An exchange agreement signed earlier this month affirms the decade-long exchange relationship between Hope College and Liverpool Hope University in England.

The exchange builds on Hope's institutional priority to expand international opportunities for students and faculty.

The agreement signed on Thursday, Sept. 14, commits the two institutions to finding new ways to collaborate and exchange students and faculty. Dr. James Boelkins, provost, signed the agreement with Dr. Gerald Pillay, professor and rector of Liverpool Hope University. The signing ceremony took place during a week-long visit by Boelkins along with Alfredo Gonzales, associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education, and Dr. Richard Mezeske, professor of education and chairperson of the department.

Hope's first exchange with the university took place in the fall of 1997, when two students from the university spent the semester at Hope to complete their student teaching. Hope students started studying in Liverpool during the spring of 1998, the same year that Hope initiated an education May Term in Liverpool. Although teacher education has been a primary focus of the two schools' relationship, Hope students majoring in fields other than education have studied at the English university as well, a breadth that the new agreement will seek to expand.

The relationship began in 1996, when representatives of the university visited Hope while in the process of renaming their institution. They liked the college's name and felt that it suited well their own institution's mission.

The university had formed in 1980 as an ecumenical federation of three teacher education colleges - two Catholic and one founded by the Church of England--under the holding title of Liverpool Institute of Higher Education. Initially renamed Liverpool Hope University College, it became Liverpool Hope University in 2005.

The university's history extends more than 160 years, with its three founding colleges established in 1844, 1856 and 1965 respectively. Today Liverpool Hope University enrolls more than 7,000 students from more than 60 countries worldwide.