From Suits to Scrubs

Carol Reiss, ’91 & ’17

After working more than 20 years in corporate America, an unexpected turn in her parents’ health helped Carol Reiss discover a new passion. While watching the hospital staff care for her parents, Carol made the unconventional decision to trade in suits for scrubs, and enroll in Grand Valley’s occupational therapy program.

“I chose Grand Valley for the master’s program because of their reputation; it is just unprecedented,” she says. “If you go out into the community, or speak to people from other areas, everyone will tell you Grand Valley’s program is fantastic.”

Carol first attended Grand Valley in 1991 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business.

“Grand Valley was a great choice for me then. They have a well-rounded education and it was interesting to go to a university that would allow me to be exposed to several different opportunities. It was a no-brainer to return.”

“I chose Grand Valley for the master’s program because of their reputation; it is just unprecedented.”

Confident in her career change, Carol credits Grand Valley’s programs with helping prepare the best-skilled graduates, and thanks the donors who helped make it possible.

“My cohorts and I would not have had the education we’ve been able to have without the facilities,” she says. “Generous donors like Raleigh J. Finkelstein are invaluable to this environment; we couldn’t learn to become the therapists we want to be without having the facilities.”

The new health campus expansion, starting with the construction of Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, will give Grand Valley’s more than 5,000 health care students more state-of-the-art facilities in which to hone their skills. For Carol, this is crucial in helping Grand Valley students become leaders in their fields.

“As the program continues to expand and the field continues to change there are always new things that can be brought in, and it’s imperative to stay on the leading edge,” she says. “The changes are going to be fantastic for our program.”

After graduation, Carol is excited to move forward and work in a hospital setting. She hopes her Laker Effect is a lasting impact on the community that has made such a difference in her life.

“I am so proud to say that I am a Laker,” she says. “Grand Valley really stands out and makes a difference in this community; I hope that I can continue that tradition and continue to give back.”

Raleigh J. Finkelstein

Raleigh J. Finkelstein

Raleigh J. Finkelstein grew up knowing that good things would come if he would just “stick to it.” The Grand Rapids native has long served West Michigan with his hard work and firm commitment to his goals, family, and community. Raleigh’s financial and business acumen has earned him great success in his business endeavors, with his brothers Ed and Mort as lifelong partners. His thoughtful, determined nature led him to share his success with Grand Valley State University students as the lead donor for the initial building in the university’s expanding health campus. The building will be named Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall in his honor. Raleigh’s generosity will help Grand Valley health professions and nursing students reach their potential, and elevate the quality of health care in West Michigan long into the future.


To contact University Development or the Grand Valley University Foundation

University Development
Grand Valley State University
L.V. Eberhard Center, 9th floor
301 Fulton St. West
P.O. Box 1945
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501

P (616) 331-6000

F (616) 331-6099