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Presidential Update Fall 2000

To Hope College Alumni and Friends:

On this fall day, the morning dawned bright and beautiful. As I walked from our home to my office, the trees were dressed with the resplendent colors of autumn. The air was cool and crisp. For a "has been" player and coach, it "smelled like football!"

When I arrived at my office in the DeWitt Center, Glenn Lowe from our college advancement staff politely reminded me that, "When you're slow, you need to work longer." Saturday mornings are a great time for me to catch up on the things I should have done during the week. But, Saturdays are also a time of great activity on the Hope College campus. At noon, I went to the women's soccer match and in early afternoon to the women's MIAA golf match. At three o'clock, Martie joined me for the traditional Pull between the freshman and sophomore classes at the Black River site. This annual event continues to generate unbelievable interest. On the way home, we paid a visit on two of Hope's most faithful supporters, Ek and Mina Buys. Ek is recovering nicely from surgery following a fall at his home. Finally, in the evening we attended the Symphonette Concert in Dimnent Chapel. It was a good day!

Hope Students

I continue to be so impressed with Hope College students. They are talented, respectful, diligent, and willing to use their abilities in service to others. Not all are yet "fully refined," but we find each one delightful. Of course, you know students are on a different biological time clock than us older folk. When we go to bed at 10:30 p.m. each night, virtually every dorm room light is on. When we awaken at 6:15 a.m., not a single room is lit! This past week, I was startled when I saw a light on at 6:30 a.m. in Durfee Hall. My first reaction was that someone had gone home for the night and forgot to turn off the lights. But, alas, on further inquiry I discovered that sophomore roommates Chad Carlson (Holland, MI) and Luke Rumohr (Mason, MI) had gone for early morning Bible study!

Dean Patterson Accepts Position at Westmont College

In one of my previous Presidential Updates, I shared with you the concerns surrounding Hope's Chapel program. I would now like to give you an update.

In my twenty-six years of being an administrator, I have never supervised an employee as thoroughly as I did Ben Patterson this past year. Knowing the polarized positions of well-intentioned people on both sides of this issue, I was determined to be as objective as I could without being a pest. I am pleased to tell you that Ben was a very good sport about this. He listened carefully, willingly accepted my recommendations, and implemented them to the very best of his ability. I thank and commend him for that. At the conclusion of the academic year, I met with Ben to review this effort and justifiably offered him continuing employment at Hope.

On different occasions during the course of the ensuing weeks, Ben shared with me that he felt God was calling him to a new ministry in a different place. Initially, he did not know where this would be. Ben and I discussed this at length and bathed it in prayer. When he sensed that God was calling him elsewhere and then specifically to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, he was given the freedom to pursue it. Westmont is an excellent institution, and I wish for Ben much joy and fulfillment in his ministry there. I will miss him both personally and professionally and want to publicly thank him for his significant ministry at Hope College. Ben will be concluding his work at Hope during this fall semester.

I am very pleased to share with you that the Reverend Dr. Timothy Brown, Henry Bast Professor of Preaching at Western Theological Seminary and a member of Hope's Board of Trustees, has agreed to an interim appointment as Dean of the Chapel during the second semester. I will be chairing the committee conducting a national search for Ben's successor. We ask for your prayers and suggestions as we embark on the process of filling this important position.

Legacies: A Vision of Hope

At the fall Board of Trustees meeting held October 5-6, the Trustees authorized the launching of the Legacies: A Vision of Hope capital campaign in the amount of $85 million. This is the most ambitious capital campaign in the history of the college. The campaign has three major initiatives: 1) an expansion and renovation of the current Peale Science Center at an estimated cost of $36 million, 2) an enhanced endowment for student scholarships, endowed positions, and new building maintenance at $30 million, and 3) other campus development including the construction of the new Martha Miller Center for the departments of dance, communication, and modern/classical languages, renovations of the Dow Center and Lubbers Hall, refurbishing Dimnent Chapel (already completed), the purchase of available property in the eastern gateway to the college campus, and the restoration of historic Graves Hall, all at an estimated cost of $19 million.

This campaign is not necessarily about the building of buildings. Rather, it is about the construction of facilities that will enable our students and faculty to perform at their very highest levels. Quite simply, the facilities infrastructure of the college has not kept pace with recent enrollment pressures. The construction and renovation of the proposed facilities will allow us to more nearly match our enrollment needs.

Nor, is this campaign about accumulating a large endowment that will make the college independent from our traditional support bases. Hope has a good endowment of approximately $125 million. But, when factoring in our indebtedness and the number of students, we remain far behind our comparison groups in the amount of working endowment per student. This must be addressed in order to keep a Hope College education affordable in the future for talented and deserving students. In sum, the campaign will positively impact virtually every area of our campus community both now and in the future. I am very excited about what this campaign will do for Hope College.

All of the Hope College constituency will be asked to participate in this major campaign designed to bring the college into this new century with great strength and vitality. Like so many others, Martie and I have made commitments to the capital campaign, the annual fund, and have made provision in our estate plan for Hope. We have not done this because we agree with everything that happens at the college. We don't. Nor, have we made these commitments because everything is perfect at Hope. It isn't. Rather, we have made these commitments because we believe in the mission of the college and, importantly, because we believe in the people of Hope. I believe Martie said it best: "When you believe in the mission of the college and you believe in the people of Hope, it's easy to give." I trust that for each of you this will be your experience and that you will derive great joy from investing in the future of Hope College.


For the first time in its history, Hope has more than 3,000 students enrolled-3,015 to be exact. The inn is full! In accord with the wishes of the Trustees, this is our maximum capacity, and it occurred a bit more rapidly than we anticipated. Our new student enrollment was one more than our goal for the year at 766. Our retention, however, was two percent higher than we anticipated, and the number of upper class students desiring to live on campus was four percent higher than our traditional averages. All of this together caused a very real shortage of campus housing. But, we are very grateful for the creative ways our student development and maintenance staff found acceptable places for students to live and for the good spirit of students in accepting these accommodations.

Hope in the Summer

Many college campuses are rather dormant during the summer months. This is not true at Hope College. This past summer, there was a flurry of activity virtually every day. From a financial standpoint, of course, it is good to use college facilities which otherwise would generate no revenue during the summer. And, it is even more important that many people are influenced by the Hope experience.

One hundred forty-one students participated in collaborative faculty/student research during the summer. These are positions paid primarily from grant monies that have been awarded to Hope faculty members. Increasingly, the opportunity to do collaborative research with a faculty member influences prospective students to attend Hope College. Hope has been a national leader in this regard for many years. In addition, there were 992 students enrolled in Hope summer classes.

Hope hosted many summer athletic camps including boy's and girl's basketball day camps, boy's and girl's soccer camps, youth football day camps as well as running, wrestling, and cheerleading camps. There were also many conferences on campus during the summer months including Challenge of the Children, Hope Chemistry Symposium, Dutch American Experience, MS Bicycle Fundraiser, Children in Worship, and the internationally acclaimed Cecchetti Ballet School.

Engineering School Accredited

I often eat lunch with students. It is both enjoyable and informative! Recently, I joined Emily Semer (Jr., Suttons Bay, MI), Steve Molesa (Sr., Troy, MI), Bill Crane (Jr., Cedar Springs, MI) and Sam Martin (Jr., Alma, MI) for lunch in Cook Hall. All were impressive!

Steve lingered after the others left, and we talked about his Hope experience and his future plans. He had very complimentary things to say about Hope's recently accredited engineering program and the personal attention he had received from Professor Jim Van Putten. Steve also very humbly shared with me that he is being prepped by Professor Bill Cohen for a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. His near perfect grade point average and co-curricular activities (football, track, and hockey) make him an attractive candidate. Steve came to Hope because of the academic program and claims that Hope has also been beneficial for his spiritual, social, and physical growth. How fortunate we are to have students like Steve who really stretch to reach their full potential!

Hope is Special

Martie and I want you to know that we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve at our alma mater. So many recognize Hope as a very special place. Recently, I asked Professor Tom Smith from our department of economics and business administration what he thought made it so. He pondered for a while and then said he thought there were three factors: "1) a very favorable 13 to 1 student/faculty ratio allowing for considerable personal attention, 2) faculty and staff bringing a Christian perspective to their work, and 3) professors, coaches, and directors pouring their hearts into students." Remember these reasons. They may well define the worth of a Hope College degree!

James E. Bultman, President