Dr. Anne Irwin, the first director of women's athletics at Hope College, will retire from that position with the conclusion of this school year.
A member of the faculty since 1976, Dr. Irwin will remain at Hope through December of 2004 to concentrate on her teaching of biomechanics in the department of kinesiology and continue her involvement in the college's intramural program.
Eva Dean Folkert, who currently serves as the college's athletic ticket manager and intramural assistant, will become senior women's administrator for athletics effective July 1.
Dr. Irwin brought to Hope solid credentials as both a competitor and a teacher-coach. The softball team she had coached while doing graduate work at Michigan State University went on to win the College World Series. She had competed regionally in volleyball and field hockey, and nationally in fast-pitch softball and basketball.
During her time at Hope, she coached women's basketball, softball and field hockey, and assisted in volleyball and women's soccer. In 1988-89 she assumed the leadership of the college's intramural program. The program has grown from about 300 participants when she began to nearly 1,500 today.
Dr. Irwin joined Hope at a time of watershed change in women's athletics, as Title IX mandated equity with men's sports. She has guided Hope in enhancing the women's program while keeping its men's sports strong. The result has been a national-calibre reputation in both programs.
Folkert is a 1983 Hope College graduate. She held administrative positions in other offices of the college prior to assuming her current responsibilities in 1998. She will be responsible for administering the college's nine sports for women and will continue as athletic ticket manager. She was recently honored for exemplary service by the college's Women's Issues Organization. While a Hope student she competed in basketball and softball. She and her husband Cal, a 1981 Hope graduate, reside in Holland with their two sons, Peter and Matt.