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Hope College
MottoScript error
Motto in EnglishHope in God
TypePrivate coeducational liberal arts college
Religious affiliationReformed Church in America
Endowment$134.2 million[1]
PresidentJames Bultman
Admin. staff250
LocationHolland, MI, USA
CampusSuburban, 91 acres (0.4 km²)
Athletics18 varsity teams
ColorsOrange and blue             
NicknameFlying Dutchmen[2]
Flying Dutch
Hope College

Hope College is a medium-sized (3,200 undergraduates), private, residential liberal arts college located in downtown Holland, Michigan, United States, 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, and it retains a conservative 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 president and alumnus James E. Bultman.


The college offers 90 majors leading to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. It has a student population of about 3,205 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1.

In 2012, U.S. News & World Report included Hope College in a list of 33 institutions noted for outstanding undergraduate research programs. As of 2012, it is the only small 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 private, 4-year liberal arts schools whose graduates go on to earn a PhD.[3]

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.

University rankings
Forbes[4] 194
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[5] 94
Washington Monthly[6] 137

General Education RequirementsEdit

Hope College is a liberal arts college where each student is required to complete general education courses. The first requirement, First Year Seminar, is a two credit general education requirement that is open to first year students only. These seminars are taught on a wide range of topics; the professors of these seminars are also advisors to the students that are in their classes. Another general education requirement is Expository Writing, a four-credit course which can be replaced by English 113 and is a combination of discussion, writing and reading. Health Dynamics, also known as Kinesiology 140, is a two credit general education requirement that focuses on stress management, diet, and exercise. Instructors of this course work with their students to create a program specifically for each individual.

Students are required to take ten credit hours worth of mathematics and natural science courses. These include, but are not limited to: calculus, geometry, biology, chemistry, etc. Hope College requires students to take at least four credit hours of a foreign language and, because Hope is a Christian liberal arts college, at least six credits worth of religion. Students are also required to take two Social Sciences courses, where they can choose from economics, psychology, sociology, communications and political science.

Cultural Heritage is required in order to introduce three human disciplines: literature, history and philosophy from both the ancient and modern world. Hope students complete four credits of Cultural Diversity, designed to teach how to reflect upon cultural and global issues. Finally, students in their final year must complete a Senior Seminar.


Hope College competes in the MIAA conference, and is a Division III member of the NCAA. It currently fields 18 men's and women's varsity teams and in 2012-13 will add women's and men's lacrosse as varsity sports. The college has constructed several new outdoor athletic venues in recent years—DeVos Fieldhouse (2005), Boeve Baseball Stadium (2008), Wolters Softball Stadium (2008), Van Andel Soccer Stadium (2009) and Heeringa-Vand Poel Tennis Stadium (2012). For football, the city will soon be acquiring Holland Municipal Stadium and installing an artificial playing surface. In 2006, the women's basketball team won the National Championship in its division, the second in school history. The 2008 men's basketball team was third in the nation.

Hope has won the MIAA All-Sports/Commissioner's Cup Championship more than any other member school. Winners of the All-Sports championship 26 times since 1980, Hope has won the honor a league-leading 33 times, including the championship in the 2010-11 school year.[7] In 2010-11 Hope athletes and/or teams qualified for eight NCAA championships.

The school's athletic teams are called the Flying Dutchmen[2] (men) and the Flying Dutch (women).[2] The school colors are blue and orange (possibly chosen because the Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau). The college sponsor club sports teams in ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse, in addition to 27 competitive intramural sports teams. The ice hockey team, led by coach Chris Van Timmeren, have become the staple of Hope College athletics over the past half decade, averaging above a 80% winning percentage.


National Championships:

  • 1990 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 2006 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)

National Runners-up:

  • 1994 - Women's Swimming and Diving (NCAA Division III)
  • 1995 - Men's Swimming and Diving (NCAA Division III)
  • 1996 - Men's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 1998 - Men's Basketball (NCAA Division III)
  • 2010 - Women's Basketball (NCAA Division III)

Club Team National Runners-up:

  • 2003 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)
  • 2010 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)
  • 2011 - Men's Ice Hockey (ACHA Division III)

The men's and women's basketball teams also take part in a notable rivalry, the Calvin–Hope rivalry.

Campus lifeEdit

Housing is provided by 11 residence halls, 15 apartment buildings, and 72 houses (called "cottages") that the college owns near the campus. A small percentage of students - mostly juniors, seniors, and Holland residents - live off-campus. The majority of Hope students come from the greater Great Lakes region - in 2010 approximately 90% of the student body comes from the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.[8] Approximately 92.5% of the student body is white, students from minority backgrounds account for about 6.5% of the student body. Approximately 2% of the student body is international.[9]


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 female students acting as moralers. This event was started in 1897.[10] The Nykerk Cup is a competition between freshman and sophomore women (with men as moralers) in music, drama, and oration, held annually since 1936. Both traditions include separate duties based on gender and although there is slight criticism for this, both events are popular, well attended, and enjoy strong support from the campus community.

Student activities include Dance Marathon and Relay for Life, an FM radio station (WTHS-FM 89.9), 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 with the exception of one fraternity and one sorority (Phi Sigma Kappa and Delta Sigma Theta respectively). 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, yet students routinely fill Dimnent Chapel to its capacity of more than 1000 each time.

Among the many popular public events during the school year is the Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series which regularly brings in prominent authors for free public readings. The Series is named in honor of poet and Hope College professor emeritus Jack Ridl, who founded the tradition in 1982.

For seven straight years (2006–2012), Hope has been listed among the "101 best and brightest companies to work for in West Michigan" survey of the Michigan Business and Professional Association.[11]

The PullEdit

The Pull is an annual tug-of-war between the freshman and sophomore classes at Hope College. The Pull takes place across the Black River in Holland, Michigan, and now takes place on the first Saturday of October every year ( Prior to 1993 it was held on a Friday). The Pull dates back to 1898. During the Pull, each team has 18 students on the rope as "pullers," and another 18 acting as guides and morale boosters, or "moralers." The freshmen are coached by the junior class, and the sophomores by the seniors. This arrangement has led to the rivalry between even and odd year classes. Even year's colors are red and white, while Odd year's colors are maroon and gold. Even year holds the annual series lead with 54 wins to Odd year's 41. The competition is now limited to three hours, however it previously had no time limit. The winner is decided by a measure of which team has taken the most rope.

The Nykerk Cup CompetitionEdit

The Nykerk Cup Competition is a 77-year-old tradition at Hope College. It started back in the 1935 by John Nykerk. It is a multi-faceted competition between freshmen and sophomore girls that involves song, play and oration. Song is a combination of synchronized vocals, hand motions and props. Odd year classes and even year classes each have their own traditions that they include in their performance. When the performance comes around every November the alumni go wild as the traditional motions are made. Play incorporates many traditions as well and the script is always connected with Hope College. Oration is an approximately 9 minute speech, which incorporates elaborate hand and body movement. The orator is a female chosen from the class who writes her own speech which is always focused on the theme of Nykerk, which changes from year to year. The morale boys and play boys are another part of the Nykerk tradition. Their job is to make posters for encouragement and give gifts that will help the Nykerk girls get through the busy weeks of preparation. All participants have three weeks to perfect their performance before Nykerk night. On Nykerk Night there is a panel of judges who decide which year wins based on the quality of each performance. Once the winner is decided the Nykerk Cup is awarded to that class and the celebrations begin.[12]


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. It is the second oldest building in the city. The first freshman college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866. The college admitted its first female students in 1878.

Controversial Stance on HomosexualityEdit

Hope College has been mired in controversy since the mid-1990s over its stance on homosexuality. On January 28th, 2011 the Board of Trustees issued the following statement in response to criticism from alumni, former staff and the community over its refusal to recognize LGBT student support groups: "Homosexuality would be studied and discussed at Hope College, though campus groups supporting sexual issues deemed contrary to church teachings would continue to not be recognized." [13]

Notable alumniEdit

* attended but did not graduate from Hope


  1. As of June 30, 2010. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2009 to FY 2010" (PDF). 2010 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 History of Hope Nicknames--Dutchmen, Flying Dutchmen, Flying Dutch, Hope College Athletics, 2011
  3. CollegesThatChangeLives profile, 2008
  4. "America's Best Colleges". Forbes. 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  5. "Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  6. "The Washington Monthly Liberal Arts Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  7. MIAA: Commissioner's Cup
  8. Top States in Enrollment by Percent of Total Enrollment Hope College, retrieved on 2009-04-03
  9. Classification of Students by Racial / Ethnic Groups Hope College, retrieved on 2009-04-03
  10. The Pull Hope College, retrieved on 2009-04-03
  11. Kloosterman, Stephen "Hope employees give college high marks" Holland Sentinel (March 23, 2010)
  12. Nykerk, Hope College, 2011

External linksEdit

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