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Arend D. Lubbers


Arend (Don) Lubbers was Grand Valley State University's highly celebrated president from its youth in 1968 to its modern image in 2001. Don grew up on college campuses. His father was president of Hope College from 1945 to 1963, and was a professor and president of other colleges before that. Don graduated from Hope and earned his Master of Arts in History from Rutgers University in 1956. He taught at Wittenberg College in Ohio before returning to Rutgers in 1958 to pursue a doctorate. In 1960 he was appointed president of Central College in Pella, Iowa at the age of 29, becoming the youngest college president in the nation. Two years later, the young academic attracted national attention when Life magazine included him in its 1962 feature "Red-Hot Hundred," profiling 100 outstanding American leaders under 40. Don was still among the youngest college presidents in the nation when he accepted Grand Valley's offer in November 1968 and assumed the Presidency in January 1969. When Don retired in 2001, he was the longest-serving public university president in the country. During Don's tenure, Grand Valley saw the construction of academic buildings and residence halls in Allendale, the creation of the Meijer Campus in Holland, and the opening of the Eberhard Center and Richard M. DeVos Center in Grand Rapids (all occurred during the Lubbers presidency). The university also extended its service with programs in Muskegon and Traverse City, in cooperation with local community colleges. Don guided the university's response to regional education needs with the establishment of the Seidman College of Business, the Kirkhof College of Nursing, and the Schools of Education, Social Work, Health Sciences, Engineering, and Communication. Also during his tenure, GVSU's programs in music, art, chemistry, education, social work, business, and nursing have earned professional accreditations. Lubbers Stadium on the Allendale Campus is named for him.

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