Hope College has appointed five faculty members to endowed professorships.

In addition to recognizing faculty members for excellence, endowed professorships provide funding for summer research projects as well as some salary support. The college has a total of 25 endowed professorships for faculty and eight endowed administrative positions.

All five of the faculty members have been at Hope since 2016 or longer.  They and their professorships, which are effective immediately, are:

  • Dr. Kenneth Brown, the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Endowed Professor of Chemistry;
  • Dr. Susanna Childress, the DuMez Endowed Professor of English;
  • Dr. Jared Ortiz, the Lavern ’39 and Betty DePree ’41 Van Kley Endowed Professor of Religion;
  • Dr. Jeanne Petit, the Betty Roelofs ’53 Miller Endowed Professor of History;
  • Dr. Stephen Smith, the Robert W. Haack Professor of Economics.
Dr. Kenneth Brown

Dr. Kenneth BrownThe John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Endowed Professorship was established by the Board of Trustees of Hope College in 1999 to honor Dr. John H. Jacobson, the 10th President of Hope College (1987-99) and his wife, Dr. Jeanne M. Jacobson, who was a Senior Research Fellow of the college’s A.C. Van Raalte institute. Before coming to Hope, the Jacobsons had distinguished careers in education in both Florida and New York. The Jacobson Professorship is held by tenured faculty members with a commitment to the Christian faith who are outstanding teacher-scholars or artists and who propose to conduct a significant program of research or creative activity.

Dr. Kenneth Brown has been at Hope since 1999. He has held the various positions of an assistant professor of chemistry (term), assistant professor of chemistry and associate professor of chemistry.  His areas of research interest are electrochemical preparation and characterization of chemically modified electrodes, and chemical aspects of ethnobotany and plant physiology.  He has received external support for his research, which he conducts collaboratively with Hope students, from agencies including the National Science Foundation and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.  He has authored or co-authored articles in scientific publications including the International Journal of Plant Sciences, Modern Applied Science, the Journal of Electrochemistry and the International Journal of Chemistry.

For more information, please visit his biographical page on the college’s website.

Dr. Susanna Childress

Dr. Susanna ChildressThe DuMez Endowed Professorship was established in 1996 by Mrs. Mabelle DuMez Frei, a 1926 Hope graduate. Its purpose is to provide financial support to a faculty member within the Department of English who has a distinguished record of achievement both as a teacher and as a scholar.

Dr. Susanna Childress has taught at Hope since 2006, except for two years away as a Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow at Valparaiso University. Since 2014, she has been the advisor of “Opus,” the campus literary magazine, and in 2017 she became the director of the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series. She teaches writing of many kinds — fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, mixed genres and composition — as well as courses exploring the intersection of faith and art and the role of art in our lives and our communities.  She is the author of two prize-winning collections of poetry and has also published several short stories and creative nonfiction essays. She specializes in literary writing across genres, specifically modern and contemporary poetry, the short story and linked story collections, lyric essays, podcast writing, mixed-genre work and nature/environmental writing. She has served as an editor for publications ranging from the literary journal 32 Poems to the Reformed Church of America’s magazine Perspectives. In 2017 she co-edited Awst Press’s Creative Nonfiction Anniversary Series.  Her research interests include women writers, the role of writing in social justice and activism, and contemporary Native American literature.

For more information, please visit her biographical page on the college’s website.

Dr. Jared Ortiz

Dr. Jared OrtizThe Lavern ‘39 and Betty Depree ‘41 Van Kley Endowed Professorship is a four-year rotating endowed professorship established through the generosity of Lavern and Betty DePree Van Kley to recognize an outstanding teacher-scholar who exemplifies in their personal and professional lives the Christian values which have marked the Hope experience since its founding.

Dr. Jared Ortiz joined the Hope faculty in 2012. He teaches Catholic theology in the Department of Religion, and is founder and executive director of the Saint Benedict Institute, the Catholic spiritual and intellectual center that serves the college.  He teaches courses on the mysteries of Christianity, church history, Catholicism, the theology of the human person and early Christianity. He recently co-authored a commentary on the Nicene Creed and is researching Augustine’s “City of God.”  In 2020, the college’s graduating class both selected him to be Commencement speaker and presented him with the Hope Outstanding Professor Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award.

For more information, please visit his biographical page on the college’s website.

Dr. Jeanne Petit

Dr. Jeanne PetitThe Betty Roelofs '53 Miller Endowed Professorship was established in 2019 through an estate provision by Betty Roelofs Miller, who was a 1953 Hope graduate and a Trustee Emerita. Its purpose is to provide financial support to a faculty member who has a distinguished record of achievement as a teacher and scholar.

Dr. Jeanne Petit has been a member of the Hope history faculty since 2000. She serves on the Women’s and Gender Studies Council, previously directed the Women’s and Gender Studies program, and teaches a variety of United States history courses, including U.S. Cultural History, World War I America, Recent America, and Women and Gender in United States History.  She specializes in the studies of religion, women, gender and immigration in the United States. She is presently researching the history of the interfaith movement that lead to the founding of the USO (United Service Organizations) during World War I and World War II, part of a book project titled “United for Uncle Sam: Protestants, Catholics, Jews and the Origins of the USO.” Her previous publications include the book “The Men and Women We Want: Gender, Race and the Progressive Era Literacy Test Debate, Gender and Race” in the American History Series (University of Rochester Press, 2010).

For more information, please visit her biographical page on the college’s website.

Dr. Stephen Smith

Dr. Stephen SmithThe Robert W. Haack Professorship of Economics was established by Mr. Robert W. Haack '38, a distinguished business leader, most notably as president and chief executive officer of the New York Stock Exchange and chairman and chief executive officer of Lockheed Corporation. Following retirement, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of a number of major U.S. corporations. The chair is to be held by a distinguished economist dedicated to teaching, research and the mission of Hope.

Dr. Stephen Smith joined the Hope faculty in 2016 after teaching for 29 years at Gordon College in Massachusetts. His research and writing focus on international trade, global economic development and growth — topics he addresses both technically and in terms of Christian theology and ethics.  He teaches Economic Growth and Development, International Economics, Econometrics and introductory courses in microeconomics. He has led the department’s China May Term, a travel-study course focused on the economic and business dimensions of China’s modern growth, and serves as the department’s section head for economics.  His publications include the book “Economic Growth: Unleashing the Power of Human Flourishing” (2013), which he co-authored, and articles in “Christian Scholars Review,” “Faith & Economics,” “Southern Economic Journal” and “Global Economy Journal.” He is president of the Association of Christian Economists, whose journal, Faith & Economics, he edited for many years. He is also a member of the American Economic Association and the Southern Economic Association. As a visiting professor since 2021 at American Enterprise Institute’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life, he leads AEI’s Summer Honors Program seminar on Global Economic Development.

For more information, please visit his biographical page on the college’s website.