Board approves expansion for health campus

Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees, during the November 1 meeting at the Detroit Center, approved the purchase of nearly 11 acres northeast of downtown Grand Rapids to expand the university’s health campus.

Gayle R. Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, speaks at a news conference October 31 in the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. Davis and university leaders announced a plan to expand the health campus, which was approved by the board.

The university already owns four acres of property adjacent to its Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences located at Michigan and Lafayette streets on the Medical Mile. This latest purchase, bordered by Hastings and Trowbridge streets and Clancy and College avenues, provides the university a total of 18 acres to expand health programs and accommodate the growing demand by both students and employers seeking well-trained health professionals.

“This is transformational for our university, for our region and for the future of health care in Michigan,” President Thomas J. Haas said. “This plan is part of our vision and long-term strategy as a key player in health education. We’re obligated to anticipate and produce the health care providers our state needs for the future.”

The College of Health Professions and the Kirkhof College of Nursing currently offer 12 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including two doctoral programs. There are currently more applicants than some programs can admit. The university needs more laboratories and classrooms to accommodate additional enrollment and for additional health-related academic programs planned to meet future needs.

“Our health programs are at capacity and we need to make more room for students who want to go into these fields,” Gayle R. Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said.  “Grand Valley plans to provide additional health-related academic programs as these fast-moving professional areas develop. This proposal indicates a significant and exciting investment in the future of health care.”

The purchase price will not exceed $18.9 million for the property. Tuition will not be raised to pay for it. University leadership has been planning and saving for the expansion of health care programs, and the Campus Development Fund will be used to finance the purchase.

Grand Valley will be conducting long-term planning for the site, envisioning what the health campus will look like in the coming decades. The university will work closely with city leaders and neighbors in that process.

“The university has a history of improving areas in which it has campuses, and takes that obligation seriously,” Haas said.

 

Unveiling of statue launches new tradition

Grand Valley launched a new annual tradition that celebrates the efforts of L. William “Bill” Seidman, recognized as the founder of Grand Valley, and nearly 300 community members who supported his vision.

The inaugural Founders Day event was held on the Allendale Campus October 10 and attended by Seidman family members and other founding families. The celebration included the unveiling of an iconic outdoor statue of Bill Seidman near the Cook Carillon Tower. An annual celebration will be held each year on October 25, commemorating the date Seidman organized a group effort to raise the $1 million required to receive legislative support to build a four-year college in the Grand Rapids area.

Members of the Seidman family stand with, from left, J. Brett Grill, David Frey, Diane Paton, Ricky Benavidez and President Thomas J. Haas in front of the Bill Seidman statue.

In 1960, Grand Valley became Michigan’s 10th state-supported college. In 1963, Grand Valley State College enrolled its first 226 students, and has since become one of the nation’s most successful regional universities. The Founders Day tradition celebrates how vision and passion culminated in a tremendous philanthropic outpouring and the establishment of Grand Valley.

During the celebration, President Thomas J. Haas greeted and thanked members of Grand Valley’s founding families, and the first student to enroll at Grand Valley, Diane Paton. “We would not be here today without the vision and drive of Bill Seidman and the support he gathered,” said Haas. “Though his career included working for three presidents and serving as chairman of the FDIC, he once told me that Grand Valley was his proudest accomplishment.”

Tom Seidman, Bill’s son, also spoke, saying that his father was “just one guy” and that the efforts of all the founding families were just as important. He joked about the features required to be included in the artist’s statue of Bill Seidman, including a bicycle, since he rode one to work during his FDIC days in Washington, D.C. Also noted was his lopsided smile “that will forever look out over the campus.”

David Frey, son of Edward Frey, also a founding family member, introduced J. Brett Grill, the artist who created the bronze of Seidman. Frey invited Grill to join members of the Seidman family, Paton and Student Senate President Ricky Benavidez to unveil the statue to the gathering of several hundred people.

Grand Valley music faculty members Dale Schriemer and Min Jin sang “High Hopes,” the theme song the founders played as they traveled the region and asked for support from community organizations, area banks, businesses and labor unions, as well as individuals who gave a “buck a brick” to help transform Seidman’s idea into reality.

Cake was served on the Allendale, Pew Grand Rapids and Holland campuses as well as at Grand Valley centers in Muskegon and Traverse City.

 

Image ad campaign helps students ‘Find’ Grand Valley

Billboards with Grand Valley’s new image ad campaign were unveiled in late August, timed with the start of the fall semester.

The “Find” campaign helps audiences understand what can be found within Grand Valley and/or within one’s self because of Grand Valley through messages about connections, experiences, and opportunities: Find Connections Within, or Find Experiences Within, for example.

Messages have been incorporated within recruitment materials sent to prospective students; a more targeted roll-out of the campaign to faculty, staff and students occurred in mid-October to help them be positive ambassadors. In addition to billboards, the “Find” campaign includes web ads, bus signs, print ads, and a television ad.

Rhonda Lubberts, associate vice president for Institutional Marketing, said the campaign messages were tested with focus groups of more than 100 high school students in West Michigan and the Detroit area. She added that the words selected for the campaign highlight academic advantages and overall quality of a Grand Valley education.

 

Jennrich named Women's Center director

Jessica Jennrich was named the new director of Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Jessica JennrichCenter. She succeeds Marlene Kowalski-Braun, who is now assistant vice provost for Student Affairs.

Jennrich comes from Dartmouth College, where she directed the Center for Gender and Student Engagement. Prior to that, she led the undergraduate program in the Women’s Gender Studies Department at Dartmouth and taught at the University of Missouri.

“Moving forward, we’ll look at how to integrate all students into the center and make sure all people feel like they have a place here,” Jennrich said. “We’ll make sure all aspects of our work have an intersectional lens, so we’re thinking about how a student’s identity is more than just gender.”

Originally from Cleveland, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from Bowling Green University, a master’s degree in women’s and gender studies from Eastern Michigan University, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri.

Jennrich said her plans for the Women’s Center include maintaining current programs and events as well as leveraging work that has been done at the center on a local and national level.

 

New police chief named

President Thomas J. Haas swears in new Public Safety Director Renee Freeman September 30 at the Alumni House.

Grand Valley alumna Renee Freeman was named director of Public Safety and police chief. She replaces Barb Bergers, who retired at the end of June.

Freeman had served as a lieutenant in the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. She spent 27 years in Grand Haven, working her way up from an officer position. She was with the Police Academy at Grand Valley for 14 years, starting as an adjunct faculty member; for one year, she served as the academy’s assistant director.

“The opportunity to return to campus and work with such a reputable group of individuals is exciting,” Freeman said. “It will be a privilege to serve the students and staff at Grand Valley and work with my colleagues to provide a safe learning and living environment.” 

Jim Bachmeier, vice president for Finance and Administration, said there were many highly qualified candidates. “We are fortunate to get someone who is highly experienced and well connected to local law enforcement agencies as well as the Grand Valley community,” Bachmeier said. “Renee is bringing a lot of energy and ideas to campus.”

Freeman is also certified as a fire officer from the Michigan Office of Firefighter Training and as a medical first responder from the Michigan Department of Community Health. She received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Grand Valley in 2004.

 

Alumna takes her story to nation's capital

Alumna Stephanie Brown said as a student-parent, she would not have been able to graduate in four years and find a job without the resources available at Grand Valley.

Stephanie Brown stands next to Nancy Pelosi during an event to promote the Womens Economic Agenda. Brown was invited to talk about her experience as a student-parent.
Stephanie Brown stands next to Nancy Pelosi during an event to promote the Women’s Economic Agenda. Brown was invited to talk about her experience as a student-parent.

Brown, ’13, spoke about her experience as a student-parent on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during an event in July to promote the Women’s Economic Agenda, led by U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress.

Brown, from Clinton Township, was invited by the Institute for Women’s Policy and Research to share her story and discuss the importance of child care and education. The Women’s Economic Agenda also addressed job training and education, and paycheck fairness legislation.

Sharalle Arnold, director of the Children’s Enrichment Center at Grand Valley, was contacted by the organization to recommend a student-parent who could discuss the challenges of parenting and getting a degree.

“I’ve worked with Stephanie over the years and she used the Children’s Enrichment Center for child care for her daughter, so I immediately thought of her to recommend,” said Arnold, who also chairs the Higher Education Alliance of Advocates for Students with Children.

During her speech in Washington, Brown talked about how Grand Valley made her feel comfortable about being a young mom. “I knew my daughter was getting quality care at the center. It put me at ease, knowing she was at ease,” she said. “I was a single mom in college. I really wouldn’t have been able to graduate without the help of the center.”

Brown graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice; she works as a youth counselor for Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. Her daughter, Makenzie, is 4 years old.

She said the Children’s Enrichment Center is unique because it offers child care for students, while many campuses in Michigan offer child care only for faculty and staff members.

Arnold said the number of undergraduate student-parents, about 900 at Grand Valley, is on the rise at universities across the country. “It’s important undergraduate student-parents have access to child care and other resources they need for them to succeed as a student,” she said.

More than a million student-parents are enrolled at four-year institutions around the country, comprising 13.1 percent of their total population.    

 

Students lead zero waste initiative

Waste on campus is diminishing as the effort to recycle and compost as much as possible grows.

A group of students led a zero waste initiative at Lubbers Stadium during the first home football game September 7.

More than 600 pounds of compostable and recyclable materials were collected, which diverted 79 percent of the total materials from the waste stream. And for the first time, the all-campus picnic that followed the convocation ceremony August 23 produced zero waste.

During the picnic, 15 members of the student-led Campus Dining Green Team were stationed throughout the picnic area to help students, faculty and staff members sort their waste into compost and recycle bins.

At the picnic, more than 1,010 pounds of compost were collected and 1,500 water bottles were recycled.

The efforts are part of an ongoing effort to reduce waste at large events on campus, organized by the Sustainable Community Development Initiative, Athletics, Facilities Services, Office of Student Life and Campus Dining’s Green Team.





 

Page last modified November 18, 2013