President Mantella smiles at a podium at commencement

The President's Page

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Take a deep breath. Relax, it’s summer! The seasons of the year are lovely reminders that our lives also have seasons. It is important to be aware and take advantage of each one. There is one constant, though – learning. You might expect me to say that since my career has been devoted to education, but it is my goal and passion to be involved with institutions and programs that provide a pathway to learning and growth. 

We are committed to breaking down barriers to a GVSU education, including a major one – affordability. We are one of the most affordable universities in Michigan. Heading into this academic year, GVSU ranks 12th in total cost of attendance of Michigan’s 15 public universities. The budget the Board of Trustees passed for the coming year contains nearly $70 million in financial aid. We have instituted the Grand Valley Pledge, which demonstrates our belief that a family’s income or zip code should not be a barrier to students who are accepted into the university.

The opportunity to secure an affordable education is fundamental, but the education must deliver the highest value to each student. It has been well-documented that, in general, college graduates earn $1 million more during their lifetimes than their peers with a high school diploma. A recent report by the Federal Reserve of New Yorklooked at unemployment and underemployment, and college graduates, no matter the major, fared better than those without a college degree. And if we look at the types of employment, we see that in the near future, nearly 60 percent of jobs will be affected by automation. Grand Valley graduates with their liberal education, coupled with professional degrees, will continue to be successful in their chosen careers.

Michigan employers are clamoring for more GVSU graduates because of the tremendous need for talent. I spoke at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Summit in June and outlined the role Grand Valley has in the region’s future. When we look at higher education and the need for talent, it’s clear we are facing a challenge – fewer high school graduates. But let’s look at the opportunities:

  • More than half the workforce wants us to help them upskill and reskill.
  • Employers want GVSU students and continue to invest to help us grow.
  • Michigan has 2 million people who started college and walked away; we are ready to serve them

Grand Valley is uniquely situated to answer the needs of diverse students at all stages of life and the needs of businesses who need talent. We are helping people find their passion and purpose. We are broadening our reach and strengthening our impact. Thanks for being part of our community. The best is yet to come.

Philomena V. Mantella

Grand Valley State University