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Alumni Profile: Mark Van Genderen ’90

Approximately 30,000 men and women claim Hope as their alma mater. Hope graduates are 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. They are prepared to communicate effectively, bridging boundaries that divide human communities. They are agents of hope who live faithfully into their vocations. Hope graduates make a difference in the world.

In coming to Hope College, Mark Van Genderen knew what he wanted from the college experience.

“I was looking for a college that was small enough to have a real sense of community but large enough to be able to provide the full college atmosphere I was looking for.” Mark made the most of the opportunities that he found at Hope, outside of the classroom as well as in it. He became involved in many unique activities, from the Pull, Hope’s 112-year old tug-of-war tradition, to being in a fraternity to studying abroad in London.

Over the course of his four years at Hope, Mark was continually drawn to the field of business, interested in how people work together.

“Ultimately any corporation, no matter how large or small, works only when motivated people strive to reach common goals together, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Through his time at the college, he gained not only relevant, career-oriented information but also experience and perspective in how to apply it.

“The personal interaction with other students and professors in and out of class helped teach me to frame discussions and arguments, build consensus, motivate people and creatively solve differences of opinion — things I use every day in my position.”

His position now, as vice president and managing director of Latin America for Harley Davidson, requires a lot of time and energy, but his Hope education has equipped him with a sense of confidence and a feeling of self-efficacy.

“Hope was probably more rigorous than I anticipated, but the ability to think critically and the learning framework I acquired at Hope helped prepare me for graduate school. Those things have been the cornerstone of how I approach my career.”

As important as his career has been, it is not just at work where Mark has seen the positive benefits of his time at Hope.

“My character, values and moral compass were really initially developed at Hope and have helped to guide me as an employee, father and husband.”

He notes that he is grateful for his time at Hope and how it shaped him to be the person he is today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my affiliation with Hope College. My decision to attend Hope was one of the best decisions of my life.”

This profile was written by Charlie A. Walter, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2010-11 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.