A total of 19 long-time members of the Hope College faculty are retiring this year.

Their service totals more than 600 years, with individuals’ time at Hope ranging from 14 to 52 years.  They represent 12 academic departments.

It’s the largest faculty-retiree “graduating class” in the history of the college.  The previous high was 13 members of the faculty in 2000.

The retirees, and the year that each joined the faculty, are listed below.  Biographical sketches of each are featured.

Barry Bandstra, professor of religion and director of academic computing (1983)

Dr. Barry BandstraDr. Barry Bandstra
Professor of Religion and Director of Academic Computing

Since 1983, Professor of Religion Dr. Barry Bandstra has taught generations of Hope students about biblical Hebrew, the Old Testament, and other topics in biblical studies and theology. He also frequently taught a First Year Seminar and a capstone Senior Seminar within the college’s interdisciplinary studies program. He served for a time as chair of the Department of Religion and held the Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink endowed professorship from 2004 to 2014. 

Bandstra’s research niche is application of Hallidayan systemic functional grammar to the linguistic description of the biblical text. He is a past chair of the Society of Biblical Literature’s Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew section and of the Ugaritic and Northwest Semitics section.

In a counterpoint to his focus on ancient texts, Bandstra helped to develop Hope’s academic computing program. As its director he provided leadership for other technology-related initiatives including the college’s course management system and development of online courses. In an interdisciplinary course, he taught students to apply the Python coding language to text analysis. In 2011 the college honored his efforts with an Academic Computing Advisory Team Innovation Award. He also is a recipient of the Janet L. Andersen Award for Excellence in Teaching.  

Bandstra’s textbook Reading the Old Testament (Wadsworth, 2004, now in its fourth edition) teaches students how to read the Hebrew Bible and “mine it” for literary, historical and thematic meaning. His Genesis 1–11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text was published in 2008 by Baylor University Press.  

He holds a B.S. in philosophy from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a B.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Yale. Before joining the Hope faculty he taught at Yale College, Geneva College, Calvin Theological Seminary and Harvard University.

Albert Bell, professor of history (1978)

Dr. Albert Bell Jr.Dr. Albert Bell Jr.
Professor of History

As a historian specializing in the early Roman Empire, Professor of History Dr. Albert Bell Jr.’s teaching has spanned two subjects: history and classics. He joined the faculty in 1978 with a joint appointment to both departments. In 1994 he moved full-time to the Department of History, which he chaired for the decade that followed.

Bell taught Latin, Greek, and courses in Greek and Roman history (plus a few on the Florentine Renaissance of the 14th and 15th centuries). He particularly enjoyed teaching the introductory course on ancient civilizations and helping students grasp how much impact long-ago events still have on the world today. 

His scholarly interests include the development of the Christian church in the context of the Roman Empire, and the first century Roman writer Pliny the Younger.

Some of Bell’s 19 books are of a scholarly nature, including Exploring the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Jesus and the First Christians (Thomas Nelson, 1998) and, with former Hope philosophy professor Dr. James Allis, Resources in Ancient Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, 1991).

He also is a prolific novelist. His mysteries for adults include some set in contemporary times, plus eight set in ancient Rome with Pliny the Younger as the detective. Library Journal named The Blood of Caesar (Ingalls Publishing, 2008) one of the five best mysteries of that year. Bell also has written three novels for children, and Perfect Game, Imperfect Lives (Ingalls, 2006), a memoir centered on New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen’s perfect game during the 1956 World Series. 

He is an alumnus of Carson-Newman College (B.A.), Duke University (M.A.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (Ph.D.).

Nancy Cook, professor of education (1986)

Nancy CookNancy Cook, M.A.
Professor of Education

For 17 years ending in 2020, Professor of Education Nancy Cook directed the Hope College Department of Education student teacher program, the capstone experience in which Hope students preparing for careers as educators spend a semester working and learning alongside an experienced teacher in the field, supported by Hope faculty and staff.  

A special educator since 1973, Cook holds a Michigan elementary teaching certification with endorsements in cognitive impairments, learning disabilities and fine arts. She began teaching part-time at Hope in 1986 while continuing to work part-time in a nearby public school district. From 1987 to 2003, she participated in the Department of Education’s innovative Half-Time Professor program. She joined the Hope faculty full-time in 2003 and was promoted to full professor in 2009. 

Cook’s teaching has focused on elements of special education including learning disabilities, assessment, remediation and elementary and middle school instructional design. She was a faculty co-sponsor of Hope’s student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children and served in recent years as co-director of the Department of Education’s Hope Comes to Watts May Term. 

The Hope College Class of 2000 selected Cook as the outstanding faculty member of that year, and in 2017 she received the college’s Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award.

In a major initiative over a period of years, Cook and her department colleague Dr. Susan VanderVeen ’84 Brondyk reassessed Hope’s student teaching model and introduced innovative features to make the relationship between student teachers and their mentors more collaborative and growth-oriented. After making a number of standing-room-only presentations at national and regional conventions about Hope’s updated student teaching model, Cook and Brondyk wrote a book about it: How One Educator Preparation Program Reinvented Student Teaching: A Story of Transformation (Peter Lang, 2020).

Cook earned her B.A. and M.A. in special education from Michigan State University. 

Teunis (Tony) Donk, professor of education (1987 and 1996)

Dr. Tony DonkDr. Teunis (Tony) Donk
Professor of Education

Since joining the Department of Education faculty in 1996, Professor of Education Dr. Teunis (Tony) Donk has been teaching Hope College education majors how to help young children learn to read. He also regularly taught a First Year Seminar and a Senior Seminar.

Long interested in the use of technology in elementary schools, he is currently engaged in research on the use of iPads for writing instruction at the kindergarten level, a project in which he partners with two former students who now teach in West Michigan. Together they have made presentations at conferences of the Michigan Association for Computer Users and Learners, National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Reading Association. In 2020 they published an article about the project in the Michigan Reading Journal. 

With his former department colleague Dr. Jeannine Dell’Olio, Donk is the co-author of Models of Teaching: Connecting Learning with Standards (Sage, 2007). He has presented at international, national, state and local conferences.

His connections with students outside the classroom range from advising the Ski and Snowboarding Club to co-leading several travel-study courses his department sponsors. He founded its Liverpool Program in 1998 and for more than 20 years co-led the literacy-focused summer program. More recently he helped lead the Rosebud May Term during which Hope students work with teachers and social workers in classrooms on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation and learn about Oglala Lakota culture.  

Before joining the Hope faculty, Donk taught elementary and middle school for 17 years. From 1987 to 1992, he taught fifth grade in the morning and at Hope in the afternoons.

The self-described “fanatical reader” majored in English at Western Michigan University, where he earned a B.A. and MSW. He received his Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching and educational policy from Michigan State University.

Natalie Dykstra, professor of English (2000)

Dr. Natalie DykstraDr. Natalie Dykstra
Professor of English

The Hope College campus in Holland, Michigan, is just one of the places Hope students have engaged with Professor of English Dr. Natalie Dykstra. 

Dykstra joined the Department of English in 2000. During her 21 years at Hope her courses focused on topics such as biography, literature by American women, and American writers in Paris. In 2013, she won a Mellon Scholars Program Award for excellence in mentoring. 

Some students also conducted research with her through the Boston Summer Seminar, a faculty-student program she founded and directed, which was sponsored by the Great Lakes Colleges Association. Others joined her in Paris, where she directed a summer research program  at the American Library as part of an interdisciplinary cluster of Hope College courses related to the city’s art, history, and  culture.  

Dykstra has received two year-long fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support her research and writing of biographies of American women involved in the arts. The first, Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. She is at work on the second, a biography of art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner, who founded one of Boston’s iconic museums. She is an elected Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In recent years Dykstra split her time between Michigan and Boston, teaching at Hope in the fall and spending each spring immersed in research and writing. In 2015, she was writer-in-residence at The Mount, the western Massachusetts home of the renowned early 20th- century author Edith Wharton.

Dykstra received her bachelor’s degree from Calvin University in classics and her master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in  American studies. She earned her Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Kansas. 

Jenifer Gardiner, adjunct assistant professor of art instruction (1997)

Jennifer GardinerJennifer Gardiner  
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art Instruction    

Printmaker, painter and collage artist Jennifer Gardiner began teaching art at Hope College in 1997. Her courses have centered on drawing, life drawing, printmaking and watercolor. She also has taught a First Year Seminar, worked with advanced students engaged in independent studio art projects, and led the Senior Seminar in which students produce individual work, collaborate to mount the annual Juried Student Show in Hope’s De Pree Gallery, and prepare for entry into the job market.  

Gardiner’s broader responsibilities at the college have included serving on the committee that selects new pieces to be accepted into the collection of the college’s Kruizenga Art Museum. 

She was faculty advisor for five years to Hope’s chapter of the Delta Phi (“Delphi”) sorority. 

Gardiner paints in the style of classic 1950s abstract expressionism. As a process painter, she does not begin a piece with a preconceived idea; each work develops through the process of making, with each mark she makes informing the next one. Pablo Picasso, Robert Motherwell and Antonio Tapías are among the artists whose work has influenced her own.  

Her artwork is in corporate collections including those of Herman Miller, Macatawa Bank, Steelcase and Neiman Marcus. In addition to frequent exhibitions in Michigan, her work has been featured in galleries across the country, including in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC. She is currently preparing pieces for exhibition in summer 2021 at the Armstrong DeGraaf International Fine Art Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Gardiner earned her BFA in printmaking from the University of Michigan and her MFA in the same field from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

Donna Garrett, assistant professor of nursing (2006)

Dr. Donna GarrettDr. Donna Garrett
Assistant Professor of Nursing

Just six months into Dr. Donna Garrett’s 30 years of hospital nursing, she began working in a critical care unit with patients recovering from open heart surgery. Her decades of experience caring for adults with heart and vascular disease in acute care settings has been evident in her teaching at Hope College and in her research and professional presentations on topics related to cardiovascular testing, risk factors and care. 

Over her 15 years of teaching nursing at Hope, Garrett’s courses have focused on care of adult patients in the acute care setting, and have included Pathophysiology, Clinical Reasoning, Health Assessment and Pharmacology. She taught and supervised students during nursing research practicums and the adult medical-surgical practicum. She regarded supervising students during their practicum fieldwork as an opportunity to connect with them both professionally and on a personal level, and she has enjoyed watching them succeed in their chosen careers.

Garrett began her medical training at the Miami Valley (Ohio) Hospital School of Nursing and received her BSN and a master’s degree in burn and trauma nursing from the University of Cincinnati. While serving from 2014 to 2020 as the chair of Hope’s Department of Nursing, she completed her doctoral studies and received her Ph.D. in nursing in 2019 from the Marcella Niehoff College of Nursing of Loyola University Chicago.

As chair, she guided the department through a successful re-accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and through the remodeling of a skills lab into a state-of-the-art simulation lab, which students began using in 2017. 

Before joining the Hope faculty in 2006, Garrett served as a staff nurse in surgical and medical intensive care units and as a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist at hospitals in Grand Rapids and Cincinnati. 

Steven Hoogerwerf, associate professor of religion (1992)

Dr. Steven HoogerwerfDr. Steven Hoogerwerf
Associate Professor of Religion

Professor of Religion Dr. Steven Hoogerwerf’s teaching and writing about Christian medical and sexual ethics dovetail naturally with his work in ministry and social services, before and during his 28 years as a member of the Hope College faculty. 

Hoogerwerf, a 1977 Hope alumnus who is ordained in the Reformed Church in America, has served not only as a Hope College professor of religion but also as a hospice chaplain, pastor, and director of an emergency food and shelter program. In retirement, he plans to continue serving as the healthcare ethics consultant for Holland Hospital and two residential facilities for senior citizens.   

In his course Christian Love, students were invited to consider — often through intense discussions — how the Bible’s central theme of love can be embodied in key areas of life. His other courses on theology and ethics have included Religion and Atrocity, Vocation and Health Care, and Ethics and Christian Discipleship. His recent book, Honoring God with Body and Mind (Cascade, 2019), explores Christian sexual ethics.  

Ten times between 2007 and 2019, Hoogerwerf led a May Term service-learning course on the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota, which gave students the opportunity to listen to the voices and stories of people whose experience was usually very different from their own. 

Hoogerwerf joined the Hope College faculty in 1992. He is a recipient of the college’s Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award. Students also honored him during his years at Hope with the Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Professor Educator Award from the Class of 2007, and invitations to deliver a Commencement address and “Last Lecture.”   

Hoogerwerf holds an M.Div. from Western Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Duke University.

Doug Iverson, assistant professor of economics & Ruch Executive-in-Residence (1983 and 2012)

Doug IversonDouglas Iverson, MBA
Assistant Professor of Economics and Ruch Executive-in-Residence

As assistant professor and executive-in-residence in the Department of Economics and Business, Douglas J. Iverson ’72 has been a teacher, an advisor and a mentor to students eager to tap into his extensive experience in the banking sector.

Iverson worked in the field for more than 41 years before coming back to Hope to teach full-time. A veteran of Fifth Third Bank, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, and Ottawa Financial Corporation (later AmeriBank), which he served as CEO, Iverson began teaching part-time in the 1990s alongside his banking positions. He made the switch to full-time work at Hope in 2012. 

His teaching niche has been in monetary economics, macroeconomics and the fundamentals of investment. 

Iverson began his banking career at Ottawa Savings Bank in 1972 straight out of Hope College. He earned his MBA from Western Michigan University two years later. In his subsequent positions he solidified his expertise in change management, strategic planning, investment, negotiation, business development and financial and capital markets. 

At Hope, he created and taught a student-managed investment course in which groups of students analyze investment alternatives and present recommendations to the investment committee of the Board of Trustees. As a leadership coach he mentored student groups engaged by outside businesses to assess real-world business opportunities. 

Iverson also served as the faculty advisor to the Business Club and teams of students who organize two annual campus competitions of particular interest to business students: the Association for Corporate Growth Competition Cup and the Commercial Loan Underwriting Case Competition.

He has applied his busines savvy to capital campaigns for West Michigan churches, a care center and Holland Christian Schools, and as the chair of fund drives for Hope College and the United Way.

Dede Johnston, Guy Vander Jagt Professor of Communication (1994)

Dr. Dede JohnstonDr. Deirdre (Dede) Johnston  
Guy Vander Jagt Professor of Communication 

Communication and the brain was Dr. Deirdre Johnston's professional passion when she joined the Department of Communication in 1994. Her later articles on work-family balance were twice among the finalists for the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for top articles in that field. More recently, she has explored communication's role in peace and justice work and cross-cultural happiness.

In addition to teaching courses on intercultural communication, dialogue between groups, and other topics, she mentored more than 40 students conducting research projects. She has taken Hope students to Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Africa to participate in peace and conflict resolution work and analyze communication in those contexts. In 2016, she received the college’s Motoichiro Oghimi Global Courage Award. 

Johnston’s leadership roles at Hope have include as chair of the Department of Communication, interim associate dean of global education, director of assessment and faculty moderator. She led two programs funded by the Great Lakes Colleges Association: the Global Crossroads program, which took multi-disciplinary groups of faculty overseas to explore cross-cultural research and teaching, and New Directions, a program for mid-career faculty development that funded over 90 faculty research projects. She also led the development of Hope's new Global Health program and Peace and Justice minor and helped develop the curriculum of the American Ethnic Studies minor and Women's and Gender Studies major and minor. 

Johnston plans to continue her work around diversity and global learning and communication as a consultant to Hope and other colleges and universities. She is co-editor of the forthcoming Wiley Handbook for Online Collaborative Learning and Global Engagement. She also plans to write a book based on an oral history project that grew out of her June Term travel-study course in South Africa.

She holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Iowa. 

Marty LaBarge, associate professor of accounting (2007)

Marty LaBargeMarty LaBarge, MBA
Associate Professor of Accounting

Associate Professor of Accounting Marty Weener ’85 LaBarge began her career as a certified public accountant working for the “Big 4” firm Ernst & Young. Later she broadened her professional experience with financial positions in government, a church and the treasury department of a multinational corporation. After dipping her toe into adjunct teaching at Hope College over a number of years, she made the switch to full-time teaching in 2007. 

LaBarge has taught financial, managerial, intermediate and advanced accounting, and traveled with Hope students to London for the Department of Economics and Business’s London May Term. From 2013 to 2015 she led the Baker Scholar Program, the department’s leadership development program; in that role she took the scholars to China and to Washington, D.C. LaBarge also has advised students pursuing independent study regarding corporate fraud and ethics or iinternational financial reporting standards. 

Another of her roles that has been crucial to Hope accounting majors has focused on students’ vocational discernment. LaBarge has supervised student internships, prepared students to take and pass the CPA exam, and coordinated recruiting events — bringing to campus representatives of local, regional and Big 4 accounting firms to give Hope students a window into differences between their business cultures. She maintains relationships with many of her former students, following their career paths and celebrating their personal and professional milestones. 

With department colleagues, LaBarge has presented papers at professional conferences on such topics as business programs in Christian higher education and assessments of debt and economic issues. 

She graduated from Hope with a double major in mathematics and business administration.  She holds an MBA in finance from Michigan State University.

Bruce McCombs, professor of art (1969)

Bruce McCombsBruce McCombs, MFA
Professor of Art

Bruce McCombs began teaching Hope College students to draw in 1969. Over five decades his work with students has included teaching courses in watercolor painting, printmaking, drawing and photography. In addition to his teaching during the fall and spring semesters he often offered classes in the summer, and especially enjoyed teaching those small groups in the studio in an art school format. 

Early in his career, McCombs focused on etching and printmaking, sometimes spending months on creation of an etching plate to develop depth and transparency. In the 1990s he transitioned to bold, bright, photorealistic watercolors and has worked extensively in that medium ever since, using gouache to achieve intense, saturated color similar to tempera and acrylic paint.

His prints, drawings and paintings often feature architecture or transportation: vintage cars and motorcycles, planes, trains, and urban scenes he draws from photographs, including scenes of Cleveland, his hometown. His prints, paintings and drawings have been exhibited regularly in West Michigan, most recently in a 2018 solo exhibition in Hope’s De Pree Art Gallery.  

McCombs’ work is in the permanent collections of museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Cleveland Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, National Museum of Fine Arts in Hanoi (Vietnam), and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. His work has also been exhibited internationally, in shows in Norway, Colombia and other countries.

He earned his BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art and received his MFA from Tulane University.

Greg Murray, T. Elliot Weier Professor of Plant Science (1986)

Dr. K. Greg MurrayDr. K. Greg Murray
T. Elliot Weier Professor of Plant Science

Ecology and conservation biology have set the context for Dr. K. Greg Murray’s teaching at Hope College. Since he joined the Department of Biology in 1986, his courses have included ecology and evolutionary biology, population and community ecology, human anatomy, and advanced coursework in mathematical biology and marine biology and biophysics. 

A proponent of integrating field experiences into biology coursework, he had a hand in his department’s curriculum development during his more than three decades at the college. In course-related fieldwork with students, and in professional research funded in part by the National Science Foundation, he has studied the ecology of seabirds, lizards, rodents, sea urchins, invasive plants, invasive insects, hummingbirds, temperate and tropical songbirds, and the dynamics of tropical rainforests. 

Since 1980 Murray has conducted detailed studies in Costa Rican cloud forests to document how openings in the forest canopy interact with fruit-eating birds, seed predators like rodents, seed pathogens like soil fungi, and the toxic chemicals in plant seeds to determine how “pioneer” plants survive as seeds to eventually colonize the forest gaps and begin the process of regeneration. He has partnered with Hope chemists to probe how toxic chemicals protect seeds for decades or even hundreds of years, and with mathematicians to model the dynamics of these complex systems. In an ongoing project with colleagues (including his wife Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, who also is retiring this year; see below), the team is tracking ecological shifts in West Michigan hemlock forests that are undergoing an invasion by insects that have decimated hemlocks throughout the eastern U.S.  

In 2017, Hope College honored Murray with appointment to an endowed professorship, as the T. Elliot Weier Professor of Plant Science. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from California State University, Northridge, and his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Florida. 

Steve Nelson, associate professor of art (1989)

Steve NelsonSteve Nelson, MFA
Associate Professor of Art

Steve Nelson began teaching photography at Hope College in 1989 as a visiting lecturer and joined the faculty in 2006. He has taught a range of courses in his genre, plus First Year Seminar. 

He chaired the Department of Art and Art History for nine years. He also served as the preparator to Hope’s De Pree Gallery, which involves installing exhibitions, setting the lighting, handling shipments of art and presenting workshops to students on framing and presentation. 

Nelson’s black and white photographs of post-industrial environments such as mining, manufacturing and maritime sites have been exhibited in various gallery and site-specific environments including abandoned manufacturing spaces. Grants from the Great Lakes Colleges Association supported several of his projects over the past decade.

While his vocation has sometimes taken Nelson far afield, as when he photographed artisans in Guatemala and ruined abbeys in England, he does much of his work in Michigan. His 2019 solo show at the De Pree Gallery, “Tug: A Great Lakes Odyssey,” featured photographs of a tugboat fleet. In 2015 he collaborated with a sculptor to mount an installation in a shut-down paper mill in Plainwell, Michigan. 

Nelson has lectured and served as a visiting artist at museums and colleges including Kendall College of Art and Design, Spring Arbor University, Aquinas College, the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Urban institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, where he was artist in residence for three years before joining the Hope faculty. 

He earned his BFA in photography at Western Michigan University, and his MFA in art media studies at Syracuse University.

Patricia Roehling, professor of psychology (1987)

Dr. Patricia RoehlingDr. Patricia Roehling
Professor of Psychology

Professor of Psychology Dr. Patricia Roehling has taught at Hope College since 1987. Her courses have included Behavior Disorders, Introduction to Psychology, Advanced Research in Psychology and Introduction to Clinical Psychology. She also developed and taught an interdisciplinary international June Term course in which Hope students join with students from Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom to learn together about various dimensions of mental health policies in the U.S. and U.K. Roehling developed and co-directs the psychology internship program. 

Weight bias in the workplace and in electoral politics has been one of her research specialties. Another is work and family. Her book The Career Mystique: Cracks in the American Dream (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), which examines how gender impacts work and family roles, was named the best publication in sociology of 2005 by the Association of American Publishers.  

She also conducts research on the scholarship of teaching. Her book Flipping the College Classroom: An Evidence-Based Guide (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) reviews and provides guidance on how to implement the recently-developed teaching methodology in which students view video lectures before class, which frees up class time for active learning. She has also published research in the areas of acculturation and alcohol abuse.

Roehling chaired the department from 2000 to 2006. In 2005 she received the Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award.

During leaves of absence from Hope, Roehling served for two years as director of research at Cornell University’s Employment and Family Careers Institute and for one year as director of Michigan State University’s psychological clinic. 

She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University. 

Richard Smith, professor of theatre (1972)

Richard SmithRichard Smith, MFA
Professor of Theatre

When Professor Richard Smith joined Hope's theatre faculty in 1972, the department as a formal academic program was just four years old (although theatre itself had a long history at the college) and its home in the DeWitt Center hadn’t yet seen its first birthday. He thus joined a team of colleagues who both literally and figuratively set the stage for, and have since shepherded, the nationally accredited and award-winning program that continues to thrive 49
years later.

Smith brought to the college specializations including costumes, scenery and properties. Immediately prior to coming to Hope he had worked with the acclaimed Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, after previously completing his BFA and MFA as a McKnight/Bush Fellow in theatre at the University of Minnesota in 1969 and 1972, respectively.

He played the lead role in developing the design and technical side of Hope’s theatre program.
During his first 12 years at the college, he served as scene, costume and properties designer, as
technical director, and was in charge of all costume, scenery and properties construction. He
developed and equipped the original costume and scene shops in DeWitt (and initiated the
proposals and worked with the architect to develop the ground plans for the 1996-97
expansion of the scene and properties shops). He developed and taught courses throughout the
curriculum, on topics ranging from scenic design to the art of the cinema, and along the way
also held administrative responsibilities, chairing the Department of Theatre for 10 years.

His extensive and imaginative theatre design credits across his nearly five decades working with
both the academic program and Hope Summer Repertory Theatre include productions nearly
beyond count. Among them are iconic local favorites like The Nutcracker: A Play and Billy
Bishop Goes to War; historic classics like The Beggar’s Opera, Candide, Romeo and Juliet, and
The Tempest; a modern setting of Alice in Wonderland; musicals like Pump Boys and Dinettes;
and the full opera Street Scene, a collaboration between the departments of music and theatre.

Smith’s talent, training and varied interests took him beyond campus as well. During two
leaves, he designed and taught at Dartmouth College and Cornell University. He went to
Singapore to design Lost Atlantis, a thematic entertainment venue at the old Singapore Cultural
Center, an opportunity that also drew on his knowledge as a certified diver. He trained in stone
carving in Pietrasanta, Italy, where his sculpture was subsequently first exhibited in 1990, and
he has since done pieces in marble and limestone in Pietrasanta; Marble, Colorado; and
Bloomington, Indiana (he continues to create marble sculptures in his own studio).  In 2006, his
stage design for Arcadia was exhibited at the World Stage Design Exhibition in Toronto, Canada.

Tom Smith, Dr. Leon A. Bosch ’29 Professor of Management (1993)

Thomas SmithDr. Thomas Smith
Dr. Leon A. Bosch ’29 Professor of Management

Management professor Dr. Thomas Smith’s 27 years in the Department of Economics and Business were marked by his teaching of operations management and his piloting of the department’s popular London May Term, a three-week interdisciplinary course that uses the city of London as its classroom. He led it for 15 years in collaboration with department colleagues.

Smith came to the Hope faculty in 1993 from management positions with Data General Corporation and internal consulting roles with auto firms and a distributor of commercial insulation products. He and his wife, Cheryl, an R.N. who worked in the Hope College Health Center for 26 years, decided to live next to campus in order to open up their home to students. Their daughters both attended Hope.

He is a recipient of the college’s Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award and the Favorite Faculty Member Award from the Hope student body. Hope also honored him in 2007 with appointment to the Dr. Leon A. Bosch ’29 endowed professorship. 

Smith’s writing on business ethics, management and operations has appeared in the Journal of Operations Management and Markets and Morality. His articles with colleagues about how to design a distinctively Christian undergraduate management education program appeared in Christian Higher Education, The Christian Business Academy Review, and elsewhere.

During the 2013–14 academic year, Smith taught at a Christian college in Romania. In his final semesters at Hope before retiring in late 2020, he networked and traveled to identify schools with which Hope could partner in order to provide Hope business students with opportunities to live and study in former Soviet bloc countries. 

He holds an MBA from the University of Iowa, and an undergraduate business degree and Ph.D. in operations management from the University of Michigan.

Deborah Sturtevant, professor of social work (1988)

Dr. Deb SturtevantDr. Deb Weiss ’75 Sturtevant
Professor of Social Work

Professor of Social Work Dr. Deb Weiss ’75 Sturtevant has encouraged her students to expand their influence beyond conventional clinical settings. Soon after joining the Hope faculty in 1988, she began having students analyze social policies that were under review at the state level, write position papers from a social work perspective, and submit them to state officials to influence policy positions. In 1998 she received a national teaching award for the initiative from the Council on Social Work Education.

Sturtevant has taught the social work major’s gateway course, field practicum seminar, and courses on child welfare, social policy, communities and organizations, and global studies in social welfare. Over the years she worked with 30 student research assistants.

She chaired the Department of Sociology and Social Work from 2002 through 2013 and directed its field education program for 15 years and its social work program for three. While chairing the department she also was interim director of the Frost Center for Social Science Research for a year while leading the search committee for a new director.  

Sturtevant’s early research focused on the relationship between government and nonprofits. In 1998, Bethany Christian Services invited her to serve as a consultant on the orphan care crisis in Romania. This led to a shift in her scholarship to study the development and sustainability of global child welfare services. Additional projects included travel with colleagues and students to Romania, Guatemala, China, Hong Kong and Zambia. In 2013 she received Hope’s Simon Den Uyl Research Award. Her final three-year research project on immigration and refugees at U.S. and European borders included grant-funded travel to study the crisis in Greece.

Sturtevant earned her MSW at Western Michigan University and her Ph.D. in social sciences, social work and pollical science at Michigan State University.      

Kathy Winnett-Murray, professor of biology (1986)

Dr. Kathy Winnett-MurrayDr. Kathy Winnett-Murray
Professor of Biology

In a 2020 interview by a Hope College student, Professor of Biology Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray declared that if she were queen of the planet she would require everyone to live for a year in a different country, or a very different part of the United States. Doing so changed her understanding of the world and of how others see the actions of the U.S., she said. 

The corners of the world where she has probed ecological issues range from the vast Serengeti of northern Tanzania (where she taught a May Term class) to the 55-acre Hope College Nature Preserve five miles from campus. Her research focuses on how animals, especially birds, respond to environmental changes triggered by human impact on habitats. She has collaborated with teachers at West Michigan K-12 schools to introduce their students to ecological science.

Her recent projects have included research with colleagues on a hemlock wooly adelgid infestation in the Hope Nature Preserve, a census of the environmental value of trees on campus and in the Holland community, and, in collaboration with a former student, a study of the germination success of seeds that have been ingested by wolves.

Dr. Winnett-Murray joined the Hope faculty in 1986 with her husband, biologist Dr. K. Greg Murray, who also will retire in May (see above). Her courses have included zoology, biology and ecology courses that use local habitats as living laboratories, and some of those courses have included camping trips. In 1998 the Michigan Science Teachers Association named her Michigan College Science Teacher of the Year. In 2006 she received Hope’s Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award.

Winnett-Murray earned her B.S. at the University of California, Irvine, her master’s degree at California State University, Northridge, and her Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Florida.

Tom Smith retired at the end of the fall semester. The others will retire with the conclusion of the 2020-21 school year.