Presidential Update Spring 2013
To Hope College Alumni, Parents and Friends:
Time flies when you’re having fun! It hardly seems possible that
we have already entered the fourth quarter of this academic year. This
is a very good season at Hope. We feel blessed! Second-semester enrollment
is at an all-time high; students and faculty are engaged academically;
staff members are facilitating the teaching/learning process in their
usual dedicated fashion; students are taking advantage of the many meaningful
and enjoyable opportunities that a residential campus like Hope affords;
faculty and students are productive in collaborative research, service,
and a variety of performances; Chapel is filled to overflowing four times
each week; the retention from last semester and applications for next
year are very strong; and the college is doing well financially. In short,
Hope is nearly fully functioning. We are not yet perfect—though
we strive to be. We have much for which to be grateful. Our response
is to recognize all of this with humility as a gift from God. Importantly,
it should be a motivation to resist complacency and continue with passion
our efforts to serve Hope students and honor Him in all we do.
Hope is enjoying unprecedented interest in attendance. You may recall
that the fall enrollment at Hope was at an all-time high of 3,343 students,
with 905 freshmen. This total exceeded our desired enrollment and put
us slightly past our “sweet spot” for providing the “Hope
experience.” Our plan for this fall is to enroll 800 freshmen.
This presents a good but very real challenge, because the number of
applications for next fall already exceeds by 700 the total number
for last year and our waiting list of historically qualified students
now exceeds 500 students. We are committed to fairly consider each
freshman applicant for the 800 spots our campus infrastructure allows.
Hope students are willing to serve—in marvelous ways both on and
off campus. They continually make us very proud. One tangible example
of this is the involvement of 800 students in an effort called Dance
Marathon, a fundraising event for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
in Grand Rapids. This year Hope students raised $139,000 which brings
Hope’s 14-year total for this Children’s Miracle Network
project to $1,142,000. More than the money, it is the relationships that
Hope students establish with children suffering from severe illnesses
and their families that most identify this program. It is heartwarming!
In last fall’s Presidential Update, I shared with you the incredible
success of Hope students in passing credentials testing in several disciplines.
I apologize, however, for being too exuberant about the first-time pass
rate in accounting. Because the accounting test is typically taken in
parts over a longer period of time as opposed to a single cohort group,
it is misleading, perhaps impossible, to say that a cohort group achieved
a certain percent pass rate. Hope students do admirably on the test,
but I was incorrect in saying that they had a 100-percent first-time
A Greater Hope
The comprehensive campaign, A Greater Hope, has now reached $162M toward
our $175M goal. We are grateful for this level of generosity. Yet,
we hope that more of our constituency will want to become involved
in bringing this campaign to a successful conclusion. Gifts, both large
and small, are necessary to do this. At an unnamed Ivy League university,
it is said that alums often greet each other with the comment, “What
have you done for your alma mater lately?” While this is a bit
over-the-top for me, alumni gifts are crucial to the current and future
well-being of the college we love.
The endowment portion of the campaign has created more than 100 new
endowed scholarships, nearly doubled Hope’s number of endowed professorships
with nine new ones, and provided endowed monies for program enhancements
in spiritual life, international education, and multicultural education.
In addition, we have funded an operations endowment equaling 25 percent
of the construction cost for each new building so that future generations
will not have to pay to maintain buildings we build today. New facilities
during this campaign include outdoor athletic stadiums for softball,
baseball, and soccer/lacrosse. Additionally, the football stadium was
recently purchased from the City of Holland and renovated for future
use. Slated for completion this fall are the Haworth Engineering Center
wing and the Tom and Ryan Cook Village with townhouse-style student apartments.
Soon to be under construction are the Kruizenga Art Museum (May) and
the new concert hall/music complex (December). The last facility funded
through the campaign will be a new student center (fall 2015).
When successfully completed, Hope will have raised one-third of a billion
dollars during the Legacies and A Greater Hope campaigns in the 2000s,
increased the acreage of the campus threefold, and built or renovated
virtually every campus building. Clearly God has blessed the college
in ways beyond our fondest expectations.
Student Charges and
Recommendations for Tenure and Promotion
The January meeting of the Trustees is always an important one for setting
tuition, room and board for the next year and acting on tenure and
Financially, Hope is in an enviable position. Operational budgets have
been balanced for 41 consecutive years. Generous donors have funded an
impressive building program and significant property acquisitions without
added debt, allowing the college to make only inflationary-like tuition
increases during the past nine years with Hope and Consumer Price Index
increases both averaging 2.5 percent annually. This model is definitely
an “outlier” among colleges and universities nationwide.
Tuition, room and full board for 2013-14 are set at $37,530. Obviously,
applicable financial aid can reduce this cost considerably.
Reading tenure and promotion files is always a joy because of the comments
from students, colleagues, and the candidates themselves. Here are some
snippets from this year’s files:
- “She is the type of faculty member that all institutions dream
of having and, more importantly, retaining. She is a scholar of national
repute, an effective and engaging teacher, a wonderful and flexible colleague,
and a role model for our students to emulate.”
“My hope is that I will be innovative, relevant and that God will be glorified
through my teaching and research.”
“I didn’t want the class to end—he’s absolutely riveting
and inspiring in the classroom.”
“He is first-rate in everything he does, and he does it the old-fashioned
way: by caring about his field and his students and by working really, really
I remember when I first interviewed for a position at Hope College. The president
asked me to share my faith. I was glad to do that because I wanted—and
still want—a career that integrates the life of scholarship, teaching,
and science with my Christian faith.
Simply put, he is the whole package—a genuine, nationally recognized
At the core of her drive for academic excellence for herself and our department
is an unwavering commitment to her Christian faith. She is a model for Christ-like
compassion and caring for faculty and students.”
Hope Named Outstanding Employer
For the eighth consecutive year, Hope was selected as one of the “101
Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” in West Michigan. We
do try to take care of our valued employees, as well we should, for it
is people who are foundational to the success of any organization. We
are grateful for employees with demonstrated ability, great work ethics,
and unwavering loyalty to the mission of Hope.
The Hope Entrepreneurial Institute, which is part of Hope’s Center
for Faithful Leadership, is flourishing. Seniors Samuel Tzou (Midland)
and Scott Brandonisio (Troy) finished second in a statewide college and
university competition, and have won three cash awards totaling $27,500
from the Accelerate Michigan Business Competition, Start Garden, and
the Business Accelerator for their product-development efforts. Their
winning product, the Vital Sleep Band, is designed to block outside sounds
and also to monitor vital signs usually taken by healthcare professionals.
It has the very real potential for addressing the sleep interruption
oftentimes experienced by hospital patients.
The Donut Run
Through the years, Martie and I have thoroughly enjoyed hosting many
students at the President’s Home on campus. Recently, the Phelps
Scholars were there for an evening of fellowship. The Phelps Scholars,
directed so capably by Professor Charles Green, consist about equally
of majority and minority students who desire an enhanced learning/living
environment that fosters intercultural opportunities and experiences.
In the course of our conversation, one of the students asked if we
had ever been on a donut run. We were embarrassed to acknowledge that
we had not, nor had we ever heard about them. Fast-forward a few weeks
and in the mail came a beautifully crafted letter from Phelps Scholar
Micah Gargala, a freshman from Zeeland, Michigan, with these closing
. . . The Phelps Scholars would like to cordially invite you on a donut
run, which will be occurring March 1st at 11:45 p.m. Please wear many
layers to keep warm. We would be thrilled if you decided to grace our
donut run with your attendance.
I started to respond with this e-mail:
Thanks for the invitation to the donut run. It was a compelling
note. We have different biological clocks. I’m travelling a lot for Hope
right now trying to raise money for this campaign, so I’m inclined
to respectfully . . .
Then I thought, “Jim Bultman, you’re a wimp!”
So I wrote this instead:
Thanks for the invitation to the donut run. Count us in! Will you
stop by the President’s Home at 11:45 p.m. on Friday night to
pick us up?
A group of about 35 students stopped by promptly at 11:45 p.m. We walked
a few blocks to Good Time Donuts. I asked about it being open at this
time of night. The response, “He leaves the door open every night
for Hope students.” Sure enough. We walked in and stood watching
the chef bake donuts (in his boxer shorts, no less!) In between baking
and glazing, he would come to the counter and sell donuts from a vast
array of yummy choices.
We returned home about 1:00 a.m. a bit cold, a bit tired, but happy
to have experienced the time-honored Hope College donut run which, incidentally,
occurs most every night (er, morning!) during the academic year.
Hope’s most successful sport so far this year is the women’s
basketball team. They shared the league championship with Calvin at 15-1,
won the MIAA tournament to earn an automatic berth in the national tournament,
and advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national runner-up
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. They brought wins—29
of them! They brought excitement and finally heartache when for the third
time in six years they ended one victory shy of coming home to compete
in the Final Four as the host college. Coach Brian Morehouse and his
team have compiled an unbelievable home record of 125-3 since playing
at our DeVos Fieldhouse.
Birds of Paradise
At Hope there are several interesting and exciting events happening every
night. One such event was an illustrated lecture by Tim Laman ’83
on the “Birds of Paradise.” Dr. Laman is a field biologist,
wildlife photojournalist, and regular contributor to National Geographic.
People came from all over the Midwest to see the spectacular photography
and hear the stories about Tim’s journeys to the rain forest
of New Guinea and the nearby islands as well as to eastern Australia.
Eighteen expeditions were necessary to film the 39 species of songbirds
and their courtship behavior. Dr. Eldon Greij, professor emeritus of
biology, was Tim’s mentor at Hope and arranged for a most delightful
Hope’s Next President
The entire campus community is looking forward with eager anticipation
to the impending announcement of Hope’s 12th president. By the
time you read this update, you will likely have learned who that person
will be. We have every confidence that the discernment process of the
Presidential Search Committee will guide them to the person of God’s
own choosing to lead the college to new levels of distinction in the
years ahead. To God be the glory for His provision for Hope!
James E. Bultman, President