Hope College’s President John C. Knapp will leave his position at the college this summer to lead Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.
Washington & Jefferson College announced Knapp’s appointment on Friday, April 21. Invited by Washington & Jefferson College to be considered for the presidency, he will assume his new role in August. The search committee chair shared that Knapp emerged as the strongest, most qualified finalist among 150 individuals in a “very distinguished pool of candidates.”
Knapp has served as Hope’s 12th president since July 1, 2013, and also holds appointments as a professor of religion and professor of management. In a message to the campus community, he noted, “This was not an easy decision, for Kelly and I cherish our relationships with each member of this very special community.”
“Leading Hope College is a tremendous privilege, and I am deeply grateful for your support, dedication and collaborative spirit over these last four years,” he continued. “I look forward to leading the college in the months ahead as we finish a successful 2016-17 academic year and prepare for Hope’s next chapter.”
Karl Droppers, chairperson of the Hope College Board of Trustees, praised Knapp’s impact and service across his four years helming the college.
“I am thankful for the four years of service John has dedicated to Hope College. As president, he has worked hard to implement many positive initiatives and programs, and Hope is a stronger and more successful college as a result.”
Since joining Hope, Knapp has led the development and implementation of “Hope for the World: 2025,” a 10-year strategic plan to enhance the college’s distinctiveness as a place of academic excellence, faith development, inclusiveness and global engagement. The college is also completing the first comprehensive campus master plan in more than 30 years.
Also during his tenure, Hope has reorganized its domestic and international off-campus study programs within its new Fried Center for Global Engagement to strengthen emphasis on connecting students with the world beyond campus.
Knapp and his wife, Kelly, have connected with students in a variety of ways, from attending campus events and taking their meals in the Phelps Hall dining hall, to inviting students to their home, to establishing a new tradition of lighting a campus Christmas tree with students in 2013. The Knapps have five grown children and two grandchildren.
Prior to coming to Hope, Knapp served as the founding director of the Francis Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, serving concurrently as University Professor and Mann Family Professor of Ethics and Leadership. Before joining Samford, he was professor of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at George State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. His scholarship includes multiple books and articles on leadership ethics, issues in higher education and the intersection of faith and work.
Succession planning is underway and Hope’s Board of Trustees will make decisions in the coming weeks regarding interim leadership and the timeframe for a national search for the college’s next president.