Lubbers Society Profile: Making a Positive Difference

Annie Jacobs

Current Home: Wilmington, NC
Husband: Willie Jacobs
Daughter: Therese Comor '92
Parents: Charles and Ruby McDonald

Nothing exemplifies the Lubbers Society more than a loyal donor like Annie Jacobs ’67. Annie was a member of Grand Valley’s first graduating class. Mentors in her hometown of Grand Haven and at Grand Valley supported her during her formative years. Now retired from an impactful career as an educator, Annie is still finding ways to help the next generation of students. As a 27-year donor to Grand Valley, she hopes her gifts are making a positive difference in the lives of students.

Getting to know Annie:

Why did you decide to attend Grand Valley?
I was planning to attend another college. My mother went to a meeting about a new college in Western Michigan. She was so impressed. When she arrived home, she told me there was a new college called Grand Valley and I would be attending.

Grand Valley held its first graduation in 1967, and you were part of that graduating class. How does that make you feel?
It makes me feel proud. There was no doubt for me when I enrolled in this college. I knew it would be successful. 

What excites you about Grand Valley today?
It is exciting to see how much Grand Valley has grown, and to see all the great productive leaders it has helped to create and inspire.

Can you tell us a little about your career at Wayne County Community College?
I became the head of Wayne County Community College (WCCC) Eastern Campus in October, 1993. As provost, I planned and directed academic programming, community services, student affairs, support services, and public relations for a campus of about 1,800 students located on the east side of Detroit. I had more than 25 years of experience working in education from elementary to high school, all the way to college levels. As provost, I created an active campus advisory council and assisted with the development of short-term classes for the City of Detroit Empowerment Zone on the east side. Additionally, I served as a member of several committees and organizations, including the WCCC Ceremonies and Rituals Committee. I was also a member of several boards including The Greening of Detroit, Northeast Guidance Center, Warren/Conner Development Coalition, and the YWCA.

How did Grand Valley prepare you for your career?
I was always encouraged to strive for excellence and to think outside of the box. Grand Valley taught me to see opportunities and not obstacles.

You are known for giving back to your community through volunteerism. Why is that important to you?
There is a saying - you work to feed your family and you volunteer to feed your soul. When I spend my time volunteering, I feel blessed to be able to give to those in need, and my soul feels great!

What type of volunteer work do you participate in?
For over 20 years I have served as a volunteer in North Carolina at New Hanover Regional Medical Center Hospital, The Good Shepherd Center, and the Bellamy Mansion Museum and Slave Quarters. 

What has been your greatest motivation in continuing to help others? 
I believe that I did not get to where I am today without the help of so many people. I am standing on the shoulders of all the wonderful people in Grand Haven and at Grand Valley who mentored me to be the best person I could be. Now I feel it is my turn to help and give to those in need.

You have been a 27-year loyal donor to GVSU. Why do you feel that it is important to give back to your alma mater?
My soul is truly satisfied when I can give back to help other students achieve their goals.  If I am to be remembered for one thing, I hope it is that my contributions made a positive difference in the lives of students.

What would you say to encourage others to give back? 
Giving is investing in our future. One day these students will be leaders and sitting in positions we currently hold. It is important we give back and support them now.

What advice would you give to future Grand Valley graduates?
Be open and learn from every experience. I recommend reading the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. I keep a pocket copy of this simple but powerful poem in my purse. I believe this poem is a helpful reminder of how to live a happy life and keep peace in our souls.

Page last modified February 23, 2022