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.
2015 marks Hope College's 150th year of education. In honor of this celebration, Hope College held many events throughout 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.
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 degree. 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 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 maintains strong ties to the Reformed Church of America and seeks to educate students within the historic Christian faith while maintaining a rigorous academic education.
In addition, Hope College is a member of the Great Lakes Colleges Association.
Courses offered at Hope are divided into five disciplines.
While taking courses in General Education at Hope, students will encounter a diverse array of topics rooted in the liberal arts education. Regardless of his or her major, students will take courses in the areas of art, history, language, literature, math and sciences In addition to these courses, students will also participate in a First-Year Seminar course during their freshman year and a Senior Seminar course in their senior year of college. These courses were developed to help transition students in and out of their college career.
Arts and Humanities
The Fine and Performing Arts degree at Hope College consists of four departments, which include Art and Art History, Dance, Music and Theatre. The Humanities division includes the departments of English, History, Modern and Classical Language, Philosophy and Religion. The Arts division at Hope College seeks to “educate every student and the community in the transformational power of the arts.” Hope College was the first private, liberal arts college to hold national accreditation in art, dance, music and theatre.
Natural and Applied Sciences
The Natural and Applied Sciences programs at Hope College include Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Nursing and Physics. Many of these departments offer research positions for students in the summer and also provide summer camps for elementary to high school students to attend.
A Social Science degree at Hope College consists of the departments of Communication, Economics and Business, Education, Kinesiology, Peace and Justice minor, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology/Social Work.
There are a wide variety of pre-health programs offered by Hope at the undergraduate level. These programs include Chiropractic Medicine, Dentistry, GEnetic Counseling, Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Public Health, Speech Language Pathology and Veterinary Medicine. Other pre-health professions include Nursing, Athletic Training and Pre-clinical Psychology.
Hope College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, with professional accreditation from the following:
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
- American Chemical Society
- Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
- Council on Social Work Education
- National Association of Schools of Art and Design