Shares in a common future
The 600 donors who supported the new L. William Seidman Center have positively affected the future of Grand Valley and its students. They understand that investing in the Seidman
College of Business is a direct investment in the economic success of the region.
The project is a fitting tribute to Bill Seidman’s vision for a college that provides West Michigan, the state and beyond with a highly skilled, well-educated workforce.
|Richard M. and Helen DeVos, and James Brooks are pictured at the at the L. William Seidman Center groundbreaking.|
Two of the leading stakeholders in the Seidman Center were Richard M. and Helen DeVos. The DeVoses served as honorary co-chairs for the Shares in a Common Future campaign, and made the lead gift for the new building in remembrance of their longtime friend.
“Bill Seidman is an icon. He’s a classic. There’s none like him,” DeVos said. “Our life is enriched and our community is enriched because we have been enriched as a people to know a man such as this, a renaissance man.”
DeVos, general chair of the Grand Valley University Foundation, said he believes that the building provides the space and technology to propel the Seidman College and its students to even greater accomplishments.
“It’s another huge step forward to give us what we expect to be a leading business school, not only in the design and look of the building, but in the caliber of education young people are going to gain there,” he said.
That is why the Frey Foundation supported construction of the Seidman Center. The foundation was established with the idea that educated citizens are the pillars of a prosperous community and a vibrant nation. David G. Frey, campaign co-chair, said, “The Seidman Center will enrich the academic experience for students and serve as a gathering place for
students, faculty members and visitors.”
Doug DeVos was also a campaign co-chair. Doug explained that Bill was about action. “He was about getting it done. It wasn’t just talking about something, it was about accomplishing something. Not just what we could dream, but what we could do,” Doug said.
Doug and his wife, Maria, have been longtime supporters of the community through business and philanthropic activities. “Bill Seidman’s life was a testament to vision, hard work and sound judgment. With the Seidman College of Business, those values will always have a home,” Doug said.
L. William Seidman Center: a fitting tribute
Bill Seidman, recognized as both a leader in the West Michigan business community and the “Father of Grand Valley,” was once an ambitious 37-year old partner in the national
accounting firm Seidman and Seidman who had a dream of creating a local four-year college.
Seidman understood that West Michigan’s dynamic industry and businesses required a steady influx of skilled college graduates. With the help of nearly 300 community leaders, Seidman founded Grand Valley and charted a course for its College of Business.
The Seidman College of Business was named in recognition of Bill’s father, Frank Edward Seidman, who for more than 50 years was an established member of the Grand Rapids community.
After founding Grand Valley, Seidman joined President Gerald R. Ford’s administration as an economic advisor and later became chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. He also
served as head of the Resolution Trust Corp. in the aftermath of the savings and loan crisis.
Seidman maintained close ties with the university and remained proud of his association
with the school until his death in 2009. Shortly before he died, Seidman said: “I’ve had a great life. I’ve worked for three presidents of the United States, I’ve been in major business, and in other educational endeavors. There’s nothing that I’ve done in life that gives me the satisfaction of seeing how Grand Valley State University is delivering on its promise to the western Michigan area.”
Today, the Seidman College of Business is increasingly seen as a premier regional business college due to Seidman’s vision, longtime financial support, and love for higher education.
Page last modified August 26, 2013