As this new school year begins, Hope College is in the process of welcoming and inaugurating a brand new president. The student body was sad to say good-bye to Dennis and Betty Voskuil at the end of last semester, but it is already apparent that the campus is a-buzz about President Scogin and his family. After a long and rigorous search, the Hope College administration was happy to offer him the position, but how is the student body feeling about the new president of the college? After all, it’s hard to know what to expect in a time of major change. As far as qualifications go, President Scogin does not have the usual resumé of a college president. The majority of his career has taken place in the political and economic sectors, not academia, which may give him a unique perspective on how a college should be run.
As students, it’s fair to be skeptical of a new leader. It is dangerous to just blindly follow whoever the administration decides to put in charge. Additionally, I would argue that Hope College students smart enough not to rely on blind faith; critical thinking is a focal point of education at Hope. In this situation, Hope students are doing a great job of evaluating our new president, and luckily for him, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Even during Orientation, student volunteers were already excited about what President Scogin is planning to do on this campus in the coming years.
When asked to use one word to describe President Scogin, students offered descriptors such as: optimistic, invigorating, approachable, kind, innovative, and promising. President Scogin has done a great job of gaining the student body’s trust and defining what he wants his presidency to mean for Hope College. In a survey, Hope College students were asked, on a scale from one to ten (one being not optimistic, ten being very optimistic), how optimistic are you that President Scogin will do a good job? All of the students surveyed answered with an eight or higher. This could have a lot to do with not only President Scogin’s personality but also his goals for Hope College as an institution. Students seem to be specifically excited about his tentative initiative to improve Hope’s financial model, possibly making it more affordable for students. Obviously, students have heard what he has to say, and have taken it to heart.
It also seems that this year’s freshman class has developed a heartwarming attachment to him. Freshman Zoe Searle says, “I’m excited to share my next four years at Hope College with President Scogin. We’re all nervous for our new beginnings, but having a President who understands the anxiety and pressure we’re under is encouraging.” Change is always intimidating, especially during a time that is already transitional, like college. However, it appears that Hope College students are willing to come alongside and support President Scogin in his desires for the institution. It is encouraging to see that the student body is excited about this new era of Hope College.