The Hope College Alumni Association will present Young Alumni Awards to three graduates on Friday, Oct. 12, during the college’s Homecoming Weekend.
The association will recognize 1998 graduate Daniel Capps of Orono, Maine, and 1997 graduates Seth and Stephanie Kaper-Dale of Highland Park, N.J., during a reunion class party for the classes of 1984 through 2001 being held at Baker Lofts. Registration is required for the event, which begins at 7 p.m.
The Young Alumni Award was established to honor the talents and contributions that young alumni have made to their professions, their communities and to the college, and was first presented in 2007. Criteria include having been a member of the Alumni Association for 15 or fewer years; notable prominence through professional endeavor, research, volunteerism, and/or involvement with the local or global community or the college; and demonstrating significant initiative by starting innovative service projects, research, businesses or other original enterprises.
Capps is an assistant professor of science education at the University of Maine. He is passionate about teaching and teacher education. His research focuses on supporting teachers (and ultimately their students) in understanding more about what science is and the many ways it is practiced.
He also co-founded Enrich the World (www.enrichtheworld.org), a non-profit organization focused on working with impoverished children living in the world's protected areas. He has returned to Honduras to lead environmental education and teacher training workshops.
Capps graduated from Hope cum laude with a degree in geology. Following graduation, he hiked the full length of the Appalachian Trail and then enrolled in Indiana University in Bloomington, where he earned master’s degrees in both education and geology. He then volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Catacamas, Honduras from 2002 through 2004. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Science Education at Cornell University.
He has maintained an active relationship with Hope. In 2007, Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray of the biology faculty requested that he return to campus and lead a discussion on participation in the Peace Corps for Hope students. While on campus, he also participated in a panel discussion for Hope students interested in science teaching.
Seth and Stephanie Kaper-Dale are co-pastors of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, a diverse congregation in Central New Jersey. During their time at their church they have been involved in several different projects in relation to the environment. They conducted a toxic audit creating a strategy to replace poisonous cleaning and maintenance products with natural, non-toxic alternatives. They have installed solar panels for the roof of the church and sponsored an electronic waste recycling event, preventing over 3,000 pounds of toxic waste from entering the waste stream. Adults and members of RCHP’s youth group took part in GreenFaith’s SPLENDOR educational program, measuring their own ecological footprint and identifying the largest polluters in their county.
The church also sponsored a retreat with eco-theologian Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope religion faculty, exploring ways that Christian theology connects with care for creation. The Kaper-Dales have also found a way to express other passions for social justice. They led an effort to add a low-cost apartment complex to their church building, to serve young women who have aged out of the state’s foster care system. They have also been socially active in helping Indonesian immigrants avoid deportation.
Seth received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. award from Meryl Frank, Mayor of the Borough of Highland Park for his inspiration, leadership and service, the MLK Jr. Community Service Award from Johnson and Johnson, and the 4 Chaplains Legion of Honor Award for service to veterans.
Seth graduated from Hope with a major in English and religion, and Stephanie with a major in religion and social work. After graduation they volunteered for a year at Prince of Peace Children’s Home in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and then each went on to complete a Master of Divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary in 2001. Stephanie subsequently also completed a Master of Social Work degree at Rutgers in 2003.
The alumni reunion party costs $25, and alumni can register at hope.edu/alumni/homecoming or visit the college’s office of Alumni and Parent Relations. The office is on the second floor of the DeWitt Center and can be called at (616) 395-7250.
Baker Lofts is located on Columbia Avenue at 24th Street. The DeWitt Center is located at 141 E. 12th St., facing Columbia Avenue at 12th St.