posted April 2, 2008

Graduation Activities Scheduled for May 4

 Baccalaureate and Commencement at Hope College are scheduled for Sunday, May 4.

Some 667 graduating seniors will be participating in this year's graduation exercises, the college's 143rd.

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.

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Steven Hoogerwerf, associate professor of religion. The Baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by Dr. Dennis Voskuil, who is president of Western Theological Seminary, and Betty Voskuil, a long-time Reformed Church in America staff member and volunteer leader locally and internationally. In addition, the Voskuils will each receive the Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) degree during the 9:30 a.m. Baccalaureate service.

Hoogerwerf has taught at Hope since 1992. During the college's Commencement exercises last May, he received the 43rd annual "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" (H.O.P.E.) Award from the graduating Class of 2007. He was also the 2006 recipient of the college's Janet Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award.

A recent focus of his work has been in the area of service-learning. Eleven members of the 2008 graduating class were part of his 2007 May Term course on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where students learned about the history, culture and religion of the Oglala Lakota tribe partly in the context of direct involvement in service to reservation residents.

For several years he has accompanied Hope students participating in the college's annual spring break mission trips. He also co-leads a training session for leaders of the Hope trips and continues to develop resources to help students reflect on what they are learning as they engage in service to others.

In February 2007 Hoogerwerf received a Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award. The awards recognize outstanding community service and service-learning by faculty and staff at the colleges and universities that are members of MCC, with recipients honored for engaging or influencing students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, influence or instruction.

He was a member of the Hope committee that drafted the grant proposal for the CrossRoads Project, funded with support from the Lilly Endowment Inc. The program, which began with the 2003-04 academic year, is designed to help students think theologically about the role of calling or vocation in their lives.

Hoogerwerf's scholarship focuses on ethics, medical ethics, and religion and society. During the current school year he has been teaching the college's Senior Seminars on "Vocation and Health Care" and "What Really Matters?" as well as the courses "Religion and Atrocity," and "Introduction to Theology: Christian Love."

Hoogerwerf has also served as an adjunct member of the faculty of Western Theological Seminary since 1996. Other appointments through the years have included serving as director of adult ministries at Second Reformed Church in Zeeland; spiritual care coordinator with Hospice of Holland Inc.; interim associate minister at Olin Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, N.C.; associate minister of United Reformed Church in Somerville, N.J.; and staff associate with the office of social witness of the Reformed Church in America.

His current community involvements include serving on the ethics committees of Holland Community Hospital, and as an ethics consultant to North Ottawa Community Hospital and Resthaven Patrons Inc.

Hoogerwerf graduated from Hope in 1977 with majors in religion and philosophy. He completed his Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary in 1981 and his doctorate, in theology and ethics, at Duke University in 1991.

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.