Among faculty and staff members who are new to Grand Valley in the fall semester are four people profiled below.
Kyle Boone, Jennifer Drake and B. Donta Truss moved into established roles while Miloš Topić assumes the new role of chief digital officer. All are new to Michigan and said they have enjoyed a warm welcome to campus. In this most unusual start to the fall semester, each person was asked what they look forward to most while at Grand Valley.
Truss is vice president for Enrollment Development, a position vacated by Lynn “Chick” Blue, who retired after serving the university in various roles for 52 years.
Most recently, Truss was senior vice president for Enrollment Management, Students Affairs and Student Success at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. He earned three degrees from Alabama State University: a doctorate in educational leadership, policy and law; a master’s degree in counseling; and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
“I am looking forward to building strong relationships and gaining the community’s trust to continue the great work in Enrollment Development,” Truss said.
As chief digital officer, Topić has oversight of the university’s information technology portfolio, which includes IT, academic and administrative computing, telephone and data services, management of computer labs, the platforms for remote and electronic learning and other related services.
He had served as vice president and chief information officer at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Topi earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an M.B.A. from Montclair State University, and a master’s degree in information systems and a doctorate in business administration from Stevens Institute of Technology.
“I most look forward to being a contributing member of this amazing community and collaborating with students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community to help elevate this remarkable university to even greater heights,” he said.
Drake is the second dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, taking the role after founding dean Fred Antczak returned to teaching after 16 years at the helm of the college.
She was provost and vice president for Student and Academic Life at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Drake earned a doctorate in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
“I most look forward to building relationships within CLAS, across campus, and in the community in order to steward the great work that happens here with students,” Drake said. “Despite an unusual launch, I have already had many engaging and welcoming conversations.”
Boone is the director of Housing and Residence Life. He moved to Michigan from Georgia Gwinnett College in Atlanta, where he was the director of Student Housing and Residential Education. Andy Beachnau, associate vice provost for Student Affairs, had served as Grand Valley’s director of Housing and Residence Life since 1994.
Boone earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Louisville, a master’s degree in education administration and leadership from the University of the Pacific, and a doctoral degree in higher education from Louisiana State University.
“I am looking forward to the possibility to interact with our students,” Boone said. “Their energy, even in a socially distant space, has been amazing.”