Hundreds will be experiencing a new beginning during Hope College’s Opening Convocation on Sunday, including the speaker.

President John C. Knapp, whose tenure as the college’s 12th president began in July, will deliver the address “Life Together” during the event, which is geared especially toward new students and their families.

The convocation, the formal start of the college’s 152nd academic year, will take place at 2 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.   The public is invited, and admission is free.

The new students will be in only their third day on campus.  Residence halls for new students will open on Friday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m., with New Student Orientation beginning that day and continuing through Monday, Aug. 26.  Residence halls for returning students will open on Sunday, Aug. 25, at noon.

Fall semester classes will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 8 a.m.

Hope is anticipating that the high enrollment of the past several years will continue.  The incoming class totals about 825 students, a number deliberately set lower than last year’s record of 904 to help keep overall enrollment at approximately 3,300 to best match the college’s capacity.  Last year’s enrollment was a record-high 3,343, the seventh year in a row that enrollment had topped 3,200.

Numerous campus improvements will greet the new and returning students, including a new academic building and housing complex.  The Haworth Engineering Wing of VanderWerf Hall was completed this summer, as was the Tom and Ryan Cook Village that will provide up-scale housing for 60 upper-level students.  New landscaping at the former 11th Street between Columbia and Lincoln avenues is part of the site preparation for the new Kruizenga Art Museum, and the Phelps Hall dining hall is in the midst of a two-year renovation that has thus far shifted the dining hall’s north entrance and dish room as well as the resident director’s quarters.  Other projects include relocation of the music library to the Van Wylen Library; repairing and recovering the two staircases in the hill south of Lubbers Hall; a new visitor parking lot on Columbia Avenue near the former 12th Street; a renovation of the second-floor administrative wing of the DeWitt Center; remodeling and landscaping at the President’s Home; and replacement of windows at Phelps Hall.

Dr. John C. Knapp’s selection as Hope’s 12th president was announced in March.  His leadership experience includes higher education and business, and his scholarship includes multiple books and articles on leadership ethics, issues in higher education, and the intersection of faith and work.  Immediately prior to coming to Hope, he had served since 2008 at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., where he was founding director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership and the University Professor and Mann Family Professor of Ethics and Leadership.  His inauguration is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 4, in conjunction with the college’s Homecoming Weekend.