Dr. Francis Fike, professor of English at Hope College, is retiring this year after 30 years on the faculty.
Fike started at Hope in 1968 as an associate
professor of English. He was promoted to full professor in
After completing his bachelor's degree with a
major in English at Duke University in 1954, Fike earned an
M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in 1957, and became
ordained as a minister in the Methodist Church.
Retaining an early interest in writing and
literature, however, he subsequently applied for and
received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from
Stanford University, which supported him as he completed a
one-year master's program in 1958. He went on to earn his
doctorate from Stanford in 1964, and held teaching
appointments at both Stanford and Cornell University before
coming to Hope.
In his 30 years at the college, Fike has found a
variety of ways to serve. He helped develop the "Senior
Seminar" program, "capstone" courses that prompt Hope's
seniors to consider their values and the meaning of their
education as they anticipate post-college life. Himself a
member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was a founding member of Hope's
chapter, chartered in 1971.
He has had articles, poems or reviews in
publications ranging from "Audubon," to "19th Century
Fiction," to "Reformed Review." He is the author of three
books of poetry: "Underbrush" (1986), "In the Same Rivers"
(1989) and "After the Serpent's Word" (1997).
He has been Hope's "Campus Representative" to
"Christian Scholar's Review" for several years, and has been
poetry editor of "Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed
Thought" since January of 1995.
For more than a quarter century, he had a hand in
honoring hundreds of the college's top graduates, albeit
anonymously. An amateur calligrapher, he penned the
assorted "laude" designations on graduating seniors'
diplomas from around 1969 through 1994, until the college's
Registrar's Office automated the process as class sizes
continued to grow.
He has even returned to the pulpit on a few
occasions, at Hope Church, an RCA congregation in Holland,
where he's been an active member for 30 years.
In retirement, Fike will continue his work with
"Perspectives" and as a calligrapher. He plans to learn to
play the piano and guitar, to pursue genealogical research,
to travel with his Janice, and to continue to read and write
both poetry and prose.