A record number of future alumni will be participating in this year's graduation activities at Hope College.
Some 673 graduating seniors are expected to be participating in the college's 140th Commencement on Sunday, May 8. The previous high was approximately 640, in 2004.
The record fits with the class's history. At the time of its matriculation in the fall of 2001, the Class of 2005 had included the largest number of first-year students in the college's history.
The Commencement speaker will be the Rev. Paul H. Boersma, who is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Senior Chaplain at the college. The Baccalaureate sermon will be delivered by the Rev. David M. Bast of Grand Rapids, who is broadcast minister and president of Words of Hope.
Commencement will be held at 3 p.m. at Holland Municipal Stadium. Baccalaureate will be held earlier in the day, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.
Boersma, a 1982 Hope graduate has been with the college's campus ministries staff since the summer of 1994, and was named to the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Chaplaincy in 2001.
Prior to coming to Hope, he was pastor of youth and education at Community Reformed Church in Zeeland, where he had been since 1983. He holds a Master of Divinity from Western Theological Seminary.
Boersma's parents, Connie and the late Max Boersma, both attended Hope, and his father was a longtime member of the college's Board of Trustees who died in January of 2003. His maternal grandfather was the late Milton L. "Bud" Hinga, who was a member of the college's teaching and administrative staff for 29 years, serving as an associate professor of history, serving as dean of men and dean of students, serving as athletic director for nearly two decades and coaching all sports at the college.
He and his wife, Melody, a member of the college's Class of 1983, live in Zeeland and have three children: Aaron, Joel and Emily.
Bast, a 1973 Hope graduate, has been broadcast minister and president of Words of Hope since 1994, and has been a member of the college's Board of Trustees since 2001.
Words of Hope broadcasts gospel radio programs in approximately 40 languages worldwide, especially among the world's least-evangelized, hardest-to-reach peoples. As part of his work with the radio ministry, Bast preaches frequently in churches and conferences, representing Words of Hope across the Reformed Church in America and around the world.
Prior to joining Words of Hope, he held pastorates at Hamilton Reformed Church; First Reformed Church of South Holland, Ill.; and Fifth Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. He completed his Master of Divinity degree at Western Theological Seminary.
His father was the Rev. Henry Bast, a member of the college's Class of 1930 who taught at Hope and at Western Theological Seminary, and who preached on the Temple Time radio program--predecessor of Words of Hope--from 1952 to 1972.
Bast and his wife, Betty Jo, a Hope classmate, have four children: Andrew; Peter; Jane, a member of the college's Class of 2003; and Anne, a Hope junior.
In the event of rain, Commencement will be held at Zeeland East High School, located at Riley Street and 96th Avenue in Zeeland. Admission to Baccalaureate, and to Commencement if indoors, is by ticket only.