From the President: Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02

Dear Friends and Family of Hope College,

With Thanksgiving recently past and the Advent season upon us, I write with a sense of gratitude.

I am grateful for the care and determination with which the faculty, staff and students prepared for and pursued the fall semester despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to their expertise, hard work and diligence, we not only completed an entire semester of in-person classes, but consistently had rates of infection below the local, state and national levels.

Within this issue you’ll see some of how it happened. You’ll learn of the college’s multi-faceted approach to mitigating the presence and spread of COVID-19 on campus, including our ongoing wastewater-testing initiative that builds on decades of water-quality research at Hope. Although not every activity could continue (no intercollegiate sports, no Pull), the people of Hope were inventive in their virtual delivery of events like Chapel, concerts, plays, Homecoming, Nykerk and even Christmas Vespers.

Despite the challenges of the past nine months, Hope remains in a strong position to look to the future. We commemorated the transition of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and multicultural student organizations to their new home in the Keppel House. Also, for the first time since 1968, we announced a freeze to tuition, room and board rates for the 2021-22 academic year. This, in part, is our response to a difficult year that Hope students and families have endured, but it is also a deliberate move to be counter-cultural against the spiraling costs of higher education.

All of us at Hope also owe a debt of gratitude to those who were here before us and built an institutional culture able to adapt to unprecedented circumstances. They number thousands across generations, but I believe you’ll understand why we single out Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, who passed away in November at age 100. As the story in this issue relates, he played a tremendous role in shaping the college as Hope’s president from 1972 to 1987.

Underlying all, I am grateful to God, from whom, as the doxology says, all blessings flow. These are difficult times. And yet, even in such times, we can find much that is good if we do not give in to despair. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 calls upon us to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances.” I hope, whatever your circumstances, that you are able to find joy in blessings in your life, and that you are buoyed by the promise embodied by the birth of our Savior that we celebrate this month.

Spera in Deo,
Matthew A. Scogin ʼ02