Skip to main content

FORUM Vol. 42, No. 5 October 23, 2017

Grand Valley mourns supporter Helen DeVos

The Grand Valley community is mourning the death of Helen DeVos, one of the university’s most steadfast supporters. The wife of Amway co-founder Rich DeVos died October 18, at age 90. 

Helen DeVos was a dedicated philanthropist whose lifetime of giving has made a significant impact on West Michigan and beyond. Her generosity and love for helping others have enhanced the community greatly, especially in the areas of education, music, the arts and health care. 

Helen DeVos

Helen DeVos

Throughout her lifetime, Helen provided exceptional leadership and service to Grand Valley State University and the Grand Valley University Foundation where she most recently served as a member of the Advisory Cabinet. 

“Helen had a deep passion for the transformative power of education,” said President Thomas J. Haas. “As a lifelong learner, she was a tremendous role model for our students and everyone she knew. We will miss her kind and generous support and guidance over the years, as well as her friendship. Our hearts go out to Rich and the entire DeVos family.” 

Grand Valley honored Helen with the naming of the Helen DeVos Presidential Scholarship, an award granted to students who show promise in music and the arts. The university also granted her an honorary Doctor of Arts degree in 2010. She was recognized as a Grand Steward of the university in 2011, and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame with an Enrichment Award in 2014. 

As a special tribute to Helen and her support for GVSU, the carillon towers will have a blue “Laker Light" that will last through the funeral and a few days afterwards. The Laker Light will shine in honor of Helen and will allow community members to remember her in their own personal ways.The GVSU flag will be at half-staff for the next two weeks to honor her.