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Presidential Update Summer 2010
To Hope College Alumni, Parents and Friends:
The day dawned bright and clear. The Dutch meteorologists had predicted well once again! It was a gorgeous day for Baccalaureate and Commencement. The Reverend Katie Davelaar, Hope College chaplain, gave an inspirational sermon at the Baccalaureate services in Dimnent Chapel assuring graduates of God’s guidance throughout life. Later in the day, Adjunct Professor of Communication Rob Pocock, who was selected by the senior class to deliver the Commencement address, gave a stirring presentation on living life to the fullest to a capacity crowd at Holland Municipal Stadium. Amongst those receiving degrees was retiring Provost James Boelkins, who was surprised with an honorary doctorate from his alma mater. All in all, it was a glorious day.
It was a day, however, of very mixed emotions for many of us. We, of course, celebrate with graduates and their families in recognizing outstanding achievement. On the other hand, there are real attachments to students during a four-year period, and the likelihood that we will see them again soon is fairly remote. Each goes their own way with such promise and expectation. Our hope is that they have been educated to think about life’s most important issues with clarity, wisdom, and a deep understanding of the foundational commitments of the historic Christian faith. We believe they are prepared to communicate effectively, bridging boundaries that divide human communities. They are agents of hope who will live faithfully into their vocations. Hope College graduates are educated to make a difference in the world!
Richard Ray Selected Provost
Following a national search, Dr. Richard Ray was appointed to the position of Provost, succeeding retiring Provost James Boelkins. Dr. Ray has served as dean for social sciences for the past two years.
Richard Ray began his career at Hope in 1982 as assistant professor of kinesiology and head athletic trainer, a position he held for 20 years. In 2003, he became chair of the kinesiology department and director of the athletic training program.
Author of numerous articles and three editions of the textbook Management Strategies in Athletic Training, Dr. Ray was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame, the association’s highest honor, in 2006. He authored Hope’s most recent North Central Accreditation Report and this past year received the “Career Achievement Award” from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Ray received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his masters and doctorate from Western Michigan University.
I know you will welcome Dr. Ray to this important position through which he will lead Hope to new levels of distinction as our chief academic officer. His new duties will officially begin on July 1.
Serving as interim dean for the social sciences during the coming academic year will be Dr. Caroline Simon, the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Professor of Philosophy and director of general education and interdisciplinary studies.
Glenn Van Wieren Retires
In addition to the faculty retirements that I shared with you in my last Presidential Update, Dr. Glenn Van Wieren, long-time men’s basketball coach and professor of kinesiology, announced his retirement near the end of the academic year. Glenn has served the Hope family with great distinction, including 33 years as men’s basketball coach. Dr. Van Wieren leaves the coaching ranks as one of the all-time winningest coaches in NCAA Division III with a 660 - 219 overall record.
Coach Van Wieren nurtured a basketball program that is highly regarded across all of NCAA Division III. He guided the Flying Dutchmen to a record 17 MIAA championships and appearances in 21 NCAA Division III post-season tournaments. His teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen six times, to the Elite Eight four times, and to the final four three times. Under Coach Van Wieren, Hope finished second in the nation twice (1996 and 1998) and was third in 2008.
In 2003, Coach Van Wieren was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, and the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame honored him in 2006 with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Matt Neil to Succeed Van Wieren
Matt Neil, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Hope for the past 26 years, was selected to succeed his former coach and mentor. Coach Neil was a standout student performer at Hope, having twice earned all-MIAA honors and the league’s Co-MVP as a senior. Matt received his bachelor’s degree at Hope in mathematics and holds a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University. He has been teaching mathematics in the Holland Public Schools since 1992.
For the tenth consecutive year, Hope College women’s and men’s athletic teams won the Commissioner’s Cup for all-sports supremacy in the MIAA. There is little question that Hope fields competitive teams in every sport. This is a tribute to talented players, dedicated coaches, and, of course, the faithfulness of Hope fans who support our teams better than any fans in the country. Hope consistently leads the nation in attendance at athletic events. Securing the Commissioner’s Cup for Hope were second-place finishes in men’s and women’s track, men’s and women’s tennis, and baseball during the spring season.
The men’s golf team had its best ever national finish, securing ninth place in the NCAA tournament. Senior Steven Strock (Grandville, Mich.) was named to the PING All-America third team and also was a repeat selection as an All-America Scholar.
In men’s and women’s track, Hope claimed three All-Americans for their spring performances at the national meet. Junior John Donkersloot (Zeeland, Mich.) finished third in the high jump at 6 feet, 10-1/4 inches. Junior Kara Vande Guchte (Hamilton, Mich.) finished third in the heptathlon, and senior Jeff Minkus (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) finished fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 48 feet, 11 inches. In addition, junior Cameron Lampkin (Oak Park, Mich.) won the league championship in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes and was named the league’s outstanding male track performer. Both Donkersloot (first team) and Minkus (third team) were also named Academic All-Americans.
At the spring meeting of the MIAA, it was decided to add men’s and women’s lacrosse teams to the MIAA league schedule in 2011-12. For the past several years, Hope has fielded both men’s and women’s lacrosse teams as club sports.
One of the most endearing qualities of Hope students is their humility in the midst of exceptional achievements. Such was the case this past spring with senior Jeff Minkus. Martie actually knows Jeff better than I do because of his leadership in the college chapter of Mortar Board, which Martie serves as a volunteer co-advisor with Prof. Dianne Portfleet. Jeff invited us to watch him perform at a track meet this spring. We readily agreed, but since Hope had no home meets (partly because of a lack of facilities for the steeple chase and the jump runways), we needed to travel to Olivet to see the team in action at the MIAA jamboree. It was a cold and windy day, and the triple jump was one of the last events. After completing his first jump of 14.27 meters, we noticed that Jeff passed on his next two attempts. Because track and field is rather informal, I asked Jeff if he was OK since he had not jumped during his last two turns. Humbly, he said, “Well . . . uh . . . well, it really isn’t necessary for me to jump again because . . . well, no one else can catch me.” He then apologized for having us travel so far and watch the entire meet only to see him jump one time. In the final MIAA Field Day, Jeff also won the triple jump and anchored the winning 4x100 relay team when a teammate came up injured. Jeff is an exceptional student, an outstanding athlete, and a genuinely terrific young man. Zeeland Christian is fortunate to have hired him as a teacher next fall!
Just as this Update was going to the printer, we learned from the NCAA that Hope has been selected to host the national championship finals in coming years in volleyball (2012 and 2013) and women’s basketball (2012 and 2013). This is a tribute to Hope personnel, especially Athletic Co-Director and Tournament Director Eva Folkert, Associate Vice President for Public and Community Relations Tom Renner, and community volunteers. Once again, the DeVos Fieldhouse enables national collegiate competition for the Hope and Holland communities which, not insignificantly, also benefits the local economy.
Competitive Externally Funded Grants
In late spring, Cora Marrett, deputy director of the National Science Foundation, was on Hope’s campus to speak. In the midst of her remarks, she made mention that Hope had compiled an exceptional record this past year in the receipt of National Science Foundation grants. While many institutions claim to engage in collaborative undergraduate research, few receive external grants to do so, and fewer still receive external grants that are competitively awarded. Undergraduate collaborative research with competitive externally funded grants is definitely one of Hope’s major distinctives. Because of these efforts, Hope students oftentimes secure generous postgraduate scholarships for advanced study, particularly in the sciences.
The following graduates were some of Hope’s recipients of outstanding grant awards this past spring.
Overall to date in this fiscal year which ends on June 30, the college has received $5.2 million in external grant money, mostly from the National Science Foundation and mostly for collaborative undergraduate research. Hope has received more NSF money for undergraduate research than all but the three major Research I institutions in the state and Michigan Technological University. This is a real tribute to the initiatives of so many Hope faculty members and the national reputation of Hope.
Nursing Pinning Ceremony
Each year Martie and I informally identify what has been our most inspirational event of the year. This year the nurses’ pinning ceremony was our choice. Perhaps this is because we rarely get to attend this ceremony due to Alumni Day activities, which typically fall on the same day as the pinning ceremony. This past spring, however, with Alumni Day coming a week earlier than Commencement weekend, we were able to attend. We were so impressed with the address by Prof. Nancy Barnum, the testimonies of the students for their Hope experience, and the overall excitement which the nursing faculty displayed for the future of these graduates. Nursing is one of our most expensive programs to deliver because of the small student-to-faculty ratio required for the clinical experiences. Nonetheless, with the current demand for health care practitioners and the strength of Hope’s overall science program, the development of this program seems entirely appropriate for Hope’s curricular mission. What impressed us so much about the ceremony was how aligned the department is with the overall mission of Hope as a distinctly Christian liberal arts institution. We came away from the ceremony saying to each other, “This is Hope College at its very best!”
Summer at Hope
Hope has an enviable physical plant. Holland is a great place to be in the summer. These two factors, together with exciting learning opportunities, enable the college to utilize its facilities extensively during the summer months. This summer approximately 20,000 “learners” of all ages will be on campus taking classes, doing research, attending conferences, participating in sports camps, producing TV shows, and watching theatre. In addition to providing learning opportunities, these activities enhance the quality of life in Holland, provide jobs for many people, and generate revenue to balance the college budget. Summer at Hope is different from the traditional academic year, but it certainly is anything but void of activity.
For the first time ever, a group of Hope engineering majors built a student-designed car under the watchful eye of Dr. John Krupczak, engineering professor. Their efforts won them the William C. Mitchell Rookie Award in the international Formula SAE Michigan competition held at the Michigan International Speedway. More than 100 teams from around the world, mostly from well-known university engineering programs, competed in this event. Hope was the only undergraduate entry from Michigan. In addition to Krupczak, the group was advised by Dr. Richard Frost, Hope’s vice president for student development and dean of students. I just wish they’d let me drive it!
Enrollment for Fall 2010
Enrollment for the fall looks very promising and will be close to our goal of 800 full-time, first-time freshmen. A freshman class of 800 enables the college to operate most efficiently with a total enrollment of approximately 3,000 full-time equivalent students on campus to begin the fall semester. To be sure, it was much more difficult this year to recruit a full freshman class than it has been in recent years. We attribute this to the decline in the overall economic conditions in Michigan and the precipitous drop in state-funded financial aid for needy students. We are very hopeful that both of these conditions will improve in the coming years.
Meanwhile, we would encourage you to be ambassadors for Hope, especially with prospective students and their families and share with our admissions office the names of those students you feel would benefit from the Hope College experience. A postage-paid postcard is enclosed for your convenience.
Annual Hope Fund
It is also important that you participate in the annual Hope Fund as you are able. Gift income to colleges is down throughout the country, and Hope is also not immune to this decline. Every gift, large or small, is important to the ongoing vitality of the college we love. Thank you so much for your generous engagement with the Hope College community. You are appreciated!
James E. Bultman, President