posted April 18, 2006

Graduation Activities Scheduled for May 7

Baccalaureate and Commencement at Hope College are scheduled for Sunday, May 7.

Approximately 618 graduating seniors will be participating in this year's graduation exercises, the college's 141st.

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Rhoda Janzen, assistant professor of English. The Baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Stephen Norden of Dublin, Ohio, a 1974 Hope graduate who is founding pastor of New Hope Reformed Church in Powell, Ohio.

Commencement will be held at 3 p.m. at Holland Municipal Stadium. Baccalaureate will be held earlier in the day, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

Janzen has been a member of the Hope faculty since 2000. Her teaching interests include contemporary poetry, rhetorical grammar and American literature from 1865 to 1925. This year she has served as faculty advisor to the Delta Phi sorority and the "Opus" literary magazine.

She frequently contributes creative writing to fine arts journals, and she serves as poetry editor for the journal "Perspectives." Her first book of poetry, "Babel's Stair," will appear later this year from Word Press. She is currently working on two more book projects: a cultural study of gender and morality in 19th century America, and a grammar textbook called "Grammar in Action."

Janzen came to Hope from the University of California at Los Angeles, where she completed her master's in 1997 and her doctorate in American literature in 2002. The recipient of UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award for innovation in pedagogy, she has both studied and taught the dynamics of classroom collaboration. At UCLA she also received the Charles E. and Sue K. Young Outstanding Graduate Award, UCLA's highest honor for academic distinction; twice held the University of California State Poet Laureate Award; and received the Charlotte Newcombe Award, a dissertation prize from the Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Before her years in Los Angeles, she earned an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Florida. She graduated from Fresno Pacific University with a B.A. in 1984.

She and her husband, Craig Preston, live in Holland.

Norden is the son of long-time Reformed Church in America missionaries to Japan, where he was raised. He majored in political science while at Hope.

After graduation, he attended Western Theological Seminary and worked as the assistant director of Camp Henry in Newaygo and as an intern at Good Samaritan Reformed Church in Gahanna, Ohio. Upon receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary in 1978, he was installed as minister of youth and education at Second Reformed Church in Kalamazoo.

Norden has been at New Hope Reformed Church since 1984. In 1987 the church was organized as a congregation of the Reformed Church in America with 93 communicant members representing 50 families and a total baptized membership of 130. Today the congregation has 360 members representing 200 families. Approximately 600 people consider New Hope as their church home.

He served on the college's Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1985 to 1990, and was president of the board from 1986 to 1988, and has been a member of the college's Board of Trustees since 2003. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Hope in 1989.

Norden and his wife, Jean, who is a member of the college's Class of 1975, have three sons: William, who graduated in 2004; Charles; and Pieter.

In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse. Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.