Since childhood, we have understood the promise of fall. We enjoy all that summer offers us, but then we somehow know we need fall. This traditionally has been the season when the doors swing wide open into the “school house,” and we eagerly embrace the new. There are new books, new teachers, new lessons and new possibilities. This particular fall has much the same anticipation of any start of an academic year, but it comes with even greater intensity. The vaccines are allowing us to move away from the confines of the pandemic and appreciate what it means to open doors — literally and figuratively.
Grand Valley’s message to students and the world is clear: “We’re Ready for You.” We have increased our effectiveness in online learning through faculty creativity and student engagement. We are ready to return to an even stronger Grand Valley and — as is our tradition — to experiences enriched by being together. We are ready to support those who want a full on-campus experience and those who choose classes all or partially online. We are ready to teach, to learn and to discover.
Perhaps the greatest promise of education is the element of mystery. Teachers know what they share with students, but they never really know what the results of the lessons will be. Maybe that’s what makes being on or around a college campus so attractive — the possibilities are endless and quite unknown. Ambassador to the United Nations Barbara M. White, who was also a college president, talked about the concept this way, “The basic purpose of a liberal arts education is to liberate the human being to exercise his or her potential to the fullest.” What a wonderful purpose!
You will find some of the remarkable results of a Grand Valley education within these pages. Our students, faculty, staff and alumni are indeed living out their potential in ways that could not be predicted. There is much joy in the discovery! Read about how Sergeant Andrew Weiss took his experience in the military, combined it with his education and experience at Grand Valley’s Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur-Lab, and won first place in a pitch competition. Discover how two students created an apparel company with the goal of saving the Great Lakes from pollution.
More people need the opportunity provided by a Grand Valley experience, and the university’s initiatives outlined in the article, “Open Doors,” give hope for the future. We are intent on broadening access and offering financial assistance to students who might otherwise be overlooked. We get to watch and participate as the trajectory of students’ lives changes and improves. What a reward!
No wonder we are excited for fall with our large and dynamic campus community. It will be filled with constant promise, endless opportunity and the awe of mystery and discovery.