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Hope College April 2016 : Page 10

HOPE 150 PROL O GU E TO T HE PR E SE N T: Chronicling the First 150 Years by Greg Chandler Hope’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration will conclude in a few short weeks, but the commemoration of the college’s rich—and sometimes colorful—history will continue through the publication of a book LWK]UMV\QVO\PMKWTTMOM¼[Å Z[\&#1d;aMIZ[QV loving detail. The upcoming two-volume edition, An Enduring Hope: A Sesquicentennial History of Hope College, 1866-2016 6 , is to be published later this year. The editor and primary co-author is Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis, provost and professor of classics emeritus at Hope, director emeritus of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute and editor-in-chief of the Van Raalte Press. Dr. James C. Kennedy, a former associate professor of history at Hope and honorary research fellow of the institute who now is a professor of history and Dean of University College Utrecht, is co-editor of the book and author of the opening chapter. In addition, seven others with strong ties to the college have contributed chapters to the book, which is to be published by Van Raalte Press, a division of the institute, in collaboration with William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company as part of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Senior Research Fellow Dr. Donald J. Bruggink is the founding general editor of the RCA Historical Series. way,” said Dr. Nyenhuis, who served on the Hope faculty from 1975 until 2001, when he joined the Van Raalte Institute. “It will be not only a narrative of the history of the college but also an enduring record of all the constituent parts of the college.” An Enduring Hope e Q[\PMÅ Z[\KWUXZMPMV[Q^M history of Hope since the 1968 publication of A Century of Hope , written by former president Dr. Wynand Wichers (Class of 1909) in conjunction with the college’s centennial. ?Q\PU]KPWN\PMKWTTMOM¼[[\WZaZMÆ MK\ML in the development of the campus, about 200 pages of the book are dedicated to the history of 60 buildings that have been part of Hope through the past 150 years—and beyond. The chronicle ranges from Van Vleck Hall, which was built in 1858 with funds raised by Hope’s founder, the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, from RCA congregations in New York and New Jersey, through the Jim and An Enduring Hope: A Sesquicentennial History of Hope College, 1866-2016 Q[\PMÅ Z[\KWUXZMPMV[Q^M history of Hope since the 1968 publication of A Century of Hope , written by former president Dr. Wynand Wichers (Class of 1909) in conjunction with the college’s centennial. “My goal is to tell the story of Hope College in an interesting and compelling Dr. Edward D. Dimnent Class of 1896, 5th president 10 News From Hope College

Prologue to The Present: Chronicling the First 150 Years

Greg Chandler

Hope’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration will conclude in a few short weeks, but the commemoration of the college’s rich—and sometimes colorful—history will continue through the publication of a book documenting the college’s first 150 years in loving detail.

The upcoming two-volume edition, An Enduring Hope: A Sesquicentennial History of Hope College, 1866-2016, is to be published later this year. The editor and primary co-author is Dr. Jacob E. Nyenhuis, provost and professor of classics emeritus at Hope, director emeritus of the A.C. Van Raalte Institute and editor-in-chief of the Van Raalte Press. Dr. James C. Kennedy, a former associate professor of history at Hope and honorary research fellow of the institute who now is a professor of history and Dean of University College Utrecht, is co-editor of the book and author of the opening chapter.

In addition, seven others with strong ties to the college have contributed chapters to the book, which is to be published by Van Raalte Press, a division of the institute, in collaboration with William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company as part of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Senior Research Fellow Dr. Donald J. Bruggink is the founding general editor of the RCA Historical Series.

“My goal is to tell the story of Hope College in an interesting and compelling way,” said Dr. Nyenhuis, who served on the Hope faculty from 1975 until 2001, when he joined the Van Raalte Institute. “It will be not only a narrative of the history of the college but also an enduring record of all the constituent parts of the college.”

An Enduring Hope is the fifirst comprehensive history of Hope since the 1968 publication of A Century of Hope, written by former president Dr. Wynand Wichers (Class of 1909) in conjunction with the college’s centennial.

With much of the college’s story reflected in the development of the campus, about 200 pages of the book are dedicated to the history of 60 buildings that have been part of Hope through the past 150 years—and beyond. The chronicle ranges from Van Vleck Hall, which was built in 1858 with funds raised by Hope’s founder, the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, from RCA congregations in New York and New Jersey, through the Jim and Martie Bultman Center, currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2017.

“Some buildings get only a page of narrative, but there are others, like Van Vleck and Voorhees, that have five-10 pages, because there was so much history connected with them. There’s such a big story to tell,” said Dr. Nyenhuis, who started to develop the building histories more than 10 years ago, even before the book itself was planned, for a project for the Council of Independent Colleges.

Each building featured in the book includes basic information, such as the architect and architectural style, the year it was constructed, how much it cost to build it, and the purpose for each structure, Dr. Nyenhuis said.

Peeling back the veil of time shows that the strong Hope of the past several decades often contrasts with the fragile institution of earlier eras. Students and founding president Philip Phelps Jr. built the college’s first chapel/ gymnasium/assembly hall themselves; there were just eight graduates in the pioneering Class of 1866; professors in the earliest days sometimes went unpaid; and at one point in the early 20th century, the college went through a period of 22 consecutive years of deficit budgets, Dr. Nyenhuis said. Today, as just two points of comparison, Hope enrolls 3,407 students and has balanced its budgets for more than 40 consecutive years.

The book also details the visionary ideas of leaders such as Dr. Edward Dimnent (Class of 1896), Hope’s president from 1918 to 1931, who proposed construction of the chapel that today bears his name. One surprising finding that Dr. Nyenhuis gleaned in his research is that Dr. Dimnent himself contributed the last $100,000 toward the cost of the chapel’s completion.

“He was building for the future,” Dr. Nyenhuis said. “When he built it, there were no more than 400 students on campus.”

Another section of the book documents the role the RCA has played in the college’s history. Dr. Dennis Voskuil, who was appointed director of the Van Raalte Institute last year, says the college’s very survival in its early years depended on the support of RCA congregations on the East Coast.

“Without assistance from their Eastern sisters and brothers, there would be no Hope College. It would not have survived the 19th century,” said Dr. Voskuil, who was a member of Hope’s religion faculty from 1977 to 1994, then served as president of Western Theological Seminary until 2008. “This … institution was dependent on the churches in New York and New Jersey for its president, its faculty and its financial support.”

The relationship even helped connect Hope with well-known industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who although not a member attended St. Nicholas Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church in New York City. Carnegie gave funds for the Carnegie Gymnasium (later Carnegie-Schouten Gymnasium) that stood north of today’s DeWitt Center from 1906 until razed in 1982.

Dr. Voskuil noted that Hope’s impact on the RCA has also, in turn, been far-reaching. A study in 1941, for example, found that one-third of all Hope graduates were either pastors or missionaries, and 42 percent of all RCA pastors had graduated from Hope.

While the percentage of students affiliated with the RCA has declined in recent years as Hope has become more diverse, Dr. Voskuil believes strongly that the denomination’s influence on the college continues and will remain important in the future.

“It continues to be a denominational college in the sense that its character and values as a Christian liberal arts college reflect those of its founding denomination,” he said. “I am convinced, 50 years hence, when we come to celebrate our 200th anniversary, the college and its founding denomination will continue to have a vital relationship.”

Dr. Elton Bruins ’50, founding director of the Van Raalte Institute, documented the contributions of Hope alumni, particularly those who have distinguished themselves in the fields of business, education, science and the arts. In addition to his comprehensive work on the college's architectural history, Dr. Nyenhuis also documents the development of its curriculum and co-curricular programs, with research assistance from Dr. Sander de Haan, professor of German and Dutch.

Other contributors to An Enduring Hope include:

Alfredo Gonzales, associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education, who collaborated with Dr. Nyenhuis on a chapter that describes the evolution of the college from its historic Dutch immigrant roots to a multicultural campus.

Dr. John Jobson ’95, associate dean of students, and Dr. Michael J. Douma ’04, of Georgetown University, who describe the history of various student activities and organizations on campus, as well as the evolution of the office of the Dean of Students and the individuals who have served in that role during the college’s history.

Thomas L. Renner ’67, retired associate vice president of public and community relations and Hope’s long-time sports information director, who highlights the history of the college’s intercollegiate athletic program.

Dr. Robert P. Swierenga, a research professor at the Van Raalte Institute and adjunct professor of history at Hope, who conducted a comprehensive review of the college’s finances and endowment throughout its history.

Scott Travis ’06, executive director of alumni engagement, who documents the history of the Hope College Alumni Association.

Hope junior Mackenzie Schumborg of Ann Arbor, Michigan, is one of several student researchers whose contributions have also made publication of the book possible. Schumborg has spent considerable time at the Joint Archives of Holland documenting the role of fraternities and sororities at the college throughout its history, which is included in the chapter on student life. She has called the experience “eye-opening.”

“There are so many things that I would never have known without this research— history of the architecture and the professors of this school, history of the mascot, learning the behind-the-scenes information about Greek Life, all of the possible clubs here on campus,” she said. “I have enjoyed seeing the progression our school has made over the last 150 years.”

Schumborg has also worked on compiling a list of faculty members who have been part of the college throughout its history and researched the college’s enrollment history as well.

From its humble beginnings as a five-acre campus, Hope now encompasses 150 acres adjoining Holland’s downtown area. On solid financial footing, the college now offers world-class facilities in sciences, the arts and athletics, and an outstanding education that consistently receives national acclaim. And to quote Dr. Nyenhuis, the future is indeed bright.

“As we celebrate the sesquicentennial of Hope College, we rejoice in the blessings that the college has received throughout its history, and we look forward to the future with great confidence,” he said.

To order the two-volume An Enduring Hope: A Sesquicentennial History of Hope College, 1866-2016 when it is published this summer, please send a request to bookstore@hope.edu or visit eerdmans.com. More information will also be highlighted in News from Hope College when the book has become available as well as on the college’s website and through Hope social media.

Read the full article at http://onlinedigitalpublishing.com/article/Prologue+to+The+Present%3A+Chronicling+the+First+150+Years/2449705/296793/article.html.

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