Student Profile: Paul VanderVelde ’09
Originally, Paul VanderVelde resisted the idea of attending Hope,
wasn’t sure he wanted to follow the footsteps of his family.
With five generations
of Hope graduates ahead of him, Paul thought he wanted to go in
direction. But after visiting Hope, he quickly realized why his
family had stayed
loyal to the college.
“ I saw the facilities at Hope and knew about the individualized
nature of the
classes,” Paul says. “Also, I saw what my dad was able
to do with his education
here, so I knew that the chemistry department
was very strong.”
Another reason Paul decided to attend
Hope is that he could participate in cross
country. Since he ran all throughout high
school, he wanted to continue in college.
At a bigger school, Paul says, he may not
have had that opportunity.
“When the coach gave me the opportunity
to continue running at Hope, I was
very excited. Training and hanging out
with the team is a lot of fun. It’s one of
the things I enjoy most here,” he says.
As a student majoring in chemistry,
Paul appreciates the academic integrity in
his department and notes that Hope prepares
its students well for work in chemistry.
Back home in Kansas for the summer
after his sophomore year, for
example, Paul participated in undergraduate
research at Kansas University and felt
very prepared. Though nervous at first, he
quickly realized that Hope had given him
all the skills he needed.
“When I got there, I found out that it was nothing new, and
I had the ability
to do anything they asked of me. I had done it all before at Hope,” he
was so reassuring to know that my education had more than prepared
me for a
Now that he has attended Hope for three years, Paul appreciates
college connects him to his family of Hope graduates, since he
is able to relate
to many family members about different aspects of Hope. For example,
says, “It is really cool to be able to talk to my dad and
aunt who went through
the same chemistry program I am going through.”
For Paul and his grandfather, the connection is Hope athletics. “My
played basketball here and he is very proud to have someone in
the family in the
athletics program,” he says.
The result for Paul is the best of two qualities: an opportunity
to connect with
family while at the same time making the most of an educational
This profile was written by Danielle K. Johnson, a 2008
Hope College graduate from Kalamazoo, Mich., for the 2008-09
Hope College Catalog.
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