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Garringer named area's Outstanding Adult Learner

  • three women standing

Posted on May 11, 2017

Lisa Garringer, parking services manager, was named the Outstanding Adult Learner by the Grand Rapids Area Higher Education Network at its April banquet.

Garringer completed the first year of Grand Valley's Liberal Studies Accelerated Leadership program. It allows participants with earned college credits to complete a bachelor's degree within 19 months. Garringer said that was the program's initial appeal, but she soon learned it offered more than timely degree completion.

"I never expected, and was completely surprised by the personal, civic and professional transformation that has taken place since joining the cohort," she said.

Garringer was part of the team, led by professor Judy Whipps, that received a Distinguished Engagement Initiative Award at the Civic Engagement Showcase in April for efforts in creating a college-going culture among students who live in Grand Rapids' West Side.

She said the revitalization of the city's neighborhoods has impacted some families with children at Harrison Park Elementary School. 

"Our goal was to create a housing resource kit that would provide information for emergency housing, residential programs, and human services to people who didn't necessarily have access to internet," Garringer said. The kits, created in English and Spanish, will eventually be distributed through the West Grand Neighborhood Organization.

Garringer was nominated for the GRAHEN award by Kate VanDerKolk, student services coordinator for the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies and advisor for the accelerated leadership program.

"Lisa stands out among so many talented adult students because she is open to new challenges and is continually learning," VanDerKolk said.

The GRAHEN is made up of 13 area institutions that offer degree-granting programs for adults.