Dear Friends,

It is with great pleasure that I introduce this inaugural issue of Spera, a publication focused on the research, scholarship and creative performance of Hope College faculty.

When prospective students ask what they can expect of Hope’s academic community, we are honest: Expect intellectual rigor. Here, our professors expect excellence — of their classes and of themselves. They are active teacher-scholars, as committed to their students as they are to their research. Under their mentorship, our students participate in the longstanding Hope tradition of collaborative faculty-student research, gaining what has been called a “graduate-level undergraduate experience.”

I hear from alumni of all ages who want to recognize the professors who engaged them in experiential opportunities during their time at Hope. For many, this engagement led to the life-changing discovery of an academic passion or a professional calling. With such a strong legacy of faculty impact, we are blessed to celebrate, year after year, accomplishments and accolades that distinguish our academic programs. The year 2017 was no exception. Among the highlights: Hope launched its Mellon Grand Challenges Initiative, earned the Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments from the Council on Undergraduate Research, and received a record eighth Beckman Scholars Program award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.

It is always exciting to spread the word about these kinds of honors, and even more enjoyable to share success stories about our accomplished professors. For this publication, we reflect back on some of our favorite stories from 2017. I am confident that you’ll be fascinated by the topics our professors — and their students — are tackling. And, if you’re hungry for more updates on scholarship and innovation at Hope, please visit Stories of Hope regularly.

I am grateful for all our faculty members, current and retired, who nourish the academic lives of Hope students. Collectively committed to the Hope mission, they live out the college’s motto, Spera in Deo, inside and outside the classroom, every day.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Dennis N. Voskuil
Interim President and Professor