With two major building projects progressing, it has again been a summer of change on the Hope College campus, preparation for the coming school year.

Residence halls for Hope's new students will open on Friday, Aug. 26, and fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication was completed and its departments and programs have started moving in. The building houses the departments of communication and modern and classical languages, and the offices of international education and multicultural life. The building is also now home for the "Anchor" weekly student newspaper and WTHS, the college's student-run FM radio station.

Work on the DeVos Fieldhouse has continued in anticipation of the building's debut with the 2005-06 basketball season. In addition to work on the building itself, activity has included work on the grounds, such as grading the intramural fields that will be on the building's east side and removing college-owned houses on the west side of the fieldhouse site.

The college has also started another major construction project: an expansion of the Cook residence hall. The addition, to the east side of the building, will provide housing for 66 more students. Currently, Cook has 100 rooms that serve 184 students. The project will be completed in time for the start of the 2006-07 school year.

In other projects across campus, a new polyurethane surface has been placed on the track at Buys Athletic Fields, portions of the DeWitt Center have been re-roofed, and a variety of cottages have received cosmetic improvements or new roofs.

The new and renovated facilities will be put to good use. Once again, the college is anticipating a fall enrollment of more than 3,000 students.

The opening convocation for the coming school year, the college's 144th academic year, will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

The convocation address will be delivered by Dr. Deirdre Johnston, who is an associate professor of communication and chairperson of the department.

Johnston has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994. She specializes in intercultural communication research, persuasion, interpersonal communication, conflict, mass media effects and motherhood research.

She has written and co-written several articles published in scholarly journals. She has been conducting her research on motherhood with Dr. Debra H. Swanson, who is an associate professor of sociology at Hope, and one of their articles was a finalist for the 2003 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research. She author of the textbook "The Art and Science of Persuasion," published by McGraw-Hill, and is writing with Dr. Scott Vander Stoep of the Hope psychology faculty a text on research methods, to be published by Prentice Hall.

Johnston joined the Hope faculty as an assistant professor, and was promoted to associate professor in 1999. She has served as department chair since 2003. It has been a particularly active period of time for the department, which has grown significantly in recent years and moved into the college's new Martha Miller Center for Global Communication at the beginning of the month.

Prior to coming to Hope, Johnston had taught at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., for five years. She also taught at Ohio University in Athens during 1988-89.

She began her study of communication at Drake University, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 1983. She completed her Master of Arts in communication at the University of Texas in 1985, and her doctorate in communication at the University of Iowa in 1988.