NCAA Division III Identity Initiative
Hope College Celebrates Its Student-Athletes
as Part of NCAA Division III Initiative
College has been a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) since 1956 and Division III since its founding in 1973. The NCAA
in 2010 launched a new initiative in Division III that highlights its student-athletes
as they excel on the athletic field, pursue their chosen field of study
in the classroom, and participate in the life of their college and surrounding
community. Throughout the 2010-11 school year, the MIAA and its member
institutions are recognizing students who exemplify that model --
young people following
their passions and discovering their potential.
Hope College students,
teams and coaches are featured based on each of the six
initiatives - Proportion, Comprehensive
Learning, Passion, Responsibility, Sportsmanship
Being a part of a Division III college volleyball program not only
provides a tremendous experience as a student-athlete, but other
opportunites such as to coach at summer camps and for club volleyball
Ten members of the 2010 MIAA co-champion Hope College squad were involved in
coaching club volleyball this spring and virtually all of them have
the opportunity to return to campus during the summer to work the
college's volleyball camps.
"As a coach, I have realized the importance of responsibility," said
senior and team co-captain Sara DeWeerdt of Holland,
Mich. (Hamilton HS). "I have grown to understand how important
communication is to minimizing conflict, how much easier it is to
achieve goals when I am prepared and how I am responsible for my
student-athlete’s actions on and off the court."
With that being said, Sara sets an example of what is acceptable –
being kind, motivating, excited, passionate, encouraging and
responsible. When she demonstrates these characteristics, her
student-athletes do as well.
"Above all, coaching has helped me learn more about myself – about
what I expect from my student-athletes and what I expect from myself."
Long before the formation of NCAA Division III, Hope College was
committed to the balanced academic and athletic development of their
student-athletes. They have earned Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and
NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships; numerous student-athletes have been
named to the all-academic teams in their respective sports.
The Hope women’s cross country program has distinguished itself.
These student-athletes have earned All-Academic Team national honors
every year since the honors program was initiated in 1990. No other
Division III women's cross country program has achieved that
distinction. In addition, there have been 62 women cross country team
members who have earned individual all-academic national accolades
during this period of time. These young women have established a
strong reputation in the classroom and on the playing field. They
have gone on to serve as leaders in their communities as physicians,
lawyers, teachers, businesswomen, and in a variety of other
Dr. Mark Northuis, coach of the Hope cross country team notes: “It is
a true joy to work with young women who are high achievers, both in
the classroom and field of competition. It is even a greater joy to
know that they are accomplishing what they came to Hope College to do
and are graduating well prepared for life."
By Ben Thomas, Hope senior from Spring Grove, Ill.
The pride of a student body is many times reflected in its enthusiasm
for its sports teams. Hope College is no exception. Tradition anchors
the Dew Crew student cheering section in spirit and passion.
If passion were a color, it would be orange. If passion were a person,
it would be Dutch. If passion were a place it would be Hope.
Welcome to Hope, Home of the Dew Crew, and home to some of the most
passionate student fans on earth. The Dew Crew isn't afraid to spar
with the Izzos or the Cameron Crazies. They like to say that it isn’t
the size of the dog in the fight that counts, but the size of the
passion in the stands that makes a difference. In small, division
three schools, athletics rely on the voices of a few to carry the
tradition of a fan base. Yet at Hope the concept
of “few” is replaced by the enthusiasm of the “Crew.”
With each bite of passion comes the lingering taste of tradition.
Since its founding in 1996, the Dew Crew has become contagious. Each
graduating class is replaced by a freshman body of eager fanatics.
Many have grown up around Hope basketball. Many have grown up with a
habit of watching the Dew Crew more than watching
the game. And yet some are experiencing the heartbeat of Hope for the
first time. But no matter what
background Hope students come from, everyone’s chest shares the same
Visiting teams put the Dew Crew in their scouting reports. The “Dew
Crew” dominates attendance records and decibel levels while creating a
homecourt atmosphere of passion. For those who play the game, all they
need to do is look into a sea of their peers to find motivation. The
painted chests of their classmates, the horse throats of their RA’s
and Professors, their entire student population in the stands, all
combines to unify both athlete and school under an orange and blue
flag of passion.
From the opening tip, to the final horn, the Hope Dew Crew runs on
Premium Passion. They are the soul of DeVos Fieldhouse. They are the
heartbeat of Hope basketball.
“THIS IS OUR HOUSE.”
And it is our home.
We are tradition.
We are success.
We are pride.
And we have PASSION.
Integral to the athletics program of Hope College is the development
of the student-athlete as a whole person -- Mind, Body, Spirit.
Community service is a key component for all Hope's athletic teams.
Recent examples include organizing cancer awareness initiatives,
working on home renovation projects for Habitat for Humanity,
collecting hundreds of pairs of soccer shoes for youth in Jamaica,
Zambia, Sierra Leone and the Dominican Republic, being reading tutors
at elementary schools, serving at a local soup kitchen, and developing
one-on-one relationships through Special Olympics and No More
It is truly teamwork that extends beyond the field of
play. "Our student-athletes take this sense of service with them upon
graduation and become leaders in their communities," observed women's
basketball coach Brian Morehouse.
Senior from Zeeland, Mich. (Zeeland East HS)
Three years ago, John Donkersloot was looking for a college that would
allow him to pursue an education as a "three-dimensional person"
committed to academics, athletics and the arts. That goal is being
fulfilled as John has found Hope College to be the ideal fit for his
An all-state high school high jumper, Donkersloot was pursued by
Division I university athletic programs. He chose Division III Hope
determined to achieve balance in his life. It has worked for the
Zeeland, Mich. senior who is a two-time NCAA All-American high jumper,
has been honored as a CoSIDA first team Academic All-American while
maintaining a 3.9 GPA as a chemistry major, and is an acclaimed
pianist. Read more about John Donkersloot
Senior from Battle Creek, Mich. (BC Central HS)
Hope College senior tennis player Katherine Garcia of Battle Creek,
Mich. grew up with the idea that respect for the game and regard for
its players is of the highest importance, more so than even the
outcome of any match.
“I try to treat all my opponents in the same way. It helps to look at
a match as an opportunity to improve, rather than a chance to beat
someone. This helps me stay focused on the purpose of playing instead
of letting my emotions kick-in to play,” says Katherine who was the
recipient of the MIAA’s 2010 Sue Little Sportsmanship Award and will
be a co-captain in 2011. “It is hard to be both a good loser and a
good winner, but approaching a match with a constant set of behavior
standards helps keep me level-headed.”
“Katherine leads by example,” says her coach Nate Price. “She is a
standout both athletically and academically and is someone that all
her teammates look up to as a great leader.”