GVSU History

1958-1963 | 1964-1969 | 1970-1980 | 1981-2000 | 2001-2009 | 2010-2015Sidebars | About This History


This history narrative was researched and written from January 2009-February 2010 by Julie Christianson Stivers (Grand Valley Class of '72, Thomas Jefferson College). The Timeline also available on this site was originally constructed by Nancy Richard, GVSU Archivist, whose collaboration throughout this project has been invaluable.

Most of the information for this history was drawn from University Archives located in Seidman House on the Grand Valley campus; for access contact Robert Beasecker, Curator of Rare Books and Distinguished Collections. Many references used and many more photographs are available online.

Work by Professor Anthony Travis and Professor Lynn Mapes of Grand Valley's History Department for a 1995-97 project was a foundation for the early history included in this narrative.

The project also benefited from work by the University's News and Information Services division for "Grand Valley Celebrates 50 Years of Shaping Lives," a 50th anniversary commemorative book available through the Grand Valley Bookstore or online through this web site. Many interview clips selected for this narrative came from the 50th Anniversary Video History Project. Matthew E. McLogan, Vice President for University Relations, was the interviewer in those videos, except for two which were conducted by Chris Barbee, Director of Alumni Relations. The author also wishes to thank the many people in the University community who responded to requests for information.

The author would especially like to thank Teri Losey, Special Assistant to the President and Chair, 50th Anniversary Steering Committee, for initiating this project and for her collaboration and guidance throughout its completion. Valuable consultation also was provided by the advisory group for the project: Gayle Davis, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor Rob Franciosi, Department of English; and Jon Jellema, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dave Poortvliet and Kelley Rogers have been amazingly patient web design collaborators. Many thanks as well to Robbi Osipoff for coordinating anniversary activities, and to Sherry Bouwman for help with the archives of News & Information Services. Many Grand Valley faculty and staff provided useful information and encouragement for this project, but special thanks to Dean Emeritus Mary Seeger and President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers for their long view.

Please forward any questions about the history narrative as well as suggestions for additions, corrections, or clarifications to Nancy Richard, richanar@gvsu.edu.


Julie Stivers is the author of "The Presence of the Past: The Public Museum of Grand Rapids at 150," published by the Museum in celebration of their sesquicentennial anniversary in 2004. After graduating from Grand Valley State Colleges, she worked in public television and for the Grand Rapids Symphony before becoming the founding editor in 1982 of On-The-Town, a magazine of arts and entertainment in West Michigan. In 1995 she became writer and editor of Discoveries, the newsletter of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids. She has been a writer for many non-profit and corporate clients in Grand Rapids, and has served in volunteer leadership roles for a number of area arts organizations.

Julie Christianson Stivers

Grand Valley student Julie Christianson Stivers, above right, at the University of Lancaster, 1971.