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Grand Valley to celebrate new graduates

Posted on April 25, 2012

More than 2,400 Grand Valley State University students will participate in commencement ceremonies April 28 at Van Andel Arena. A record-breaking 5,340 students received a degree during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Students will hear addresses from a national political analyst and a longtime supporter of the university. James Brooks, vice chair of the Grand Valley Foundation, will address morning graduates, and Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox Television, will speak in the afternoon.

Brooks is the founding chair of the West Michigan Strategic Alliance, a group that works to promote the pooling of resources between Grand Rapids and Lakeshore communities. He and his wife, Donna, co-chaired the university’s first comprehensive campaign, which ended last year and raised more than $97 million. Williams is a best-selling author, and his most recent book is Muzzled — The Assault on Honest Debate. Williams also wrote Eyes on the Prize – America’s Civil Rights Years, which accompanied the PBS series about the Civil Rights era. He is a former senior news correspondent for National Public Radio.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will include the following colleges: Seidman College of Business, College of Community and Public Service, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, College of Health Professions and Kirkhof College of Nursing. The 3 p.m. ceremony includes graduates of the College of Education, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Grand Valley Commencement Ceremonies
Saturday, April 28, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Van Andel Arena, downtown Grand Rapids

The ceremony will live stream at

Note: Some portions of Fulton Street near Van Andel Arena will be down to one lane due to road construction. More information is here.

Four students from the Kirkhof College of Nursing will receive the university’s first doctor of nursing practice degrees, including Emily Quiney, from Spring Lake. Quiney is a Spectrum Health employee who enrolled in the program when it started in 2009, after she earned a master’s of nursing degree from Grand Valley in 2004. Quiney can be reached at (616) 706-2770.

“The DNP has enhanced my skills as a nurse practitioner in providing better care for my patients and increased my knowledge of the health care system,” Quiney said. “I am planning to stay in my current clinical position at Spectrum Health and become more active in advocating for access to health care for vulnerable populations, as well as for independent practice and full prescriptive authority for nurse practitioners in Michigan.”

During the ceremonies, the Alumni Association will present two awards. Star Swift, professor of management, will receive the Outstanding Educator Award; and James Ashley, a 1987 Grand Valley graduate and current postdoctoral research fellow at Arizona State University, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Grand Valley’s 25th anniversary of its partnership with Kingston University in London will be recognized. Julius Weinberg, Kingston vice-chancellor, will receive an honorary doctorate of public health.


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