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History of Klesis

Realizing the importance of providing a program that helped Hope students think through how the life of the mind and our spiritual lives might connect to academic vocations, in 1997 a number of Hope College faculty, with the support of Hope’s president and provost, proposed the formation of a Pew Society, and requested a three-year grant from the Pew Younger Scholars Program.  In the end, PYSP funded Hope College’s Pew Society for six years until the Pew Charitable Trusts reallocated funds to other projects. Since then, the Pew Society has been funded internally by Hope College, demonstrating the college’s commitment to combining rigorous academics and a vibrant, inviting Christian character. The college’s high academic standards as well as emphases on vocational preparedness and discernment of calling have been consistently evident in the Pew Society even as it has evolved to meet the changing needs and desires of students as they face a shifting marketplace.

In Fall 2013, recognizing that the current version of the program had become something unique, the Pew Society was renamed Klesis. As a name, Klesis (Greek for “calling”) reveals the breadth of the program’s mission - emphasizing the ultimate goal of supporting students as they discern their vocation and calling. While still providing practical preparation for students who choose to pursue graduate studies, the larger pieces of discernment and pondering the life of the mind within a Christian context are receiving fresh attention with the re-launching of Klesis. Klesis also now encourages involvement from students across majors, completing the trend begun by its predecessor to go beyond the narrower prescripts of the PYSP grant which focused on the humanities and social sciences. Also new with the 2013-14 school-year are financial support of student-faculty collaborative research as well as interdisciplinary, student-led reading/discussion groups for Klesis Scholars.