2008 Alumni Service Award
DAN A. WATTS, '79
Dan A. Watts is an accomplished and celebrated photographer in West Michigan. He earned a B.S. in art in 1979 from GVSU's William James College. After graduation, he worked for years honing his skills in conceptualization, location photography, and editing for a local production company before his full-time foray into freelance photography. In 2006, Watts was commissioned by the new JW Marriott Grand Rapids to provide the exclusive artwork which adorns all guest rooms and the corridors of the luxury class hotel. The commission required Watts to document the beauty and individuality of each of Grand Rapids' Sister Cities. The resulting work consists of more than 16,000 stunning images - the largest single collection of Sister Cities photography in the world. He has now traveled to 34 countries on corporate, magazine and personal projects, working for over three cumulative years in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Despite his busy travel calendar, Watts has become extremely active in alumni and university activities over the past several years. He has donated nearly 300 photographs to the university collection including numerous prints to the Alumni House and Visitor Center. His works can be seen throughout Grand Valley's campuses and he is the featured artist in GVSU's Human Resources office and for several living centers in Allendale.
In 2007, Watts served as the keynote speaker for the Art on the Lake alumni event held in Muskegon to raise funds for Grand Valley student art scholarships. He has also served on the GVSU's Fall Arts Celebration organizing committee. He has contributed artwork for the past several years to the Alumni Art on the Water series.
This summer, Watts volunteered to serve as the photographer for the All-Alumni Benefit Golf Outing, at which he also donated a framed print which was auctioned to help raise money for the Grand Valley Fund. He continues to offer his works and service whenever the Alumni Association has a need.
In addition, Watts is a vocal advocate for the university and its arts program. He has served as an invited guest speaker at Grand Valley on numerous occasions.
Dan and his wife Sue currently reside along the banks of the Thornapple River in Grand Rapids.