Graduation exercises for Hope College will be held on Sunday, May 2.
The Commencement speaker, chosen by the graduating class, will the Rev. Dr. Timothy L. Brown of Holland, who is the Henry Bast Professor of Preaching at Western Theological Seminary. The Baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Holloway, who is senior pastor of the DeWitt Reformed Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, N.Y.
The college's 139th Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 2, at 3 p.m. indoors at Zeeland East High School.
"Commencement is a very important event in the life of the college and for the graduates and families," said Dr. James N. Boelkins, provost at Hope. "The closure of Fairbanks will pose considerable difficulty for traffic flow, parking and access to the stadium. Thus, we have decided that using the Zeeland Stadium for the outdoor Commencement will be the best way to make the event successful for all participants."
Baccalaureate will be held on Sunday, May 2, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.
Brown has been a member of the seminary's faculty since 1995. He is also a General Synod Professor of Theology of the Reformed Church in America.
He was the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel at Hope during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school years, and had served as interim dean during the spring of 2001. He was on the college's Board of Trustees from 1998 until his appointment to the deanship, and was reappointed to the board in 2003. He delivered the college's Baccalaureate sermon in 1992.
From 1983 to 1995, Brown was pastor of Christ Memorial Church in Holland. He served the First Reformed Church of South Holland, Ill., from 1980 to 1983, and Fellowship Reformed Church in Hudsonville from 1976 to 1980. He has written several articles for "The Church Herald," "The Reformed Review" and "Perspectives" magazine.
Brown, who is a 1973 Hope graduate, holds an M.Div. and a D.Min. from Western Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Nancy, who is a member of the college's Class of 1971, have three children: Sarah E.B. Lefebre; Jon Brown, who is a member of the Class of 1999; and Rebekah Hutt, who is a member of the Class of 2000.
Holloway is in her ninth year at DeWitt Reformed Church. She is the first female and first African American woman pastor in DeWitt's 124-year history.
Her appointments include serving as one of the vice presidents of the New York City Council of Churches and as an adjunct professor at New York Theological Seminary. She was appointed a member of the Federal Steering Committee for the African American Burial Ground in New York City, and was a clergy crisis responder for the Office of Emergency Management of New York City for 9/11 and the Flight 587 disaster.
Holloway is a past president of the New York Classis of the Reformed Church in America, and in 1999 became the first African American woman to preach during the RCA's General Synod. She is currently a committee member of the RCA's Ministerial Formation Coordinating Agency, and was recently nominated and installed as chairperson of the African American Council of the RCA.
She had also served Mariners' Temple Baptist Church in Chinatown in New York for seven years, including as acting and assistant pastor.
Holloway graduated from the College of New Rochelle. She completed her M.Div. at New York Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate in Urban Ministry degree at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. She is a widowed mother of four.
More than 600 seniors will be participating in the college's graduation exercises. In addition, during Commencement Hope will present honorary degrees to J. Kermit Campbell, who recently retired as chairperson of the college's Board of Trustees, and Danny R. Gaydou, who is chairperson of the Board of the Michigan Colleges Foundation and publisher of "The Grand Rapids Press."
Zeeland Stadium is located on Riley Street at 100th Avenue. In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at Zeeland East High School, located at Riley Street and 96th Avenue. Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.