Donor Impact Fall 2013

Endowed lecturers challenge students, community to imagine

Students listen to Ada Yonath, Nobel Laureate in chemistry. Yonath gave the winter 2013 Ott Lecture.

The Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry and the Frederik Meijer Lecture Series are both privately supported endowed lectureships that demonstrate how learning at Grand Valley is ignited beyond the traditional classroom setting.

The Ott Lecture Series, established in 2001, features renowned chemists. Professor and chair of chemistry George McBane said invited lecturers present a wide range of scientific topics to students, faculty members and the community.

"The lecturers are expert chemists and teachers, McBane said. They build on the things that the students already know, and show them how those ideas apply to something new and exciting.

Jim Ruble, 10, had the opportunity to collaborate with Ott Lecturer Virginia Cornish, from Columbia University. Their research on the evolution of antibiotic resistance resulted in an article published in the International Union of Crystallography with Ruble as lead author.

Now a doctoral candidate studying pharmacology at University of Washington School of Medicine, Ruble agreed that the lecture series exposes students to opportunities in science they otherwise might not encounter. He encouraged current students to attend the lectures and take advantage of the opportunities they offer.

Frederik Meijer Lecture Series

The Meijer Lecture Series, started in 2010, focuses on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. It helps students understand the benefits of a liberal arts education and apply it to succeed professionally and personally. The lecture series has featured regional, national and international speakers.

Mike Jandernoa, at left, gave a presentation as part of the 2012 Meijer Lecture Series.

Rachel Gregg, a senior Frederik Meijer Honors College student majoring in communications, attended a lecture by Barbara Pierce Bush, the co-founder of Global Health Corps and daughter of former President George W. Bush. Bushs international nonprofit organization connects college graduate fellows with opportunities to meet health needs around the world. During her presentation, Bush said the Global Health Corps fellows fill jobs that vary greatly. We look for people who are culturally sensitive, flexible and work with humility, she said.

Gregg said she was inspired by Bush and the nonprofit she created. She really identifies with people who are in need around the world and, instead of sitting back, chooses to do something about it, Gregg said, adding that Bushs lecture showed her how to use the knowledge shes gained through her classes in ways that go beyond a career. With a minor in public, health and nonprofit administration, Gregg said she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization or in the health care field.

Donors make it possible

Both the Ott Lecture and the Meijer Lecture series are endowed and will stimulate education and dialogue for years to come. These lectures are supported by donors who sought to directly benefit students, the university and the community through these events. The Ott Lecture was established by Arnold C. Ott, a chemist and member of Grand Valleys founding board, and his wife, Marion. Frederik Meijer, who established the Meijer Lecture Series, was the former chairman emeritus of Meijer Inc.; his generous philanthropy helped shape the university.

Other privately funded lectures at Grand Valley include the Peter F. Secchia Breakfast Lecture Series and the Huntington Breakfast Lectures, sponsored by the Seidman College of Business; and the Professionals of Color Lecture Series, sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

The Fall 2013 Ott Lecture was held October 29 and featured W. Carl Lineberger, from University of Colorado at Boulder. This years first Meijer lecturer was Brian Walker, CEO of Herman Miller. His presentation was held November 11.

For more information about creating a lectureship, contact University Development at (616) 331-6000 or send an email to

Johnson Center establishes first community philanthropy chair

In August, President Thomas J. Haas announced the establishment of a new faculty chair position focused on community philanthropy within the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

The W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair was established with a gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kellogg Company 25-Year Employees Fund. It is the first chair of its kind in the nation dedicated to community philanthropy.

The individual who will assume the new chair position will help communities understand their philanthropic landscape and emerging best practices. It is anticipated that partners will include private and corporate donors and the non-profit sector.

Gift match doubles impact

Gifts given to the Ott-Stiner Fellowship in Chemistry and Natural Sciences by November 1 had double the impact on Grand Valley students. All gifts to the fellowship were matched dollar for dollar up to the goal of $10,000.

The fellowship was established in 2011 to provide mentoring and financial assistance to a student in the Student Summer Scholars Program who is focused in the areas of chemistry or natural sciences.

Thank You! The Robert B. Annis Field Station campaign exceeds goal

Thanks to the generosity of more than 220 donors, the campaign for the Robert B. Annis Field Station exceeded its goal. In one year Grand Valley supporters, including alumni, community members, and those passionate about protecting Michigans freshwater resources, gave $2.32 million in private gifts.

The new, 14,700-square-foot Robert B. Annis Field Station allows for year-round research and provides a space for better collaboration, better science and better solutions to protect our Great Lakes. With the addition of the Annis Field Station, the institute will be able to help Muskegon County and West Michigan visibly demonstrate leadership for the blue economy, hire more researchers and increase the opportunities for Grand Valley students. The Annis Field Station
was dedicated on August 12.

Grand Valley calling

Grand Valleys Student Telephone Outreach Program is a student-operated calling program that seeks support for the Grand Valley Fund.

During their weeknight calling shifts, the programs student employees make connections and build relationships with alumni and friends of the university. They also collect current contact information, give updates on the university, and provide information about upcoming campus events.

The students who make calls nightly are dedicated Lakers for a Lifetime who are helping advance Grand Valley.

Page last modified November 18, 2013