Eva Dean Folkert

Eva Dean Folkert’s dedication and care for Hope College Athletics were saluted during the HOPEYs award program at DeVos Fieldhouse on April 14, 2014.

The co-athletic director, who has decided to leave the job this May, received a video tribute and a special gift during the fourth-annual event.

Senior volleyball player Mari Schoolmaster of Portage (Portage Central HS) spoke about Folkert on behalf of Hope student-athletes.

“Eva is a supporter and advocate for all of us, both in the classroom and on the court,” Schoolmaster said. “She is known for her enthusiasm for student-athletes and passion for sport. Her passion is contagious. We always know she is supporting every one of us.

“We wanted to take this time to thank you for being a mentor, teacher, coach and our biggest fan.”

Folkert’s impact will continue to be felt on and off the court after she leaves, Schoolmaster said.

A humbled Folkert thanked the student-athletes and her colleagues for the memories they gave her.

“(The memories) don’t deal with wins. They don’t deal with stats. They deal with people,” Folkert said. “Sport makes a difference. It makes a difference in people’s lives.

“What I am going to remember is when I see Caleb Byers (of the men’s basketball team) … play ‘Capture the Flag’ with a child survivor of cancer. What I am going to remember is watching Jordan Scholten (of the women’s basketball team) out on the soccer field with a Special Olympian kicking the soccer ball.

“Those are just two (memories). There are 25,000 more. I am so grateful I was part of that.”