Recognition by the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce provided an opportunity to celebrate not only Hope College but also a town-gown relationship that has enhanced the college and city alike for nearly a century and a half.

Hope received the second annual Corporate Leadership Award, presented by the chamber's board of directors, during the chamber's Annual Meeting Luncheon on Friday, Oct 9, at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center.

The award recognizes companies and organizations that have made a significant impact in the community through a history of local investment and job creation.  It was symbolized by the presentation of a crystal sculpture hand-crafted by an artist in Poland and named, appropriately enough, "Partnership."

"Hope College and Holland, Michigan, have enjoyed a mutually rewarding town-gown relationship for nearly 150 years," said presenter Dale Sowders, who is chairman of the chamber's board of directors and president and chief executive officer of Holland Hospital.

Sowders cited a variety of ways that the college affects the community, ranging from presentations and cultural events open to the public; to Hope's role as an employer of some 780 faculty and staff; to the college's overall economic impact on the area, estimated at some $275 million annually; to the 5,000 Hope alumni living in the Holland area.

"The total contributions of Hope College, both tangible and intangible. we believe truly is beyond measure," Sowders said.

The award was accepted on Hope's behalf by Brian W. Koop of Holland, who is vice-chairperson of the college's Board of Trustees, and President James E. Bultman.

"Hope and Holland are inextricably linked.  It's a symbiotic relationship," he said.

"Hope College loves Holland, Michigan.  Hope College would not be the compelling institution that it is without Holland," he said.  "Holland would not be the same without Hope."