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Hope College December 2013 : Page 14

Alumni Profile with By Greg Chandler Hope at Heart the person he is today. It was presented to the Board of Trustees and guests at a dinner in a filled Phelps Hall. He readily acknowledges that it wasn’t his finest delivery. “I was nervous and stammered and moved around and said ‘um’ a hundred times,” he said. Now a prominent attorney with the Grand Rapids, Mich. firm of Varnum LLP and the new president of the board of directors for Hope’s Alumni Association, Kyros was able to revive a portion of that speech—with improved presentation--during the October inauguration of Dr. John C. Knapp as the college’s 12th president. Quoting General Douglas MacArthur who is credited with saying, “loss of hope will age the soul,” Kyros’ 1989 speech warned the audience that loss of Hope will similarly age the soul. “To lose sight of all that I have done and seen and learned at Hope will age me, for Hope has made me what I am today,” Kyros said. “To leave here and to live without ‘capital-H’ Hope in my heart would be like leaving home and forgetting my mother and father.” In his role as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Kyros represents more than 31,000 living Hope alumni, who reside in all 50 states and in more than 75 countries around the world. It’s service that engages him with helping others keep “capital-H” Hope in their hearts as well, not least of all for the sake of new generations of students. One of his primary goals, for example, is to see the association play a more active role in the lives of new Hope graduates. “We all know organizations, whether colleges, fraternities and sororities, or other groups, which do a great job of looking out for their fellow members,” Kyros said. “Hope alumni hold important roles all over the world. If we can harness those relationships in order to help new graduates make connections, open doors, and start their journey well, I believe that process would feed on itself.” “Those new graduates would pay that assistance forward to future graduates, and the influence of Hope’s alumni would continue to grow,” Kyros added. s a senior at Hope more than two decades ago, Tom Kyros ’89 wrote a speech in which he spoke of two hopes – one with a lower-case “h,” the virtue, and one with a capital “H,” the college that shaped him into A Hope helped Alumni Association president Tom Kyros ’89 achieve his dream of a career in law. From Hope he went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree at Northwestern University. He practices today as a managing partner with Varnum in grand rapids, mich. In his role as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Kyros represents more than 31,000 living Hope alumni who reside in all 50 states and in more than 75 countries around the world. It’s service that engages him with helping others keep “capital-H” Hope in their hearts, not least of all for the sake of new generations of students. 14 News News From From Hope Hope College College

With Hope at Heart

Greg Chandler

<br /> As a senior at Hope more than two decades ago, Tom Kyros ’89 wrote a speech in which he spoke of two hopes – one with a lower-case “h,” the virtue, and one with a capital “H,” the college that shaped him into the person he is today. It was presented to the Board of Trustees and guests at a dinner in a filled Phelps Hall.<br /> <br /> He readily acknowledges that it wasn’t his finest delivery. “I was nervous and stammered and moved around and said ‘um’ a hundred times,” he said.<br /> <br /> Now a prominent attorney with the Grand Rapids, Mich. firm of Varnum LLP and the new president of the board of directors for Hope’s Alumni Association, Kyros was able to revive a portion of that speech—with improved presentation--during the October inauguration of Dr. John C. Knapp as the college’s 12th president. Quoting General Douglas MacArthur who is credited with saying, “loss of hope will age the soul,” Kyros’ 1989 speech warned the audience that loss of Hope will similarly age the soul.<br /> <br /> “To lose sight of all that I have done and seen and learned at Hope will age me, for Hope has made me what I am today,” Kyros said. “To leave here and to live without ‘capital-H’ Hope in my heart would be like leaving home and forgetting my mother and father.”<br /> <br /> In his role as president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Kyros represents more than 31,000 living Hope alumni, who reside in all 50 states and in more than 75 countries around the world. It’s service that engages him with helping others keep “capital-H” Hope in their hearts as well, not least of all for the sake of new generations of students. One of his primary goals, for example, is to see the association play a more active role in the lives of new Hope graduates.<br /> <br /> “We all know organizations, whether colleges, fraternities and sororities, or other groups, which do a great job of looking out for their fellow members,” Kyros said. “Hope alumni hold important roles all over the world. If we can harness those relationships in order to help new graduates make connections, open doors, and start their journey well, I believe that process would feed on itself.”<br /> <br /> “Those new graduates would pay that assistance forward to future graduates, and the influence of Hope’s alumni would continue to grow,” Kyros added.<br /> <br /> The Alumni Association is governed by a 22-member board of directors, who represent a broad cross-section of the college’s alumni. All Hope graduates and those who completed at least 45 credit hours are members of the association. The association oversees a number of events tied to the college, including class reunions and Homecoming activities.<br /> <br /> Scott Travis ’06, Hope’s director of alumni and parent relations, appreciates Kyros’ focus on the future and his inquisitive spirit.<br /> <br /> “He’s engaged in the present, but also focused on how the Alumni Association can be improved,” Travis said. “He’s always asking about what’s next.”<br /> <br /> Kyros arrived at Hope in the mid-80s after graduating from high school in his native Hinsdale, Ill., with a goal of getting admitted to a top law school. He admittedly didn’t have the best study habits. He credits a roommate from his freshman year at Kollen Hall, Steve Cox, with inspiring him t o be more diligent in his studies.<br /> <br /> “He basically helped me realize it was cool to study hard and earn good grades,” Kyros said. “He had a big effect on my educational work ethic and future success.”<br /> <br /> Kyros also cited Dr. Boyd Wilson, professor of religion, as a major influence in his Hope experience. He took two world religion classes with Dr. Wilson, but he says it wasn’t so much the subject matter but the personal interest Dr. Wilson showed in him t hat was the difference.<br /> <br /> “Early on, I had a writing assignment for him, and rather than a traditional answer, I wrote a short story. Dr. Wilson loved it, and encouraged me to take more chances in my writing and thinking,” Kyros said.<br /> <br /> “It was a huge confidence builder. Much of my written work for him and ot her professors was fairly non-traditional after that.”<br /> <br /> Kyros became heavily involved in the college’s Student Congress beginning with his sophomore year, serving as president as a senior. His activities as a student also included the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honorary society, contributing to the Inklings editorial journal and participating in the London May Term.<br /> <br /> After graduating with an economics major, he went on to law school at Northwestern University, married his wife, Sally Conway ’89 Kyros, and began his career and family. He was not actively involved in the life of the college for many years after graduation. Several years ago, however, he began attending the monthly Executive Luncheons in Grand Rapids, which typically have a Hope professor speaking on a timely subject.<br /> <br /> “They reignited all my good feelings about Hope and I looked for ways to become more involved,” Kyros said.<br /> <br /> Already actively involved in a number of community organizations and projects, Kyros began to get involved with the Alumni Association. He became an association board member in 2010 and was elected president of the board earlier this year.<br /> <br /> “He models leadership. Not only is he great to have leading during our meetings, but he’s engaged in the life of the college between meetings as well,” Travis said. “He represents Hope in his community and at events and is open to connecting with students.”<br /> <br /> Kyros serves with fellow Hope alumnus Scott Huizenga (‘85) as co-managing partners of Varnum LLP, which has over 140 lawyers in offices throughout Michigan. Kyros works primarily with family business owners, assisting them with estate planning, business succession issues, and general business advice. He also works with several non-profit organizations as a trustee and advisor, including the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation in Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation.<br /> <br /> As president of the Alumni Association board, Kyros is excited about Hope’s future with Dr. Knapp as it s new president, making the inauguration an especially appropriate time for him to revisit his student-days speech about the college he treasures still.<br /> <br /> “President Knapp understands we’re facing an incredibly competitive time in higher education, but that Hope is on strong footing,” Kyros said. “We have a clear mission, amazing facilities, and we provide a world-class education at a very competitive price relative to schools like Hope. He has clear ideas of where he wants to go, and we’re already starting to hear some of those themes come across in publications from Hope.”<br /> <br /> “I feel we are in very capable hands, and I’m excited for Hope’s future,” Kyros said.

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