A man stands on the shore holding his surfboard and wearing a wetsuit. He is small in comparison to the large stone cliff behind him.

The President's Page

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It’s fitting to see talented Laker alumnus Ben Moon featured in this magazine.

His unique story epitomizes the inspiring perseverance I have witnessed and heard about from so many of you over the past few years.

Like many of you, Ben entered Grand Valley uncertain about himself, his future or his life’s destination. It was a classroom in Allendale where he found inspiration and direction, embracing his skills as a writer thanks to a faculty member who recognized his talents and encouraged him to hone those skills. 

It was on the Grand River where he found strength and a deeper sense of community as part of Grand Valley’s crew team, developing a stamina and sense of teamwork that continue to serve him. He drew on the strength and inspiration he found here to carve a unique career path, survive cancer and inspire others through his writing, photography and video work.

A headshot of Philomena Mantella. She is smiling and wearing a black and blue gvsu scarf and gray suit jacket.

His journey continues over mountains and rivers around the world, but I’m proud that Grand Valley will always be a place he can think of as a home.

It’s Lakers for a Lifetime like him and like you — each with your own stories, your own triumphs, your own struggles — that make our world, our communities and our Grand Valley family so special to me.

Ben found his muse in sharing the beauty of our natural world and the adventurous humans who explore it.

I’m more aware than I’ve ever been of how this campus community has helped me find my muse on my own professional journey.

Immersed in strong community, focusing on empowerment over a lifetime of learning, and striving for equity and committed to inclusion, it is the honor of my life to serve this community.

As with Ben, I want each member of our Laker community to carve their own trails and summit their own personal and professional mountaintops, knowing the trails they blaze will always lead back to our campus.

Philomena V. Mantella, President

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