Richard M. DeVos 1926 – 2018
Helen J. DeVos 1927 – 2017
Rich and Helen DeVos forever changed West Michigan and Grand Valley State University through their generous philanthropy and vision. Their support for the university was unwavering since its founding in the 1960s. Learn more about them.
Richard M. and Helen J. (Van Wesep) DeVos were both born in Grand Rapids. They met in Grand Rapids, married, and eventually grew their family to include four children: Dick, Dan, Cheri, and Doug.
In 1959, Rich and Helen partnered with Jay and Betty Van Andel to co-found Amway Corporation based in Ada, Michigan.
As community leaders, it was natural for Rich and Helen to be instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids in the 1970s.
Rich and Helen shared a passion for and belief in the importance of education. As a couple, Rich and Helen supported education from kindergarten through college in West Michigan and across the country.
As a part of this expansion, Rich helped chart the course that would ultimately preserve the university for future generations, growing its endowment and significantly increasing community support.
Rich and Helen would not let Grand Valley rest on its laurels. They were active in every campaign, encouraging others to join, and building the university into an even greater resource for the community.
At Grand Valley, we will always remember and celebrate the lives of Rich and Helen DeVos, who made such a difference for so many.
Richard and Helen DeVos believed in the power of maintaining a positive attitude and affirming others. In his 2008 book, Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People, Rich shared the value of using ten simple, yet profound phrases every day to motivate achievement, instill confidence, and encourage hope in the hearts of others. Rich called himself a “life enricher” and invited others to join him. Encourage people in your life by using the ten powerful phrases, and be a change for good at Grand Valley and in your family, community, and beyond.
You are invited to experience the impact Rich and Helen have made at Grand Valley.
In celebration of Rich and Helen’s lives, and all that they have done for Grand Valley and West Michigan, a display was made in their honor.
Elements of this display are currently in two locations on our Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Please visit to experience more of Rich and Helen’s story.