The 146th academic year at Hope College will begin formally with the college's traditional Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. in the DeVos Fieldhouse.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The featured speaker will be Dr. F. Sheldon Wettack, who is dean of faculty and professor of chemistry emeritus at Harvey Mudd College of Claremont, Calif. Since retiring from Harvey Mudd in 2004, he has been a visiting professor of chemistry at Hope. He had previously been at Hope from 1967 to 1982, first as a member of the chemistry faculty and then as dean for the natural sciences and also as dean for both the natural and social sciences.
The fieldhouse is a new venue for the convocation, which is particularly geared toward the college's new students and their families and has traditionally been held in the college's chapel. With large incoming classes in recent years the audience size has exceeded the chapel's capacity, and the event is being moved to the fieldhouse to better accommodate those wishing to attend. The incoming freshman class is expected to exceed 800 students this year.
Residence halls for new students will open on Friday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m., with New Student Orientation beginning later that day and continuing through Monday, Aug. 27. Residence halls for returning students will open on Sunday, Aug. 26, at noon. Fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 8 a.m.
As a visiting member of the Hope chemistry faculty, Wettack teaches part-time and also carries out other projects for both the department and the science division. During 2006, he also served as the interim director of the Pew Midstates Consortium for Science and Mathematics of which Hope is a member.
While previously at Hope, he mentored about three dozen Hope students with support from a variety of individual research grants, including a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. His research resulted in several publications in professional journals.
From 1982 to 1989 Wettack was dean of the arts and sciences at the University of Richmond, and from 1989 to 1993 he was president of Wabash College. He became vice president and dean of faculty at Harvey Mudd College in 1993.
He has been active nationally in Project Kaleidoscope and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), and has served on a variety of civic and professional boards. He is currently a member of the Advisory Board for MentorNet, an electronic mentoring network for students in science and engineering.
Wettack holds his bachelor's and master's degrees from San Jose State College, and his doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Texas-Austin. He served as a high school science teacher in California prior to completing his doctorate and beginning his career in higher education at Hope College.