In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF), Hope College on Monday, Aug. 27, dedicated a red maple tree on its campus to recognize its long-standing relationship with MCF.

The Michigan Colleges Foundation solicits financial support from businesses and corporations on behalf of independent higher education in Michigan. Since its beginning in 1949, the Foundation has raised nearly $60 million for its 14 member colleges. It has done so with the active support of the leaders of the Michigan business community and of the 14 member college presidents.

Member colleges, including Hope College, are private, four-year liberal arts colleges, accredited by the North Central Association. All are dedicated to providing the very best education with a strong emphasis on teaching. While each member college has its own mission, Hope's mission is to offer with recognized excellence, academic programs in liberal arts, in the setting of a residential, undergraduate, coeducational college, and in the context of the historic Christian faith.

"The planting of a living tree serves as a metaphor for growth and development," said Hope College President James E. Bultman. "Just as the tree grows on the campus grounds, so students grow who attend Hope. Just as the tree provides shade or relief from the heat, so foundations and charitable organizations provide relief to colleges and students."

Participants in the ceremony included William H. Liebold II, President of the Michigan Colleges Foundation; Hope College Professor Caroline Simon, who serves on the college's Board of Trustees; Hope student Tara Bratton of Zeeland, Mich., who is the recipient of a Michigan Colleges Foundation scholarship; Hope College Dean of the Chapel Timothy L. Brown; and Hope College Senior Vice President William Anderson.

Hope College has been a member of the Michigan Colleges Foundation since 1959 and has received nearly $4 million from the Michigan Colleges Foundation -- an average of approximately $90,000 annually over the last 42 years. Those monies have provided scholarships for many deserving students who would not otherwise have been able to obtain a values-based, high quality education at Hope College.