The 147th academic year at Hope College will begin formally with the college's Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The 147th academic year at Hope College will begin formally with the college's Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The featured speaker will be Dr. John Cox, who is the DuMez Professor of English at Hope.

Residence halls for new students will open on Friday, Aug. 22, at 10 a.m., with New Student Orientation beginning later that day and continuing through Monday, Aug. 25.  Residence halls for returning students will open on Sunday, Aug. 24, at noon.  Fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 8 a.m.

Hope facilities will again be put to good use, with the college expecting more than 800 incoming new students.  Hope anticipates that enrollment will top 3,100 for the fifth consecutive year.

The results of multiple renovations will greet students when they arrive on campus.

The most obvious will be ongoing, as the restoration of Graves Hall continues.  The safety fencing went up around the building shortly after graduation in May, and construction is scheduled to continue through 2009.  The college anticipates that the building will be back in use with the spring 2010 semester.

Kollen Hall has received new energy-efficient windows (replacing the 1956-era originals) as well as new cosmetic treatments and student furniture, and Voorhees Hall has been reroofed.  The President's Home has been extensively redecorated inside, as well as repainted outside and reroofed.

Major work has also been taking place underground.  The City of Holland is replacing the sanitary sewer and water lines under 12th Street from Pine Avenue to Fairbanks Avenue.  Re-use lines being installed at the same time will enable the college in a few years to irrigate the campus in a more environmentally friendly way than drawing upon the city system's drinking water.  In a related change, the portion of 12th Street between Columbia Avenue and the former railroad crossing is being replaced with a single sidewalk and landscaping along the middle of the former roadway.

Cox, who is a 1967 Hope graduate, has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1979.  His primary scholarly interests are Renaissance drama and the works of William Shakespeare.

He is the author of the books "Seeming Knowledge: Shakespeare and Skeptical Faith" (Baylor University Press, 2007); "The Devil and the Sacred in Early English Drama, 1350-1642" (Cambridge University Press, 2000); and "Shakespeare and the Dramaturgy of Power" (Princeton University Press, 1989).  He also co-edited two other books:  the Third Arden Shakespeare Edition of "Henry VI, Part 3" (Thomson Learning, 2001) and "A New History of Early English Drama" (Columbia University Press, 1997).  In addition, he has written many scholarly articles and book reviews on Renaissance drama and contemporary writers.

The high quality of his scholarship has been recognized in a variety of ways.  "A New History of Early English Drama" was named Book of the Year by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and "The Devil and the Sacred in Early English Drama, 1350-1642" was a finalist for the David Bevington Prize.  Among other external acknowledgements, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for both 1985-86 and 2004-05; a Pew Charitable Trusts Fellowship for 1995-96; and an NEH Summer Stipend for 1993.

Cox was recently elected to an unprecedented third two-year term as president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature.  His distinctions also include having held summer teaching appointments at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University in 1988 and 1979 respectively, and being named a Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard during 1978-79.

Cox joined the Hope faculty as an assistant professor; was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and professor in 1989; and was named the first recipient of the DuMez Endowed Professorship in 1996.  From 1984 to 2004 he served as director of interdisciplinary studies at the college.

Prior to teaching at Hope he held positions at Westmon College in Santa Barbara, Calif., and the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  He holds his master's and doctorate from the University of Chicago.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.