Hope College is the intended recipient of a $7.5 million anchor gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation to serve as a catalyst to enable the college to assume a leadership role in addressing some of the spectator facility needs of the college and Holland community.

Hope College President James E. Bultman made the announcement Monday (March 26) at a press conference on campus.

"We are very grateful to Richard and Helen DeVos who through their generosity are allowing us to set a vision that will benefit generations of Hope students and Holland area residents for decades to come," said Bultman.

Bultman noted that representatives of the college are in the preliminary stages of exploring the potential impact of this gift on the design and location of a facility that would be owned and operated by Hope College.

While still early in the process, college officials are envisioning a spectator facility that would seat approximately 3,500 people for athletic events and would be located on the eastern gateway of the campus.

"This gift builds on earlier community-based initiatives, including the most recent efforts of the Area Center Authority and the Civic Center Task Force," said Bultman. "It stimulates the process which has both exciting and realistic potential."

He said college officials will involve community leaders, including those representing the City of Holland, Holland Christian Schools and Holland Public Schools.

Bultman said the anchor gift will require other financial support. "This is a project that Hope College cannot and should not complete independently," he said. "We look forward to engaging supporters in determining the feasibility of such a facility that would impact the college and the community in mutually beneficial ways."

The gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation is the largest to be given to Hope College for a capital project.

Hope College has played its men's basketball games at the Holland Civic Center since the 1954-55 season. The men's basketball team has not played its home games in an on-campus facility since the 1929-30 season when it moved from the Carnegie-Schouten gymnasium to the Holland (National Guard) Armory where games were played until the current Holland Civic Center was built.

The Dow Health and Physical Education Center, opened on the Hope campus in 1978, was designed as an activity-oriented facility and has served to a limited degree as a spectator facility for some intercollegiate sports such as women's basketball, swimming and volleyball.