Hope College’s 152nd Commencement, celebrating the graduating Class of 2017, will be held on Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m. at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.

Baccalaureate will be held earlier in the day, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

Approximately 750 graduating seniors will be participating.

Find information for graduating students and families

greenThe Commencement speaker will be Dr. Chuck Green, professor of psychology and former director of the Phelps Scholars Program.  The Baccalaureate speaker will be Sandra Gaddy, who is chief executive officer of the Women’s Resource Center in Grand Rapids as well as a member of the college’s Board of Trustees and co-chair with her husband, Arlen, of Hope’s Parents’ Council.

Green has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1983.  He is a social psychologist who works to share social science research on race and culture with a broader audience.  His recent teaching emphasis has included the First-Year Seminar program as well as the courses “Race in America,” “Race in Health and Health Care,” “Race in Christian Faith and Life,” and “Social Psychology.”

He was the founding director of the college’s Phelps Scholars Program, an academic program for first-year students interested in learning about issues of race and culture, which he led from 1998 through 2013.  His active involvement in the college’s academic program has also included service in the past as director of the educational assessment program, as co-coordinator of the general education program, as director of the First-Year Seminar program, as director of the Carl Frost Center for Social Science Research and chairing the committee concerned with restructuring the college’s core curriculum in the mid-1990s. He delivered the college’s Opening Convocation address in 1999 and spoke through the Last Lecture Series coordinated by the college’s chapter of the Mortar Board honorary society in 2014.

Among other community involvement through the years, he has worked with the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA) in a variety of ways, including as a member of the planning committee for several Lakeshore Region Summits on Racism, including the first in 2001.  He was also on the planning committee for the Holland Pow Wow for five years, and is actively involved in his church, New Community Fourth Reformed Church.

Green received a Michigan Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award in February 2005.  He has received multiple awards from Hope during the college’s Faculty Recognition Luncheon held each January, including the “Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program” in 2003, the “Ruth and John Reed Faculty Achievement Award” in 2011 and the “Motoichiro Oghimi Global Courage Award” in 2013.  In May 2006 he received the college’s seventh annual “Vanderbush-Weller Development Fund” award for strong, positive impact on students, and in both the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2010 he received the faculty appreciation award presented by the college’s Student Activities Committee and student life office during Homecoming.

He is a 1978 graduate of Trevecca College, and completed his master's and doctorate at the University of Florida in 1980 and 1983 respectively.  His wife, Fonda, is executive director of the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) program at Hope.  They have three children:  Aaron, who graduated from Hope in 2008; Adam, who graduated from Hope in 2010; and Hannah, who graduated from Hope in 2012.

gaddyGaddy became chief executive officer of the Women’s Resource Center, an organization which empowers and educates women to achieve greater economic independence through meaningful employment, in March.  She was previously vice president of advancement for Inner City Christian Federation-ICCF in Grand Rapids and had also served as chief marketing and communication officer for Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids. In addition, she spent 15 years in various roles in banking, including as vice president at two different banks.

Gaddy is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan Chapter, and serves on the West Michigan Regional Council for Inforum of Michigan, which is a professional women’s alliance, and the Grand Rapids Chamber’s Black Women Connect Committee,   She is a member of Word of Faith Christian Center in Grand Rapids, where she has been actively involved for nearly 20 years.

In addition to her involvement in the life of the college through the Board of Trustees and the Parents’ Council, Gaddy was the introductory speaker for the “Hope Serves” event in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2016, and in the fall of 2015 was a classroom presenter and panel discussion moderator at the “Women in the Workplace” event on campus. 

Gaddy graduated from Cornerstone University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management, and also attended Ferris State University. She and her husband Arlen have three children:  Marissa, who lives and works in Grand Rapids; Garrison, who serves in the U.S. Navy stationed in San Diego; and Angelique, who is a member of the graduating class at Hope. 

In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.  Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.