Hope College

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Coordinates: 42°47′13″N 86°6′8″W / 42.78694°N 86.10222°W / 42.78694; -86.10222

Hope College
Hope College seal.png
Seal of Hope College
Motto Latin: Spera in Deo
Motto in English
Hope in God
Established 1866
Type Private coeducational liberal arts college
Affiliation Reformed Church in America
Endowment $396 million (2013)[1]
President John C. Knapp
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 3,432
Location Holland, MI, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 125 acres (0.51 km2)
Athletics 20 varsity teams
Colors Orange and Blue
Nickname Flying Dutchmen[2]
Flying Dutch
Website www.hope.edu
Hope College

Hope College is a private, residential liberal arts college located in downtown Holland, Michigan, United States, a few miles from Lake Michigan. It was opened in 1851 as the Pioneer School by Dutch immigrants four years after the community was first settled. The first freshman college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866. Hope College retains affiliation with the Reformed Church in America. The school's campus—now 125 acres (0.51 km2), adjacent to the downtown commercial district—has been shared with Western Theological Seminary since 1884. The school has about 3,350 undergraduates. John C. Knapp assumed office as 12th President on July 1, 2013.


Hope's motto is taken from Psalm 42:5: "Spera in Deo" ("Hope in God"). The college's emblem is an anchor. This is drawn from a speech made by Albertus van Raalte, the leader of the community, on the occasion of the founding of the Pioneer School in 1851: "This is my anchor of hope for this people in the future," (an allusion to Hebrews 6:19). The primary-level Pioneer School was later expanded to secondary, and soon after, college level education as Hope College. Van Vleck Hall, which originally housed the Pioneer School, is the oldest building on campus (1858) and now serves as a dormitory. It is the second oldest building in the city. The first freshman college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866. The college admitted its first female students in 1878.


The college offers 93 majors leading to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. It has a student population of about 3,432 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.

The college offers off-campus study programs in several US cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and overseas programs for the summer, semester, or an entire academic year. Among its international programs, a long-standing summer semester in Vienna is fairly popular among students.

Hope College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

University rankings
Forbes[3] 172
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[4] 94
Washington Monthly[5] 137

Campus life[edit]

Housing is provided in 11 residence halls, 15 apartment buildings, and 72 houses (called "cottages") that the college owns near the campus. A small percentage of students - mostly juniors, seniors, and Holland residents - live off-campus. The majority of Hope students come from the greater Great Lakes region - in 2012 approximately 90% of the student body comes from the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.[6] Approximately 86% of the student body is white, students from minority backgrounds account for about 12% of the student body. Approximately 2% of the student body is international.[7][8]

The Hope Sailing Club
The Hope Sailing club is one of the many clubs that Hope offers.

Student activities include Dance Marathon and Relay for Life, an FM radio station (WTHS-FM 89.9), newspaper (The Anchor), literary magazine (Opus), and yearbook (Milestone), plus a variety of clubs including the Society of Physics Students, musical and choral groups, spiritual, literary, social and athletic groups. About 10-12% of students belong to social fraternities and sororities, which are local to Hope rather than chapters of larger organizations with the exception of one fraternity and one sorority (Phi Sigma Kappa and Delta Sigma Theta respectively). The college holds Sunday evening worship services ("The Gathering") and Monday/Wednesday/Friday chapel services on campus. Attendance at these events has been voluntary since 1970, yet students routinely fill Dimnent Memorial Chapel to its capacity of greater than 1,000 students each time.

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series brings in prominent authors for free public readings. The Series is named in honor of poet and Hope College professor emeritus Jack Ridl, who founded the tradition in 1982.

The College is undergoing a massive renovation with constructing new buildings. Most notably, the Kruizenga Art Museum-- designed by C Concept Design-- will open in September 2015. This process is dubbed the `Greater Hope` campaign. [9] For eight straight years (2006–2013), Hope College has been listed among the "101 best and brightest companies to work for in West Michigan" survey of the Michigan Business and Professional Association.[10]

The Pull[edit]

The Pull
A view of the Odd year side at the 114th pull

"The Pull" is an annual tug-of-war between the freshman and sophomore classes at Hope College. The Pull takes place across the Black River in Holland, Michigan, and now takes place on the last Saturday of September every year ( Prior to 1993 it was held on a Friday). The Pull dates back to 1898. During the Pull, each team has 18 students on the rope as "pullers," and another 18 acting as guides and morale boosters, or "moralers." The freshmen are coached by the junior class, and the sophomores by the seniors. This arrangement has led to the rivalry between even and odd year classes. Even year's colors are red and white, while Odd year's colors are maroon and gold. Even Year holds the annual series lead with 54 wins to Odd Year's 41. The competition is now limited to three hours; however, it previously had no time limit. The winner is decided by a measure of which team has taken the most rope.

The Nykerk Cup Competition[edit]

The Nykerk Cup Competition is an old tradition at Hope College. The tradition began in 1935 by John Nykerk. It is a multi-faceted competition between freshmen and sophomore women that involves song, play, and oration. Song is a combination of synchronized vocals, hand motions, and props, which typically includes upwards of 100 women. Play is much smaller, consisting of 12 women for the Even Year, and 13 or 15 for Odd Year. The Play is a 30-minute original script performed in dramatic fashion by the contestants. Face makeup and costumes are typically used to enhance the dramatic style of the performance. Oration is performed by a single woman who writes an original speech lasting 9 minutes, discussing a predetermined topic. Each of these performances involves many traditions that have been around for decades, if not the entire history of Nykerk. These traditions include specific motions for song, dance moves, and references for play, and topics for oration. Because the competition is always between the Freshmen and Sophomores, the classes are designated Even Year and Odd Year (in reference to their graduating year), the same way The Pull is organized. The Freshman are coached by Juniors who were previous competitors, and the Sophomores are coached by Seniors. In this way, Even Year coaches and Even Year and Odd Year coaches Odd Year. Each year has specific traditions that are passed down as well. The morale boys are another part of the Nykerk tradition. The morale boys for song are called Song Boys and the morale for play, Play Boys. Their job is to make posters for encouragement and give gifts that will help the Nykerk girls get through the busy weeks of preparation. Every night, the morale boys perform a skit or song of some sort to lift the spirits of the girls in the competition. In addition, the Play Boys design and build the set for the play, and act as stage crew on the night of the performance. All participants have three weeks to perfect their performance before Nykerk night. On Nykerk Night there is a panel of judges who decide which year wins based on the quality of each performance. Nykerk takes place during Family Weekend nearly every year in late fall. Once the winner is decided, the Nykerk Cup is awarded to that class and the celebrations begin.[11]


Hope College competes in the MIAA conference, and is a Division III member of the NCAA. It currently fields 20 men's and women's varsity teams. The college has constructed several new outdoor athletic venues in recent years— DeVos Fieldhouse (2005), Boeve Baseball Stadium (2008), Wolters Softball Stadium (2008), Van Andel Soccer Stadium (2009) and Heeringa-Vande Poel Tennis Stadium (2012). The college recently acquired Holland Municipal Stadium from the City of Holland and has renamed it the Ray and Sue Smith in honor of a longtime coach and his wife. In 2006, the women's basketball team won the National Championship in its division, the second in school history.

Hope has won the MIAA All-Sports/Commissioner's Cup Championship more than any other member school. Hope has won the honor a league-leading 34 times.[12] In 2012-13 Hope athletes and/or teams qualified for nine NCAA championships.

The school's athletic teams are called the Flying Dutchmen[2] (men) and the Flying Dutch (women).[2] The school colors are blue and orange (possibly chosen because the Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau). The college sponsors club ice hockey and rugby in addition to a popular intramural sports program.

DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College

National Championships:

  • 1990 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 2006 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 2014 - Women's Volleyball (NCAA Division III)

National Runners-up:

  • 1994 - Women's Swimming and Diving (NCAA Division III)
  • 1995 - Men's Swimming and Diving (NCAA Division III)
  • 1996 - Men's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 1998 - Men's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 2010 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)

Club Team National Runners-up:

  • 2003 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)
  • 2010 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)
  • 2011 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)

The men's and women's basketball teams also take part in a notable rivalry, the Calvin–Hope rivalry.


The following people have presided over the college:[13]

  1. Philip Phelps Jr. (1866-1878)
  2. Charles Scott (1878-1893)
  3. Gerrit J. Kollen (1893-1911, Hope College Class of 1868)
  4. Ame Vennema (1911-1918, Hope College Class of 1879)
  5. Edward D. Dimnent (1918-1931, Hope College Class of 1896)
  6. Wynand Wichers (1931-1945)
  7. Irwin J. Lubbers (1945-1963, Hope College Class of 1917)
  8. Calvin A. VanderWerf (1963-1970, Hope College Class of 1937)
  9. Gordon VanWylen (1972-1987)
  10. John H. Jacobson (1987-1999)
  11. James E. Bultman (1999-2013, Hope College Class of 1963)
  12. John C. Knapp (2013-Present)

Notable alumni[edit]

Dimnent Chapel

* attended but did not graduate from Hope


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2014 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2013 to FY 2014" (PDF). 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c History of Hope Nicknames--Dutchmen, Flying Dutchmen, Flying Dutch, Hope College Athletics, 2011
  3. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  6. ^ Top States in Enrollment by Percent of Total Enrollment Hope College, retrieved on 2009-04-03
  7. ^ Classification of Students by Racial / Ethnic Groups Hope College, retrieved on 2014-09-08
  8. ^ Hope College - Forbes
  9. ^ Hope College. "Hope's New and Renovated Facilities". Hope Education. Retrieved 24 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Kloosterman, Stephen "Hope employees give college high marks" Holland Sentinel (March 23, 2010)
  11. ^ Nykerk, Hope College, 2011
  12. ^ MIAA: Commissioner's Cup
  13. ^ Hope College. "Presidents of Hope College". 
  14. ^ New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Faculty Directory: Gregg Alan Mast, President (curriculum vitae). Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Zigzag Journeys in the Camel Country: Arabia in Picture and Story". World Digital Library. 1911. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 

External links[edit]