Snow-covered statue of founder Albertus C. Van Raalte

It is a rare occurrence when Hope College closes because of the winter weather. Being a residential college with a majority of students living on-campus, Hope has continued to operate even on days when area schools and businesses are closed.

The closings this month were very rare, if not historic, because the storm in the first week delayed the start of the new semester out of concern for students' safety in travelling to reach campus.

Here is a recent history of winter weather related campus closings:

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 -- Travel on Holland area roads is restricted by law enforcement, preventing faculty and staff from reaching campus. Students, already on campus, get to enjoy a day off. Many make snow sculptures and enjoy outdoor wintertime activities.

Thursday & Friday, Jan. 16-17, 1997 -- The school day started on Thursday, but by mid-morning classes were cancelled and offices were closed so faculty and staff could leave ahead of a worsening blizzard. The college remained closed on Friday, although services for students continued.

Thursday, Dec. 14, 1996 -- An ice storm delayed the start of the school day until mid-morning so glazed sidewalks and parking lots could be made safe.

Friday, Jan. 28, 1994 -- Out of concern for students and staff because Holland roads and campus sidewalks were coated with ice, the college cancelled classes. The so-called "Great Ice Storm of '94" prompted some creativity. The Hope and Adrian swim teams overcame the hazards of travel competing against each other over the phone. Each team swam at its home pool and then compared times over the telephone. Hope won both the men's and women's meet.

February, 1978 -- A blizzard that plugged Holland's streets and shut even the nearby Interstate highway for days caused the campus to close.