Hope College
Hope College seal.png
Seal of Hope College
MottoSpera in Deo (Latin)
Motto in English
Hope in God
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1866; 157 years ago (1866)
Religious affiliation
Reformed Church in America
Academic affiliations
Endowment$229.2 million (2020)[1]
PresidentMatthew A. Scogin
ProvostGerald Griffin
Administrative staff
Undergraduates3,149 (fall 2019)[2]

42°47′13″N 86°6′8″W / 42.78694°N 86.10222°W / 42.78694; -86.10222Coordinates: 42°47′13″N 86°6′8″W / 42.78694°N 86.10222°W / 42.78694; -86.10222
CampusSuburban, 125 acres (51 ha)
Colors    Orange and blue
NicknameFlying Dutchmen[3]
Flying Dutch
Sporting affiliations
Hope College wordmark.svg

Hope College is a private Christian liberal arts college in Holland, Michigan. It was originally 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. Hope College is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America and retains a Christian atmosphere. Its 125 acres (0.195 sq mi) campus is adjacent to the downtown commercial district and has been shared with Western Theological Seminary since 1884.


Graves Hall
Graves Hall
Dimnent Memorial Chapel
Dimnent Memorial Chapel

Hope's motto is taken from Psalm 42:6: "Spera in Deo" ("Hope in God"). The college's emblem is an anchor. This is drawn from a speech 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 college-level education as Hope College. Van Vleck Hall, which originally housed the Pioneer School, is the oldest building on campus (1858) and serves as a dormitory. It is the city's second-oldest building. The first college class matriculated in 1862, and Hope received its state charter in 1866. The college admitted its first female students in 1878.

2015 marked Hope College's 150th year of education. In honor of this, Hope held many events in 2015. The celebration began with the 150th commencement on May 3, 2015. The year held two grand openings, the Kruizenga Art Museum and the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts, and the groundbreaking ceremony of the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center. The college also sponsored the Presidential Colloquium lecture series, which featured an address by David Brooks on Christian education in the 21st century.[4]

A marker designating the college as a Michigan Historic Site was erected in 2019 by the Michigan Historical Commission.[5] The inscription reads:

In 1851, four years after settlers from the Netherlands founded Holland, the Pioneer School was established to meet some of the educational needs of the young colony. This school, the predecessor of Hope College, received direction and financial support from the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America. The school evolved into the Holland Academy, which in 1862 enrolled its first college class. On May 14, 1866, the institution was chartered as Hope College, and on July 17, 1866, the first class of eight students was graduated. The college’s name, seal, and motto are derived from a statement of the founder of Holland, Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, who said of the Pioneer School, “This is my Anchor of Hope for this people in the future.” In the decades that followed, a strong college of arts and sciences was developed which continues to serve the church and the community.


The following people have presided over the college:[6]

  1. Philip Phelps Jr. (1866–1878)
  2. Charles Scott (1878–1893)
  3. Gerrit J. Kollen (1893–1911, Hope College Class of 1868)
  4. Ame Vennema (1911–1918, Hope College Class of 1879)
  5. Edward D. Dimnent (1918–1931, Hope College Class of 1896)
  6. Wynand Wichers (1931–1945)
  7. Irwin J. Lubbers (1945–1963, Hope College Class of 1917)
  8. Calvin A. VanderWerf (1963–1970, Hope College Class of 1937)
  9. Gordon VanWylen (1972–1987)
  10. John H. Jacobson (1987–1999)
  11. James E. Bultman (1999–2013, Hope College Class of 1963)
  12. John C. Knapp (2013–2017)
  13. Dennis N. Voskuil (2017–2019, Interim)
  14. Matthew A. Scogin (2019–Present, Hope College Class of 2002) [7]


Admissions statistics
2020 entering

Admit rate77.8
(3,041 out of 3,907)
Yield rate23.9
(727 out of 3,041)
Test scores middle 50%*
SAT Total1110-1300
(among 71% of FTFs)
ACT Composite23-29
(among 43% of FTFs)
  • *Among students who chose to submit

The college offers 90+ majors, all of which lead to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in engineering, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It has a student population of about 3,400 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. The college offers off-campus study programs in several 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 longstanding summer semester in Vienna is fairly popular among students.

Hope maintains strong ties to the Reformed Church in America.

In addition, Hope College is a member of the Great Lakes College Association.

Courses offered at Hope are divided into five disciplines:


Academic rankings
Liberal arts colleges
U.S. News & World Report[14]105
Washington Monthly[15]129

Hope College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, with professional accreditation from the following:[17]

Campus life


On-campus housing[18] is provided in 11 residence halls, 15 apartment buildings, and 70+ houses (called "cottages") that the college owns near the campus. A small percentage of students—primarily juniors, seniors, and Holland residents—live off-campus. All full-time students without commuter status are required to live in on-campus housing for three years.


Most Hope students come from the greater Great Lakes region. In 2012 approximately 90% of the student body came from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Approximately 86% of the student body is white; students from minority backgrounds account for about 12% of the student body. Approximately 2% of the student body is international.

The Hope Sailing club is one of the many clubs at Hope.
The Hope Sailing club is one of the many clubs at Hope.

Student organizations

Student activities[19] and organizations include Dance Marathon and Relay for Life, an FM radio station (WTHS), newspaper (The Anchor), literary magazine (Opus), and yearbook (Milestone), plus a variety of academic, musical, spiritual, literary, social and athletic clubs. 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, Phi Sigma Kappa. 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 Memorial Chapel to its capacity of greater than 1,000 students at each service.

Campus traditions

The Pull

"The Pull" is an annual tug-of-war between the freshman and sophomore classes at Hope College. It takes place across the Black River in Holland on the last Saturday of September every year (until 1993 it was held on a Friday). The Pull dates to 1898. 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 juniors, and the sophomores by 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. The competition is limited to three hours; it previously had no time limit. The winner is the team that takes the most rope.

A view of the Odd year side at the 114th pull
A view of the Odd year side at the 114th pull

The Nykerk Cup Competition

The Nykerk Cup is a multifaceted competition between freshmen and sophomore women involving song, play, and oration. As in the Pull, freshmen are coached by juniors and sophomores by seniors, also contributing to the "Odd Year" and "Even Year" competitions. The Nykerk Cup takes place during Family Weekend in late fall. The tradition was begun in 1935 by John Nykerk. Men participate in the competition as "moralers" by supporting the participants while building sets and coordinating scene changes.[20]

Winter Fantasia

One formal dance is offered by the college in February. Students may attend in large groups or with dates, and the college offers transportation to Grand Rapids, where it takes place.

Dance Marathon

The students of Hope College hold the annual Dance Marathon to raise money for the Helen Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. This event takes place in the spring semester. Students volunteer to be dancers or moralers for the event. Dancers stand on their feet and dance for 24 hours while moralers take shifts supporting the dancers. Children of the hospital often visit to show their thanks.

Christmas Vespers

Each December, Hope College hosts a musical Christmas service in Dimnent Chapel. The service has been held annually since 1941 and features over 200 students, staff and faculty. It includes music performed by the Chapel Choir, College Chorus, Orchestra, and other small ensembles.[21] There are four performances each year, all of which draw a crowd that fills the chapel. The event is regularly recorded and televised on PBS stations during the Christmas season.[22]

Campus events

Hope routinely hosts well-known authors, speakers, scientists, and global leaders who present lectures on a wide variety of topics.

The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series brings in prominent authors for free public readings. The series is named for poet and Hope College professor emeritus Jack Ridl, who founded the series in 1982.


For 11 straight years (2006–2016), Hope College was listed among the "101 best and brightest companies to work for in West Michigan" survey of the Michigan Business and Professional Association.[23]

Campus renovation

The college marked the completion of the "Greater Hope"[24] campaign in October 2015 with the dedication of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. In September 2015, the college dedicated the opening of Kruizenga Art Museum, designed by C Concept Design, and broke ground on construction of the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center.

As of October 2015, the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts and the Kruizenga Art Museum are open and in use by students and faculty. The Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center opened for the 2017–18 school year.


Hope College competes in the MIAA conference, and is a Division III member of the NCAA. It currently fields 20 men's and women's varsity teams. 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-Vande Poel Tennis Stadium (2012). The college recently acquired Holland Municipal Stadium from the City of Holland and has renamed it the Ray and Sue Smith in honor of a longtime coach and his wife. In 2006, the women's basketball team won the National Championship in its division, the second in school history.

Hope has won the MIAA All-Sports/Commissioner's Cup Championship more than any other member school. Hope has won the honor a league-leading 34 times.[25] In 2012-13 Hope athletes and/or teams qualified for nine NCAA championships.

The school's athletic teams are called the Flying Dutchmen[3] (men) and the Flying Dutch (women).[3] The school colors are blue and orange (possibly chosen because the Dutch royal family is the House of Orange-Nassau). The college sponsors club ice hockey and rugby in addition to a popular intramural sports program.

National Championships:

National Runners-up:

Club Team National Championships:

Club Team National Runners-up:

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

Notable alumni

Notable alumni and staff of Hope College include:


Faculty and staff


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ "College Navigator - Hope College". nces.ed.gov.
  3. ^ a b c History of Hope Nicknames--Dutchmen, Flying Dutchmen, Flying Dutch, Hope College Athletics, 2011
  4. ^ Box 9000, Contact Hope College PO; Holl; work 616.395.7000, Michigan 49422-9000 (August 14, 2015). "Birthday Bash". Birthday Bash.
  5. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers -Hope College". www.hmdb.org. Historical Marker Data Base. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  6. ^ Hope College. "Presidents of Hope College". Archived from the original on June 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Day One: Matthew Scogin Takes the Reins at Hope".
  8. ^ "Hope College Common Data Set 2020-2021" (PDF). Hope College. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
  9. ^ Hope College. "General Education". The General Education Program. Hope College. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Hope College. "Fine Arts and Humanities". Fine Arts and Humanities degre. Hope College. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Hope College. "Natural and Applied Sciences". Natural and Applied Sciences degree. Hope College. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  12. ^ Hope College. "Social Sciences". Social Sciences degrees.
  13. ^ Hope College. "Pre-Health Professions Advising | Hope College". Pre-health programs. Hope College. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  14. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "2021 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  16. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2022". Forbes. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  17. ^ Hope College. "Accreditation". Accreditation. Hope College.
  18. ^ Hope College. "housing". residential life. Hope College. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Hope College. "student organizations". student organizations. Hope College.
  20. ^ [1], Hope College, 2017
  21. ^ Inc, Midwest Communications. "Hope College Christmas Vespers Services". 1450 99.7 WHTC.
  22. ^ Box 9000, Contact Hope College PO; Holl; work 616.395.7000, Michigan 49422-9000 (December 19, 2017). "Michigan PBS Stations Airing 2017 Christmas Vespers Service". Michigan PBS Stations Airing 2017 Christmas Vespers Service.
  23. ^ "West Michigan's 2016 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For® - The Best and Brightest". 101bestandbrightest.com. July 8, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  24. ^ Greater Hope. "Greater Hope Campaign". The Hope College Campaign. Hope College.
  25. ^ "MIAA: Commissioner's Cup". Archived from the original on June 10, 2008.
  26. ^ New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Faculty Directory: Gregg Alan Mast, President Archived 2013-10-03 at the Wayback Machine (curriculum vitae). Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  27. ^ "Zigzag Journeys in the Camel Country: Arabia in Picture and Story". World Digital Library. 1911. Retrieved September 22, 2013.