The 153rd academic year at Hope College will begin formally with the college’s traditional Opening Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. in the DeVos Fieldhouse.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Patrice Rankine, who is dean for the arts and humanities and a professor of Classics and will present "The Urgency of Now."  The public is invited to the convocation, and admission is free.

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 is anticipating record enrollment for the fourth consecutive year as the fall semester approaches, assuring that campus facilities will be put to full use when the new and returning students arrive later this month.

Hope doesn’t log enrollment officially until mid-September, following the formal close date for the process, but the 840-strong incoming class will be joining the three largest classes in the history of the college, leaving Hope poised to top last year’s record high of 3,388 students.  It will be the third year in a row that enrollment has exceeded 3,300.

The college has been preparing the campus for the new school year since even before 2013-14 concluded.  The most major initiative across the summer has been the renovation and expansion of Phelps dining hall, completing the second phase of a two-year project.  Other work has ranged from relocating the Center for Faithful Leadership from the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center to Van Zoeren Hall, to consolidating the offices of Public and Community Relations and Integrated Marketing in new quarters in Anderson-Werkman, to replacing the windows of Durfee Hall, to adding three cottages as student housing.  The nearly 150 projects have been in addition to the ongoing construction of the Jack H. Center for Musical Arts and the Kruizenga Art Museum, both scheduled for completion during the 2015-16 school year.

Rankine joined the Hope faculty in 2013.  He was previously on the Classics faculty at Purdue University for 15 years, with affiliations in the African American Studies and Research Center, comparative literature, and philosophy and literature.  He was assistant head of Purdue’s School of Languages and Cultures from 2007 to 2012, and was director of the university’s Interdisciplinary Program in Classics from 2004 to 2007.

Rankine completed his doctorate in Classical literature at Yale University in 1998 with his dissertation on Seneca’s tragedies.  He has since developed interdisciplinary interests in African American literature and the reception of the Classics among black American authors.

He is the author of the books “Aristotle and Black Drama: A Theater of Civil Disobedience” (2013, Baylor University Press) and “Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature” (2006, University of Wisconsin Press), the latter of which was named one of “Choice” magazine’s outstanding academic books in 2007.  His publications also include numerous articles, book chapters and book reviews.  In addition, he has made more than four dozen scholarly talks at professional conferences and in other settings.

Rankine has received external awards and honors including an Andrew Mellon Graduate Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Foundation Career Enhancement Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar Fellowship and an invitation to serve as an NEH Summer Institute faculty member.  Recognition from Purdue University included the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Frederick L. Hovde Award for Outstanding Faculty Fellow, as well as grants and fellowships in support of his teaching and research.

Rankine graduated from Brooklyn College in 1992, and he also holds Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees from Yale in addition to his doctorate.  Prior to joining the Purdue University faculty, he served as an instructor at New School for Social Research of New York University, at Bronx Community College and at Brooklyn College.

Live Streaming of the Opening Convocation