posted April 30, 1998

Francis Fike Retires After 30 Years on English Faculty

Dr. Francis Fike, professor of English at Hope College, is retiring this year after 30 years on the faculty.

          Fike started at Hope in 1968 as an associate
  professor of English.  He was promoted to full professor in
  1984.
          After completing his bachelor's degree with a
  major in English at Duke University in 1954, Fike earned an
  M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in 1957, and became
  ordained as a minister in the Methodist Church.
          Retaining an early interest in writing and
  literature, however, he subsequently applied for and
  received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from
  Stanford University, which supported him as he completed a
  one-year master's program in 1958.  He went on to earn his
  doctorate from Stanford in 1964, and held teaching
  appointments at both Stanford and Cornell University before
  coming to Hope.
          In his 30 years at the college, Fike has found a
  variety of ways to serve.  He helped develop the "Senior
  Seminar" program, "capstone" courses that prompt Hope's
  seniors to consider their values and the meaning of their
  education as they anticipate post-college life.  Himself a
  member of Phi Beta Kappa, he was a founding member of Hope's
  chapter, chartered in 1971.
          He has had articles, poems or reviews in
  publications ranging from "Audubon," to "19th Century
  Fiction," to "Reformed Review."  He is the author of three
  books of poetry:  "Underbrush" (1986), "In the Same Rivers"
  (1989) and "After the Serpent's Word" (1997).
          He has been Hope's "Campus Representative" to
  "Christian Scholar's Review" for several years, and has been
  poetry editor of "Perspectives:  A Journal of Reformed
  Thought" since January of 1995.
          For more than a quarter century, he had a hand in
  honoring hundreds of the college's top graduates, albeit
  anonymously.  An amateur calligrapher, he penned the
  assorted "laude" designations on graduating seniors'
  diplomas from around 1969 through 1994, until the college's
  Registrar's Office automated the process as class sizes
  continued to grow.
          He has even returned to the pulpit on a few
  occasions, at Hope Church, an RCA congregation in Holland,
  where he's been an active member for 30 years.
          In retirement, Fike will continue his work with
  "Perspectives" and as a calligrapher.  He plans to learn to
  play the piano and guitar, to pursue genealogical research,
  to travel with his Janice, and to continue to read and write
  both poetry and prose.