Hope College has selected its 12th president.
John Knapp, founding director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership at Samford University, located in Birmingham, Ala., was elected by Hope’s Board of Trustees Monday to take over the position from current Hope President James Bultman on July 1.
Bultman, who has served as president since 1999, plans to retire at the end of this school year.
“Hope College is unusually well positioned to flourish in the next decade, and that is due to the outstanding work of Jim Bultman, the board and the college faculty and staff,” Knapp said in a statement. “Under President Bultman’s leadership, Hope has developed across-the-board strength, from academic programs to first-rate facilities, financial stability, and enrollment success — all at a time when many independent colleges are struggling.
“We have the opportunity to leverage that strength to lift the college to new heights as we begin the next chapter. We also have the potential to claim an even greater national reputation than that the college has already earned,” he said.
Since 2008, Knapp has been at Samford, where he currently serves as Mann Family Professor of Ethics and Leadership. Before Samford, a private Christian college similar in size to Hope, Knapp was the director of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.
It was also at Georgia State University where Knapp began his higher educational journey, not only receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1981, but also serving as president of the student body. He went on to get a master’s degree in theological studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1995, before earning a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Wales, in the United Kingdom, in 1999.
Knapp is a strong proponent of ethics in higher education, frequently speaking on the subject both nationally and globally. He also is the author of numerous books dealing with the themes of ethics, business and faith, including “For the Common Good: The Ethics of Leadership in the 21st Century,” “Leaders on Ethics: Real-World Perspectives on Today’s Business Challenges,” “The Business of Higher Education” and “How the Church Fails Businesspeople (and What Can Be Done about It).”
“The campus impression of him is so very overwhelmingly positive. The campus community is very excited for him,” said Tom Renner, Hope’s director of public relations. “Dr. Knapp’s going to inherit a very vibrant college.”