Campus News

Campus News

MLK speaker challenges audience to build beloved community

The first keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week brought the audience to its feet with a message of making a difference and building Kings beloved community.

Glenda Hatchett gives a presentation in the Kirkhof Center on January 21, as part of the universitys weeklong Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week events.

Judge Glenda Hatchett spoke before a standing-room crowd in the Kirkhof Center January 21. Hatchett has a syndicated TV show, Judge Hatchett, and serves as national spokesperson for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Hatchett said as a child growing up in Atlanta, she took piano lessons with Kings young children.

I didnt know he was this famous person, Hatchett said. I later learned that their daddy was a man who God sent to the world on this journey.

Hatchett stressed that the countrys leaders are not following Kings mission of building a beloved community. She cited Michigan statistics in which 24 percent of children live in poverty, nearly 11 percent in extreme poverty. Hatchett drew a connecting line from poverty to prison, stating that people who live in poverty are three times more likely to have a criminal record.

We have got to break this generational cycle. We can do better, she said. You cannot fix it unless you understand it. Where is that beloved community King talked about?

She issued a challenge to audience members, the same challenge her father gave to her when she was in the first grade. Hatchett said in her first-grade classroom, she had a book with ripped pages. She asked her teacher for a new book only to be told, Colored children dont get new books.

An avid young reader, she told her father that he needed to speak to someone who would get her a new book. My father said, Youre not going to get a new book. You have to write your own.

For the first time at Grand Valley, classes were canceled, allowing more people to participate in events. Planned social justice activities were well-attended. Highlights included a poverty simulation,making crafts for shelters, in addition to marathon readings of Kings writings and a panel discussion.

More than 400 people attended a free luncheon and watched President Obamas inauguration in the Kirkhof Center. A highlight of the luncheon was a presentation by sixth-grader NasCierra Sims, from Muskegon. NasCierra recited Kings I Have a Dream speech with confidence and to a tee.

Business dean named president of Fisk University

H. James Williams, dean of the Seidman College of Business and professor of accounting, was selected in December to be the next president of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. His last day at Grand Valley was January 31.

H. James Williams talks with Seidman College of Business students. Fisk University named Williams its next president.

Im honored to be chosen to lead Fisk University, said Williams. Ive had wonderful experiences at Grand Valley with talented colleagues, whom I will miss, but I know my time here has prepared me to be president of Fisk. I also know I am leaving the college in a strong position. I feel confident that the leadership in the Seidman College of Business will continue to move forward with the strong initiatives weve started, and theyll do it in a magnificent new facility that will open this spring.

Williams came to Grand Valley in 2004. He helped position the Seidman College of Business as a premier business school in the Midwest. Under his leadership, the college created a full-time integrated master of business administration degree, offering students a paid fellowship and study abroad experience.

The college also broke ground for the nearly completed L. William Seidman Center in downtown Grand Rapids. The $40 million building will house the Seidman College of Business along with the Small Business Technology and Development Center and the Van Andel Global Trade Center. Williams also helped establish the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Center for Leadership and Innovation.

Provost Gayle R. Davis called Williams extremely talented and said university leaders were not surprised that another university has tapped him to be president.

Hes been a wonderful dean for our Seidman College of Business, and he leaves a strong legacy of excellence and innovation, Davis said. We wish James the best, and know he has set a high standard of achievement in the deans role. We also know Grand Valley is an attractive place for visionaries, so Im confident we will get a good pool of candidates.

At Fisk, Williams replaces Hazel OLeary, who was energy secretary in the Clinton administration. Fisk University is a historically black university founded in 1866.

Reifel named interim business dean

Provost Gayle R. Davis appointed longtime economics professor John Reifel as interim dean of the Seidman College of Business.

John Reifel

Reifel earned a bachelors degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and a masters degree and doctorate from Michigan State University. He came to Grand Valley in 1971. He earned the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1996, as voted by his Seidman colleagues. He is a member of the American Economics Association and the Ferrysburg Planning Commission. Reifel also served as interim dean for the Seidman College in 2003 before Williams was hired.

Professor Reifel has the academic background, the knowledge of Grand Valley and the right experience to serve as interim dean of Seidman College, Davis said. We are opening a magnificent new facility for the business college in May, and John is the right person to lead us during this exciting transition. Grand Valleys Seidman College of Business is nationally recognized, and we know we are poised to serve our students even better in this new building and with our dynamic faculty.

Davis said a national search will be conducted for a permanent replacement for Williams over the course of the next year. The new L. William Seidman Center will open May 6.

Three appointed to Board of Trustees

Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an alumna and an energy executive to serve on Grand Valleys Board of Trustees. Snyder has chosen Mary Kramer of Detroit and John G. Russell of East Lansing for eight-year terms.

Kramer and Russell will replace the seats held by Kate Pew Wolters and Noreen Myers.

However, Snyder appointed Pew Wolters to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of board member Sue Carnell. Pew Wolters had served on the board from 2005-2012.

Kramer is the vice president and publisher of Crains Detroit Business, a leading business newspaper and website. She graduated from Grand Valley in 1979 and had years of reporting and management experience at daily newspapers before joining Crains in 1989 as editor. She earned a masters degree from Eastern Michigan University and holds honorary doctorates from Grand Valley, Walsh College, Alma College and Central and Eastern Michigan universities.

She was the first woman to be elected president of the historic Detroit Athletic Club and is a member of the foundation boards at Wayne State, Grand Valley and the Michigan Colleges Foundation.

Russell is president and chief executive officer of CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy. He was president and chief operating officer of Consumer Energy from 2004-2010. He has spent most of his career with Consumers, but left from 1985-1987 to manage the shipping operations for Meijer Inc.

Russell graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in business administration in 1980. In 1994, he completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. He serves on numerous boards including, the Business leaders for Michigan, The Right Place Inc. and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

The appointments are subject to review by the state Senate. Kramer and Russells terms would expire December 31, 2020. Pew Wolters term would expire in 2016.

Robinson to give presentation on campus

Ken Robinson

The Community Reading Project, an event that partners with the Frederik Meijer Lecture Series, will have readers discussing how passion and creativity can transform education.

The selection is Ken Robinsons book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin/Viking 2009), a New York Times best-seller.

Robinson will be on campus March 27; his presentation at 7 p.m. in the Fieldhouse is free and open to the public. Reservations can be made at the Frederik Meijer Honors College website, click here.

His book draws on stories of celebrities like Paul McCartney, Meg Ryan, Broadway choreographer Gillian Lynne, business leaders, athletes and others to illustrate his point that when people arrive at the element, they feel most inspired and achieve at their highest levels.

Robinson is a world-renowned leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation; he often consults with governments and Fortune 500 companies. He played a central role in developing a strategy for economic development as part of the Northern Ireland peace process. Robinson served with other advisors to Singapore when that government developed a strategy to become the creative hub of Southeast Asia.

Future builders tour Grand Valley construction sites

A group from a local program that teaches young adults about trade jobs in construction visited two Grand Valley construction sites December 14.

Students from YouthBuild tour the L. William Seidman Center during a visit on December 14 that also included a stop at the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.

About 12 people from YouthBuild, a 40-week leadership program for low-income participants ages 18-24 that focuses on teaching construction job skills, toured the L. William Seidman Center and the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons. Students learned about many aspects of the construction projects, including engineering, operations, safety, sustainability and day-to-day tasks.

Amber Fox, director of YouthBuild, said touring the sites at Grand Valley is a valuable opportunity for Youthbuild students to see a wide range of trade skills and talk with workers.

James Moyer, associate vice president for Facilities Planning, told the students there is always work needed in the construction industry, and that the university is happy to see community interest in Grand Valley projects.

YouthBuild is going on its second year and is a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Bethany Christian Services and the U.S. Department of Labor. Part of the program helps the students obtain GEDs while learning construction job skills by building affordable housing for low-income families in Kent County. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive case management services and assistance with job placement.

Womens Center earns national honor

Students and staff members from the Womens Center are pictured in a 10th anniversary photo from 2012. The center received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Womens Studies Association.

The Womens Center at Grand Valley received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Womens Studies Association, an organization that supports women and gender through teaching, learning, research and service in academic and other settings.

Staff members from the center were recognized at the NWSA Womens Center Committee pre-conference awards ceremony November 8 in Oakland, California.

Kathleen Underwood, director of Women and Gender Studies at Grand Valley and associate professor of history, nominated the Womens Center for the annual award. She said since the center was formed more than 10 years ago, women staff members have embedded it into the heart of the university.

If anyone were to ask the staff about why the Womens Center has been so successful, they would agree that it has been the teamwork they bring to each undertaking and their commitment to the centers mission, she said.

The NWSA Awards Review Committee judged nominations and stated they were impressed by the Womens Centers commitment and outstanding achievements in the community.

Online film journal launched

A new journal launched by the School of Communications provides an opportunity for academic discourse about cinema.

The idea for the online journal Cinesthesia came out of a discussion by cinema studies students whose primary interest is in the study of cinema, rather than in film production. Faculty advisor Toni Perrine said the first issue, online at, includes papers written by students for classes in film history and theory.

Editor-in-chief Joseph Logan, who led three other student editors, said they want to open the journal to submissions by the general student body and faculty members from all disciplines. Film is a living and vital medium that constantly influences and is influenced by culture, he said. Look at it through any lens  theoretical, cultural, aesthetic  and youll see something worth talking about.

The editorial board also commissioned a design student to speak to the theme of the issue and give the publication some visual appeal. The editors will publish a new issue at the end of winter and fall semesters and are working with University Libraries to include Cinesthesia in the ScholarWorks database.

Page last modified March 1, 2013