Hope College is a medium-sized (3,200 undergraduates), private, residential liberal arts college located in downtown Holland, Michigan, a few miles from Lake Michigan. It was opened in 1851 as the Pioneer School by Dutch immigrants four years after the community was first settled. (The first freshman college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866.) It has been historically associated with the Reformed Church in America (a Calvinist denomination), and it retains a Christian atmosphere. The school's campus - now 91 acres (368,000 m²), adjacent to the downtown commercial district - has been shared with Western Theological Seminary since 1884. Since 1999, Hope has been led by current president and alumnus Dr. James E. Bultman.
In 2003 U.S. News & World Report's college rankings listed it 4th in undergraduate research after the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and MIT. The college continues to be recognized by U.S. News & Report as a leading national liberal arts institution and in the 2009 edition was included among the 33 select institutions listed in the publication's "Programs to Look For" section in the category singling out schools that are outstanding for "Undergraduate Research/Creatigve Projects." Graduates applying to medical and dental schools have 90% and 94% acceptance rates, respectively. As of 2008, it was the only liberal arts college in the country to receive national accreditation in all four areas of the fine arts: art, music, dance, and theater. It is in the top 5% of liberal arts schools whose graduates go on to earn a PhD. The college also continues to be included among the 33 select institutions listed in the publication's "Programs to Look For" section in the category singling out schools that are outstanding for "Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects." The college is also one of the approximately 310 schools included in the latest "Fiske Guide to Colleges" as "the country's best and most interesting colleges and universities." The 2009 edition notes that "Hope's academic and athletic programs continue to grow and prosper," quoting one senior as observing that "Hope is a place where students are challenged to become better students, but, more importantly, better people." Hope is one of 159 schools receiving "Best in the Midwest" designation from "The Princeton Review." In addition, Hope ranks 166th nationally on the new "America's Best Colleges" guide that has debuted on Forbes.com, placing third among the 15 Michigan institutions included in the listing.
Hope College faculty rank fourth nationally among all liberal arts institutions for numbers of faculty research publications and 14th overall for highest impact of those publications as measured by the Science Citation Index. Since 1990, more than 300 undergraduate students have co-authored research publications with faculty.
The college offers off-campus study programs in several US cities, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and overseas programs for the summer, semester, or an entire academic year. Among its international programs, a long-standing summer semester in Vienna is fairly popular among students.
Hope College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
Hope has won the MIAA All-Sports/Commissioner's Cup Championship more than any other member school. Winners of the All-Sports championship 23 times since 1980, Hope has won the honor a league-leading 30 times, including a co-championship in the 2007-08 school year. In 2007-08 Hope athletes and/or teams qualified for 10 NCAA championships.
The school's athletic teams are called the Flying Dutchmen (men) and the Flying Dutch (women). The school colors are blue and orange (possibly chosen because the Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau). The college has 27 competitive intramural sports teams.
Club Team National Runners-up:
The men's basketball team also takes part in a storied rivalry, the Calvin-Hope rivalry.
Traditions at Hope include "The Pull" and Nykerk cup, events which pit freshman and sophomore classes against each other. In "The Pull," freshmen and sophomore men engage in an elaborately prepared three-hour tug-of-war across the nearby Black River, with women students acting as moralers. This event was started in 1897. The Nykerk Cup is a competition between freshman and sophomore women (with men as moralers) in music, drama, and oration, held annually since 1936. Since both traditions strongly encourage separate duties based on gender, they have come under continuous criticism as sexist institutions. Nevertheless, both events are well attended and enjoy strong support from the campus community.
Student activities include Dance Marathon, FM radio station (WTHS), newspaper (The Anchor), literary magazine (Opus), and yearbook (Milestone), plus a variety of clubs, musical and choral groups, spiritual, literary, social and athletic groups. About 10-12% of students belong to social fraternities and sororities, which are local to Hope rather than chapters of larger organizations. The college holds Sunday evening worship services ("The Gathering") and Monday/Wednesday/Friday chapel services on campus. Attendance at these events has been voluntary since 1970.
The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series regularly brings in prominent authors for free public readings. Previous visiting writers include David Kirby, Marilynne Robinson, and Li-Young Lee, amongst many others. The Series was recently renamed in honor of poet and professor Jack Ridl, who founded the tradition in 1982. It is a student-run organization under the coordination of professor Carla Vissers, with a number of volunteers and student interns.
Hope's motto is taken from Psalm 42:5: "Spera in Deo" ("Hope in God"). The college's emblem is an anchor. This is drawn from a speech made by Albertus van Raalte, the leader of the community, on the occasion of the founding of the Pioneer School in 1851: "This is my anchor of hope for this people in the future," (an allusion to Hebrews 6:19). The primary-level Pioneer School was later expanded to secondary, and soon after, college level education as Hope College. Van Vleck Hall, which originally housed the Pioneer School, is the oldest building on campus (1858) and now serves as a dormitory. The first freshman college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866. It is the second oldest building in the city. The college admitted its first female students in 1878.
* attended but did not graduate from Hope