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Heartwell to join Grand Valley's sustainability office

  • George Heartwell, left, with Norman Christopher, executive director of the Office of Sustainability Practices.

Posted on January 05, 2016

Former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will join Grand Valley State University’s sustainability team in February.

Heartwell will serve as community sustainability coordinator, a part-time position, for the Office of Sustainability Practices in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Heartwell’s 12-year tenure as mayor ended December 31, 2015.

In his new role, Heartwell will further Grand Valley’s goals in the areas of sustainability and civic engagement, and serve as a resource for students. He will continue to chair the Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership and Grand Rapids Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development.

“George's dedication to advancing the sustainability practices of Grand Rapids is unwavering and I look forward to him bringing the same energy to Grand Valley,” said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. “His expertise and experiences will help Grand Valley continue as a leader in sustainability and partner of the city of Grand Rapids.”

Anne Hiskes, dean of Brooks College, said as soon as it was known that Heartwell's term would end, she contacted him to explore opportunities to bring his expertise to Grand Valley. “I cannot think of an individual with a richer experience in sustainability, social innovation and community engagement,” said Hiskes. 

Heartwell said he is honored to be asked to join Grand Valley. 

"I look forward to bringing to Grand Valley my passion for sustainability, the broad network of relationships I cultivated during my time in public office, and my love of West Michigan," Heartwell said.

Grand Valley is a leader in sustainability. The university has been nationally recognized for its best practices and culture by The Princeton Review, Sierra Club and Best Colleges. For more information, visit