Retired Hope College executive Robert N. DeYoung received recognition for his decades of service during an appropriate occasion:  the Homecoming Weekend 180th anniversary celebration for the fraternity that he had joined as a student.

DeYoung, a 1956 Hope graduate who had served in a variety of capacities on the Hope staff from 1965 until retiring as vice president for college advancement in 2000, received the college’s Meritorious Service Award on Saturday, Oct. 18, during the 180th anniversary celebration of the Fraternal Society fraternity, held at the J.W. Marriott in Grand Rapids.

Presented by the Hope College Alumni Association, the award recognizes a person’s contributions to Hope through notable service and long-time involvement with the college.  The citation for the award noted, “Bob has often been defined as ‘Mr. Hope College,’ which is a perfect description.  His personal service to Hope has been developing life-long relationships with students, alumni and friends of the college.  Professionally his Hope College journey has allowed him to serve the college in admissions, student affairs and college advancement all with conspicuous success.”

DeYoung joined the Hope staff as an associate director of admissions in 1965.  He became dean of men in 1966, was appointed dean of students in 1968 and was promoted to vice president for student affairs in 1972.  He became involved with fundraising at the college in 1974, when he was appointed vice president for development and college relations.

In 1989, DeYoung received the Benjamin Franklin Award for fund raising management from the West Michigan Chapter of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives (NSFRE).  Under his leadership, Hope was recognized nationally for outstanding fund raising management, including twice in a row receiving the CASE/USX (Council for Advancement and Support of Education and USX Foundation) award for the best total development program among all U.S. undergraduate colleges with more than 10,000 alumni.

He has been active in church, community and professional organizations.  His numerous local activities include having served in the past as president of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Holland Country Club, and in 1996 he received the chamber’s Distinguished Service Award.

Prior to joining the Hope staff, he taught, coached football and was a counselor at Whitehall High School, and was on the admissions staffs at both Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.

The college’s Alumni H-Club presented him with its sixth annual “Hope for Humanity” award in 1995, and the Hope College Alumni Association presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.  The college’s annual golf outing, established during his leadership of development and college relations, was named in his honor in 2000; and in 2009, the volleyball gymnasium in the college’s DeVos Fieldhouse was named in honor of DeYoung and his wife, Marcia, a 1955 graduate who died on Jan. 3, 2007.

The DeYoungs’ three children are all Hope alumni, and three of their grandchildren are also alumni or current students.

The Fraternal Society predates the founding of Hope, which enrolled its first freshman class in the fall of 1862 and received its charter from the State of Michigan on May 14, 1866.  The society was established in 1834 at Union College in Schenectady, New York, as a literary society by 10 men who believed in the pursuit of friendship, love and truth.  The Rev. Philip Phelps Jr., a Frater alumnus and Hope’s first president, reactivated the society in 1864 while he was serving as president of the Holland Academy from which the college grew.