John H. Jacobson, president of Hope College since 1987, has announced that he will retire in mid-1999.

          Jacobson and Kermit Campbell, chair of the
  college's Board of Trustees, made the announcement on
  Thursday, Jan. 22, in conjunction with the regular January
  meeting of the trustees.
          Jacobson noted that he was announcing his plans 18
  months in advance to help provide the college with time to
  conduct a search for his successor, to help ensure as smooth
  a transition as he experienced when he arrived.  He became
  Hope's 10th president on July 1, 1987, the day after Gordon
  Van Wylen completed his tenure.  Jacobson plans to step down
  on June 30, 1999.
          "This is an announcement and by no means a
  farewell," Jacobson said.  "The retirement date is nearly a
  year and a half in the future, and I fully expect my time
  between now and then to be active and productive.  The
  announcement today gives the college ample time to plan and
  organize an excellent search process."
          "For the moment, what I want to say is that it has
  been and continues to be a privilege to serve Hope College
  as president," he said.  "I can imagine nothing that I might
  have been doing between July 1, 1987, and June 30, 1999,
  that would have been as challenging, rewarding and
  significant as the presidency of Hope College."
          In a statement issued in conjunction with the
  announcement, Campbell reflected on the contributions
  Jacobson has made in his decade with the college.
          "As a team builder, John Jacobson would never take
  the credit for himself, but it's no coincidence that his
  presidency has been marked by significant gains for Hope
  College," he said.  "Enrollment has grown to record levels,
  the endowment has more than quadrupled and the college has
  become even better known nationally for the quality of the
  education it provides.
          "Much, of course, has been at work in the
  successes, but I believe that John's approach to working
  with others and his appreciation of the character of Hope
  College have played particularly significant roles,"
  Campbell said.
          "On the one hand, he has had the wisdom and
  humility to encourage, support and involve others in
  realizing their and the college's potential--I think, for
  example, of the 'Hope in the Future' strategic planning of
  the late 1980s and the more recent "Visioning" process,
  which involved hundreds in charting the college's future,"
  he said.  "At the same time, however, he has challenged us
  to be deliberate about the college's long-held mission of
  pursuing academic excellence and inquiry in the context of
  the Christian faith.  He has helped keep Hope true to its
  calling and character.
          "He has been a true servant-leader, meeting the
  needs and valuing the gifts of those in the Hope community
  while at the same time keeping all of us focused on the
  larger picture," Campbell said.  "The combination has helped
  Hope College to thrive, and will continue to do so well
  beyond John's presidency and into the next millennium."
          Hope's enrollment in the fall of 1987 was 2,710;
  this fall it was 2,911.  The college's endowment was $20
  million in 1987, and is currently about $91 million.
          During Jacobson's decade, Hope has had one
  national and two state "Professors of the Year," and three
  students named "British Marshall Scholars."  College guides
  consistently rate Hope highly--"U.S. News and World Report,"
  for example, ranks Hope among the nation's 160 best liberal
  arts colleges.
          Hope is the only private, four-year, liberal arts
  college in the country to have national accreditation in
  art, dance, music and theatre.  A report by the National
  Science Foundation in 1997 placed Hope in the top 25
  nationally among baccalaureate colleges as a source of Ph.D.
  recipients from 1991 to 1995 in the natural, physical and
  social sciences.
          The college has won the Michigan Intercollegiate
  Athletic Association all-sports championship five times
  during the past decade.
          The college's "Hope in the Future" capital
  campaign, which concluded in 1994, raised $58.1 million.
  Additions to the campus have included the Knickerbocker
  Theatre (1988), Lugers Fieldhouse (1991), DeWitt Tennis
  Center (1994), Haworth Conference and Learning Center (1997)
  and Cook Residence Hall (1997).
          While Hope will be busy seeking his successor
  during the next year-and-a-half, Jacobson plans to place a
  major focus on what he sees to be three significant on-going
  needs:  additional endowment funds, expansion of the
  college's science facilities and creation of a master plan
  to determine long-term development goals for the campus.
          Prior to coming to Hope, Jacobson was provost and
  vice president for academic affairs at Empire State College
  in New York, where he had served since 1972.  He had
  previously been a faculty member in philosophy at Hamilton
  College in New York and dean of the faculty and vice
  president for academic affairs at Florida Presbyterian
  College (now Eckerd College).
          He holds his bachelor's degree in philosophy from
  Swarthmore College, and master's and doctoral degrees in
  philosophy from Yale University.
          His wife, Jeanne, is also on the college staff,
  serving as a senior research fellow with the A.C. Van Raalte
  Institute for Historical Studies and as an adjunct professor
  of education since 1996.  They are members of Hope Church in