same level during 2021-22 as during the current academic year. The move is also a step forward toward the college’s longer-term goal of making a Hope education more accessible and affordable for all students.

President Matthew A. Scogin ’02 made the announcement on Nov. 20 in a message sent to students, families, staff and faculty and posted on the president’s blog. It’s the first time that Hope has frozen tuition since 1968.


Hope has again earned a STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. Hope has held a silver rating since 2017, after previously holding a Bronze rating beginning in 2012.


A major, multi-year grant to Hope from the National Science Foundation will help meet the national demand for engineers by providing scholarships and supplemental programs for academically talented students with high financial need who plan to pursue careers in engineering.

The $999,061 grant will support a total of 15 students in two cohorts. Hope is recruiting current high school students for enrollment starting in the fall of 2021 and fall of 2022.

Students who intend to major in engineering and are eligible for awards through the Federal Pell Grant Program will be eligible for the initiative. Through the Hope program, they will receive a $10,000 scholarship each year for four years in addition to the other financial aid for which they qualify via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The students will also become part of an academic learning community centered on their participation in the program and interest in engineering.


Hope College led the nation in average home attendance for men’s and women’s basketball during the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced in November. It is the 12th consecutive time the Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch both have accomplished the feat. Last season, the Flying Dutchmen averaged 2,214 fans over 12 home games at DeVos Fieldhouse, while the Flying Dutch drew 1,162 fans to DeVos Fieldhouse over 15 home games. Head coach Greg Mitchell’s Flying Dutchmen were the only Division III team to draw a crowd larger than 2,000 fans. The national average was 327. Head coach Brian Morehouse’s Flying Dutch were the only Division III team to average at least 1,000 fans. The national average was 198. Hope also finished third in Division III in home volleyball attendance (466), 10th in women’s soccer home attendance (268), and 29th in men’s soccer home attendance (288).


Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren, associate professor of psychology, has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. He is the third member of the psychology faculty to have been chosen. Dr. Mary Inman and Dr. David Myers were elected in previous years.

As noted in “Quote, Unquote” on Page 6, his research focuses on the social motivation for meaning and its relation to virtues and morality. Specifically, he and his students adopt a social-cognitive approach to study meaning in life, religion and virtues, such as forgiveness and humility.


Dr. Ernest Cole, who is the John Dirk Werkman Professor of English and chair of the Department of English, has been honored by the African Literature Association as author of the best article in African literary studies published in a major peer-reviewed journal in 2019.

He has received the association’s Abioseh Porter Best Essay Award. The recognition is for his article “Decentering Anthropocentrism: Human-Animal Relations in Aminatta Forna’s Happiness,” which was published in the Journal of the African Literature Association in January 2019.


A biography published by the college’s Van Raalte Press about Zeeland, Michigan, native Dr. Paul de Kruif, whose 1926 book Microbe Hunters became an international bestseller, has won a 2020 State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan.

The annual awards honor individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the appreciation, collection, preservation and/or promotion of state and local history. The biography, A Constant State of Emergency: Paul de Kruif, Microbe Hunter and Health Activist, was written by Dr. Jan Peter Verhave and published in 2019.


Dr. Leah Chase, professor of biology and chemistry, has received one of two 2020 Janet Andersen Lecture Awards from the Midstates Consortium for Math and Science.

The awards honor faculty at consortium-member colleges and universities who have vigorous research programs involving undergraduates, who are engaged and skilled teachers, or who create interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate students.


Dr. R. Richard Ray, professor of kinesiology, has earned the capstone honor presented by National Athletic Trainers’ Association in recognition of his transformational leadership and service.

He is the 2020 recipient of NATA’s Eve Becker-Doyle Leadership Award, the top recognition given to a 40-plus-year NATA member for outstanding leadership and volunteerism within the association.

Ray has been extensively involved in the discipline of athletic training at the regional and national level. His service to Hope includes having been dean for the social sciences and provost. For several years, he was the college’s head athletic trainer, and he developed Hope’s academic program in athletic training, which under his leadership grew into a full major.

Campus Health

Circumstances related to the global COVID-19 pandemic remain dynamic and evolving, and circumstances at Hope can vary as the college responds accordingly to local, state and federal guidelines and requirements and local health conditions. Updates are posted regularly at the website that the college developed this past spring to centralize information.