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The Center - History

The Past

The Center for Faithful Leadership continues a tradition dating back to Hope’s incorporation in 1866.

  • The college’s incorporation articles state Hope’s purpose: “to provide comprehensive courses of study… enabling students to… prepare for positions of leadership in the nation and the world.”
  • The Center for Faithful Leadership was formed (2005) during President Bultman’s tenure. President Bultman also led an effort to revise Hope College’s mission statement.  Hope’s mission statement now reads: “to educate students for lives of leadership and service…in the context of the historic Christian faith.”

The Present

From its beginning, CFL has focused on providing students opportunities to experience their faithful leadership potential through project-based learning.  Its first program was academic: leadership courses and a minor in Organizational Leadership Practice (2007).  Over time, its core competency has become to engage students in teams, guided by coaches, mentors, and subject matter experts, to serve the community and solve complex organizational ans societal issues.  A student consulting business was added in 2010, followed by an entrepreneurial development program (2011). Today, the Center offers three programs:

  • Integrated Learning: Students on project teams in for-credit leadership courses (and the minor in Organizational Leadership Practice) engage in emotional intelligence and servant leadership-oriented “stretching” experiences, from service learning to business development.
  • Student Consulting: Students on project teams in paid non-profit and for-profit business advising experiences enhance their communication, critical thinking, learning, and research skills by serving such clients as Community Action House, Herman Miller, Holland Rescue Mission, Hope College, K&R Trucks, Presbyterian Homes and Services, Resthaven, and others.
  • Entrepreneurial Development: Students on project teams in our 10-week incubator/fellowship program and other venues develop non-profit and for-profit businesses and in the process significantly enhance their management and leadership skills.

The Future

Taking very seriously Max DePree’s words that preparation for leadership does not come from books, CFL hopes to continue to give students opportunities to experience their faithful leadership potential.  It’s organizational goal is to help Hope College become nationally recognized for its mission of educating students for lives of leadership and service based on what the Hope community accomplishes, particularly Hope’s students.  But that is but a small part of an even larger vision: that all people flourish.