“It is fair to say that I fell in love with academics at Hope, but it was the original research in organic chemistry that I found most stimulating,” Paul remembers. He cites his professors Douglas Neckers and Dr. J. Harvey Kleinheksel as mentors who instilled in him the ideas of research and teaching while studying at Hope.
“My research experience at Hope was pivotal in my education and my own career development,” said Paul. “It was the most important experience I had in my whole education.”
After graduating from Hope in 1967 and earning his doctorate degree in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 1970, Schaap taught chemistry students at Wayne State University. Following his 30-year tenure as a professor, Schaap retired to become the full-time president of Lumigen, a Southfield, Michigan-based company he formed in 1987 to commercialize dioxetanes, a compound that is used worldwide to diagnose AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, and other diseases.
Paul and his wife, Carol, who now reside in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, have felt that it is important to give back to Hope to allow other Hope students to have access to the same education he enjoyed. In addition to their already generous gift recognized by the naming of the new A. Paul Schaap Science Center and an additional $2 million gift toward collaborative research, Paul and Carol recently completed an $8 million charitable remainder unitrust for collaborative research, a major component of A Greater Hope, the Hope College Campaign.
“Recognizing how important my Hope experience was to me, I have really been interested in giving back to the college to make sure future students have the same opportunities.”
Paul explains his desire to inspire others has led him to take on a leadership role with the college as a member of the Board of Trustees. In addition, Paul and Carol serve together as co-chairs on the A Greater Hope campaign cabinet.
Paul regularly takes the opportunity to encourage others to find a way they are able to give back to Hope. Naturally, as such a strong advocate for Hope, Paul is always on the lookout for that next world-renowned scientist.
“When I have an opportunity to recommend to potential students where they should go, Hope is my first choice.”