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1987 -- Receiving Honorary Doctor of Laws degree

Remembering Gerald R. Ford

1987 -- Rhodes Scholar Dan Stid welcomes President Ford to Campus.

When President Gerald R. Ford accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Hope College in April, 1987, he called it the most meaningful degree he had ever received.

"Because of my very, very high regard for Hope College, no degree -- earned or honorary -- will mean more to me than the one I received from this outstanding institution," President Ford said at a convocation held in his honor.

President Ford was no stranger to Hope College. From 1949 through 1973 as a Congressman whose district included Holland, he made annual visits to Hope to discuss foreign and domestic issues with students and faculty. He frequently hosted students and faculty at his Congressional office in Washington, D.C. In 1971 he delivered the keynote address and cut the ribbon celebrating the opening of the DeWitt Student and Cultural Center.

"We acknowledge with gratitude to God, President Ford's service to our country," said Hope College President James E. Bultman. "We are grateful for the affection he showed toward Hope College during his distinguished career, first as a Congressman, later as President, and in recent years as Statesman."

In 1977, just months after losing his presidential election bid to Jimmy Carter, Ford was back on the Hope campus, giving students an opportunity to ask questions of a man who less than a year earlier had been directly affecting the course of U.S. history. Students lined the Pine Grove sidewalk to shake his hand. Electing to speak from the floor instead of a podium, the former chief executive said his visit "was like coming home."

Photo Gallery

1956 -- Hope Students Visit Congressman Ford at Capital

1987 -- Convocation and Honorary Degree Presentation

1987 -- Campus Welcoming from President Van Wylen, Provost Jacob
Nyenhuis (photo left) and Trustee Ekdal J. Buys (photo right)

1987 -- President Ford Enjoys a Light Moment with
Trustee Peter Cook (left) and Hope College President Gordon Van Wylen


Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States (1974-1977) died December 26, 2006 in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 93. He was laid to rest on the grounds of his presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum