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Alumni Profile: Scott Carpenter '87

Scott Carpenter, a 1987 graduate who now works with State Department in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, was always a strongly driven student, a quality he found served well at Hope College.

“There was an openness there to being intellectually curious,” he says, noting that he was impressed by “the openness of the professors to work with you in practically any ways that you could creatively think to expand your intellectual career horizons.”

For Carpenter, there were quite a few.

“I scheduled additional classes,” he said. “I audited more classes than I actually attended, and there was an openness to that.” He also participated in the Washington, D.C., Honors Semester. That experience, he says, “was a huge eye-opener and that’s why I eventually came back to D.C.”

His Hope explorations ultimately led him to majors in French, history and political science, reflecting the breadth he valued at the college. “I think that the strength of a liberal arts school is that it provides a base for you—a strong base for either graduate school, work or for law school,” he says.

For Carpenter, the post-Hope journey has led many places. Prior to his work with the State Department, which has carried him around the world, his path included teaching in China and Hungary, and then several more years abroad working with the non-profit International Republican Institute to promote democracy.

Beyond his academic preparation, he appreciates the solid foundation that Hope provided and the great support that the professors gave him. “The people and experiences that you have in a place like Holland, the sense of community, rooted-ness that again you can learn in an environment that is encouraging you to grow,” he says, “those perspectives have life lessons that I think I’ve applied in everything that I’ve done in my career.”

Carpenter was invited back to Hope to speak during the dedication of the new Martha Miller Center for Global Communication last fall. He is thrilled by the building’s emphasis on connecting the college to the world, and valued returning for the event.

“For me to come back, it was an excellent opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the college and to many of the professors who contributed so much for me,” he said. “It was coming full-circle in many ways.”

This profile was written by Bethany A. Katerberg, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2006-07 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.