Hope College’s 153rd Commencement, celebrating the graduating Class of 2018, will be held on Sunday, May 6, 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.

Find information for graduating students and families 

Commencement will be streamed online and broadcast live in the Concert Hall of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts.

Nearly 700 graduating seniors will be participating.

The Commencement speaker will be Dr. Temple Smith, assistant professor of sociology.  The Baccalaureate speaker will be Dr. Gerald Griffin, assistant professor of biology and psychology.

A member of the Hope faculty since 2012, Smith is passionate about young adults and the developmental transition from adolescence to adulthood as evidenced by her many academic, research and service projects. Her current research explores college-aged populations and the impact of childhood poverty on aspirations, opportunity construction and academic performance.

Temple SmithAddressing systemic educational inequities is a fundamental premise of her work.  Smith is dedicated to advancing retention capacity among college students who strive to overcome vulnerable circumstances due to systemic disadvantage.  Her most recent publications appear in the Journal of Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care and the Journal of Teaching Sociology.

She engages undergraduate students in mentoring and support relationships.  The college’s students named her the recipient of Hope’s Faculty Appreciation Award in 2016.

Smith graduated from Michigan State University in 2003 and participated in the Exchange Language Studies Program at Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2004.  She completed her doctorate at Michigan State University shortly before coming to Hope.

Gerald GriffinGriffin is a neuroscientist and virologist who began his dual-department faculty appointment at Hope in 2015.

His research interests primarily focus on the reciprocal interactions between viruses and the nervous system.  He has several peer-reviewed publications that represent his dedication to neuroscience research and education.

Griffin has mentored and published with more than 30 undergraduate and graduate students, and he has been active in numerous science-education outreach opportunities, including the national Brain Bee and Kids Judge! Neuroscience programs.  In 2017, he and the Hope students on his research team received the college’s Social Sciences Young Investigators Award for their collaborative investigation of a peptide connected to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

He graduated from Cornell University in 2003 and completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009.  Prior to coming to Hope, he was on the biology faculty at Tuskegee University for four years, previously serving as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania for two years.

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.