Blue grad caps and confetti

Congratulations, 2020 grads!

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Valley’s April commencement ceremonies were postponed. To welcome the newest Lakers to the alumni family, Alumni Relations collected notes of congratulations, campus memories, or pieces of advice for the Class of 2020. 

More than 260 alumni, faculty and staff members, and friends of the university submitted words of encouragement.

Philomena Mantella wearing a grad cap and robe
President Philomena V. Mantella

President Philomena V. Mantella

“Congratulations to graduates are always in order, but Class of 2020, you deserve deep respect for persevering during a pandemic. You have my admiration for how you stayed true to your goals and your values. Earning a degree in this time shows your tenacious character. You know my mantra because you’ve lived it: Be bold. Be driven. This degree is but one step on your lifelong journey. Thanks for showing the world what it means to be a Laker.”

Peter ’68 and Galene ’67 DeWitt

“We congratulate you on your graduation this spring. We are proud of your accomplishments and achievements at GVSU. You are part of a very special group. You have joined the ranks of alumni of the best educational institution there is. Celebrate, you’ve earned it!”

Jim and Donna Brooks

“Congratulations, GV Graduates of 2020! Although the final year of your journey has not ended as you expected, know that what you have attained will be with you forever and you will always be a Laker for a Lifetime! We’re so proud of you and wish you well.”

President Emeritus Thomas J. Haas

 “T. Haas here to share how proud I am of each one of you. Thank you for choosing to be a Laker. Our faculty and staff, as well as your family and many others from our alumni and members of our greater GV family have supported your journey to achieve success. Challenges big and small will be part of our lives. I am absolutely certain that you have developed the skills and character to serve and lead. Another way to say it from my Coast Guard days ... make it better than you found it. All my love and prayers sent your way. Go Lakers!

Marcia and Tom Haas
Marcia and Tom Haas

Marcia Haas

“Lakers: you are Grand Valley! Your character, knowledge and leadership has been tested and you prove to be strong, compassionate, loving and understanding. As you make your way into this world, I know you will do all that you can to make it better. I pray that each and every one of you hold onto your faith, your family, and your friends with an abundance of energy. Live your lives with purpose. Be a beacon of hope and in all things show love. Congratulations on so many levels of achievement. You make us all very proud."