Baccalaureate and Commencement for Hope College’s Class of 2024 are scheduled for Sunday, May 5. Commencement will take place at 3 p.m. at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium, and Baccalaureate at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

The Commencement speaker will be the Rev. Shomari Tate, chaplain of discipleship at Hope.  The Baccalaureate speaker will be Dr. Vicki-Lynn Holmes, associate professor of mathematics and education.

Approximately 680 graduating seniors will be participating.

Rev. Shomari TateTate has been a member of the Hope staff since 2021. His responsibilities include preaching during the college’s week-day and Sunday-evening worship services; nurturing pastoral relationships with students, faculty and staff; and advising the students who develop the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Leadership Summit as well as student organizations including the Campus Ministries Social Justice Team, Black Student Union and Met By Love student worship collective.  He is also active as a guest preacher or speaker at area churches, educational and community organizations, and conferences and workshops.

In addition to his role at Hope, since 2022 he has been the teaching pastor and a pastoral care elder at The Boulevard Church, serving in an associate-pastoral capacity with the 450-member congregation in the heart of Holland.  He is also the founder and chief executive officer of Higher Power Initiative Inc., which he established in 2020 to provide cultural competency training for churches, higher education, secondary education and faith-based institutions through the lens of racial justice.

Immediately prior to coming to Hope, Tate was chairman of the deacon board and in pastoral residency with Epicenter of Worship Church in Lansing for three years.  From 2019 to 2021 he was also director of diversity, equity and inclusion; football coach; and chaplain at Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids.

He graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in political science, in 2017, after which he served as a regulatory compliance service analyst with Vertafore Inc. in East Lansing for two years.  He completed a Master of Public Policy degree at Michigan State University in 2019 and a Master of Arts in ministry leadership at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2021. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary and a doctorate in preaching at Baylor University.

Dr. Vicki-Lynn HolmesHolmes, who is retiring at the end of the school year after serving on the faculty since 2009, participates in the scholarly blend of mathematics and education. Her research focuses on the pedagogy of teaching mathematics and the statistical underpinnings that allow research to drive instruction. Her passion is education reform that enables all children to learn and excel in mathematics.

She has served as the regional director of Michigan’s National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM), conducted Teaching Algebra Concepts through Technology (TACT2) workshops for the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, and has written three books, two algebra textbooks and numerous peer-reviewed journal articles.

Holmes is also active in the community.  Among other service through the years, she has been on Holland’s Human Relations Commission, an elder at her church, and worked with the Women’s Shelter, Westcore Neighborhood and various charitable organizations.  She received the Diversity, Service and Leadership Award from Hope’s GROW Council in 2015, and the college’s GROW Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2018.

She holds doctorates in mathematics from the University of Louisville and religion Grace Bible College; master’s degrees, in mathematics from the University of Louisville and English through the Maryland Department of Education; and a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the College of William and Mary.

Earlier, Holmes founded Wilson Academy, a school in Atlanta for boys who had fallen through the cracks. She has also served as a principal and a teacher of English and of mathematics at public and private schools in California, Georgia and Maryland. While completing her doctoral studies, she was an adjunct instructor at Brown Mackie College and DeVry University.

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