The long search for a new Hope College president is finally complete, and at its end lies President-Elect Matthew Scogin. A Hope graduate of the class of ’02, his work in both the private and public sectors has fortified him as not only a survivor of the business world but a champion of it. Whether it be his work as chief administrative officer at Perella Weinberg Partners (a 650-person “boutique bank” as he modestly calls it), his work managing the operation of the New York Stock Exchange, or his work for the U.S Treasury Department, it leaves little question as to his standing as a real professional. Now, he will be making his re-entry into the academic world at the helm of Hope.
Speaking with him on Saturday, Dec. 8, he preferred that I refer to him as Matthew. Before I even had the chance to begin the formal interviewing process, he inquired about my background and major at Hope, and he helped me with my cup of coffee as I struggled to set my finals-prep-laden backpack set down. We first began on the topic of who Scogin is as an individual. A native to Portage, Michigan, the last decade of his work has been in New York. He studied Economics at Hope, which set him on the path to his scholarship at Harvard University where he graduated with a Masters in Public Policy in ’05. He met two life-changing people at Hope College; the woman that would eventually become his wife, and God.
When speaking about his return to Hope and the potential difficulties of a businessman running a college, he had this to say: “A lot of my leadership skills have been demonstrated in government…Hope isn’t a business, and it can’t be run exclusively as a business…there is a financial side, and I know that side cold…but our core business is academia, is students.” He further elaborated on the idea of knowing your own skills and faults, and how adaptation is a hallmark of success. He’s confident that he’s starting with the advantage of translatable leadership skills.
Recurrent themes involved in our interview (which bordered on a conversation, to comment on the ease of discussing with him) were the ideas of bringing people together and the importance of wrestling with life’s challenges head-on. This extended to discussions of treatment of LGBTQ persons, the nature of faith, how to engage with diversity and maintaining humility in imitating Christ. In each of these areas, it was clear Scogin’s statements were informed by his faith as well as his experience. This was faith in the joy of God’s promise of restoration, but also faith in the systems in place at Hope College such as the process that elected him.
From observation, it appeared that Scogin felt a debt of gratitude to the institution that helped set him on his career path and that perhaps the best way to honor it was by performing his adopted duty as a servant leader 16 years after his graduation. This duty will take effect at the end of spring 2019, when he formally adopts the position of President come July 1. Hope students are invited to wish him well for the future and to give abundant thanks to the gift of service that current president, President Voskuil, and his family have given to Hope over the last two years.