Long-time Hope College faculty member John Yelding has been named the first recipient of the college’s new Susan M. and Glenn G. Cherup Professorship in Education.
The professorship has been established by Susan and Glenn Cherup, along with an anonymous donor, to provide financial support for a member of the education faculty who is an outstanding teacher, demonstrates a commitment to the mission of the college and has a record of recognized excellence in preparing undergraduates for careers as teachers. Recipients are appointed for terms of up to five years.
Yelding’s appointment was approved by the college’s Board of Trustees in January. He will be honored during a formal investiture ceremony on Friday, April 5.
Providing the professorship is meaningful on multiple levels to the Cherups. Susan Cherup, who graduated from Hope in 1964, is also a long-time member of the education faculty at Hope, where she has taught since 1976, and herself holds an endowed professorship, the Arnold and Esther Sonneveldt Professorship.
“Hope has been such an important part of our lives,” Susan said. Because of her many years of service in the education program, it was a natural focus for the couple’s gift.
Glenn’s connection to Hope is through his wife. A graduate of Western Michigan University, he’s retired from the U.S. Merchant Marine with a First Class Pilot’s License. During his career he served as a deck officer aboard Great Lakes freighters. He also supports his own alma mater, but values his college-through-marriage as well.
“Over the years I’ve come to appreciate the Hope College community and have enjoyed friendships with faculty and staff—and have participated in activities from Vespers to athletic events, and through these have gotten to know the students as well,” he said.
The professorship has been established through the college’s “A Greater Hope” comprehensive campaign, for which building the endowment is a major priority. The opportunity to provide a source of enduring support was important to the Cherups.
“One of the important things for me was the long-lasting nature of this kind of donation,” Glenn said. “There’s some satisfaction in knowing that this will be around for a long time to help the college.”
The Cherups admit that they hadn’t anticipated that the professorship would become a reality so quickly—they had been planning with an estate gift in mind. The addition of the anonymous support, though, made it possible for the professorship to be established this year. Susan is happy to see it begin work already, and noted that she is delighted it recognizes a colleague she so greatly admires.
“We’re pleased that the Board of Trustees and administration chose John Yelding as the first recipient,” Susan said. “He’s dedicated to the welfare of students and illustrates that in everything he does.”
Yelding is an associate professor of education, and directs the college’s American Ethnic Studies minor and “Encounter with Cultures” course. He has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994.
His teaching specializations are secondary education, multiculturalism and rural education. He team teaches the First-Year Seminar for students participating in the Phelps Scholars Program, a residential program for students interested in exploring issues related to diversity.
His involvement at Hope has included serving on the advisory boards of the Phelps Scholars Program and Hope College Upward Bound, and on Saturday, Feb. 2, he was a co-presenter of the seminar “Celebrating Hope College’s Early Graduates,” presented as part of this year’s “Winter Happening” event. His scholarship has included a chapter in the departmental book “Finding Our Way: Reforming Teacher Education in the Liberal Arts Setting.”
He is a past member of the West Ottawa Public Schools Board of Education, which he served as president.
In May 2011, he received the college’s “Vanderbush-Weller Development Fund” award for strong, positive impact on students. In January 2009, the college presented him with its “Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program.” In February 2003, he received a Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) “Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award,” presented in recognition of influence on or engagement of students to be involved in community service or service-learning through modeling, instruction and/or special projects.
Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Yelding was principal of South Haven High School. He had also been a junior high school and middle school principal in Coloma, and held teaching positions in South Haven and Covert. His honors while in secondary education include being named Van Buren County Principal of the Year in 1993.
He holds his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, and a master’s in educational leadership from Western Michigan University.
Yelding and his late wife, Kathy, who died in March 2012, have six children, two of whom graduated from Hope: Nicole Sinclair, Class of 2003; and Jason, Class of 2004.