Unbeknownst to the majority of Hope College students, former president John Knapp returned to Hope’s campus disguised as a student for a day in March. This plan was inspired by the popular television show “Undercover Boss.” Knapp was hoping to experience life as a Hope College sophomore student.
This inspiration came from a desire to connect with students on a more personal level. He checked into Wyckoff Hall on Sunday, March 4, and left for classes early on Monday morning. Knapp wore a baseball cap and sunglasses. He shaved his mustache and goatee to master a young and slightly angsty appearance.
His first class of the day was human physiology. The class opened with a review of the homework assignment for the day. Palms shaking and face red, he whispered to another student, “Is class always this intense?” After 50 minutes of human physiology, Knapp set off to attend his cultural heritage class. Upon arrival, he found himself blending into the rows of students by pulling out his phone and staring blankly at the screen, still recovering from the last hour.
Finally, the professor walked in. Knapp reports that he does not remember anything from this class period although he has had the question of “what is what is?” plaguing his mind ever since. Walking out of this class, there was a close encounter with Dean Frost. Coming down the hall of Lubbers, Knapp quickly darted into the men’s room as he turned the corner, worried that his disguise wouldn’t trick the man who sees all. Once Knapp was certain that Frost was no longer in the hallway, he made his way across the Pine Grove back to Wyckoff, suddenly needing a nap.
Three hours later, he awoke, quickly realizing that his final class, statistics, was set to begin in just five minutes. Knapp pulled his backpack over one shoulder, and dutifully made the walk to the science center to learn about p-values. The former president rushed anxiously to not be late to class again.
He reports enjoying the in-desk computers and noted that this was the most exciting part of the day. He only checked his Facebook once.
After the day, Knapp reported that he had no idea about his future career plans. He is planning to meet with a counselor soon to discuss the anxieties he now feels about life in general.