Dedication held for Lubbers Student Services Center
President Thomas J. Haas told a crowd of about 400 people that President Emeritus Arend D. "Don" Lubbers is a "consummate friend-raiser" who created extraordinary opportunities for Grand Valley.
Haas made the remark during a dedication ceremony August 24 for the Arend and Nancy Lubbers Student Services Center on the Allendale Campus.
The Student Services Building was named in honor of Don Lubbers and his wife, Nancy Lubbers. Don served as Grand Valley's president for more than three decades, 1969-2001.
Haas said it was a time to celebrate the couple's legacy of service, leadership and support, and the renovation and addition to the building.
"Don and Nancy served this university for 32 years as a dynamic team, and they continue to impact students and the future of this university through their wise counsel, their actions and their personal support," Haas said.
Haas thanked the couple for creating the Don and Nancy Lubbers Opportunity Scholarship, which helps attract students with high academic achievement from working families who do not qualify for other government aid. The scholarship aims to widen the pathway to graduation without burdensome debt.
Lynn Blue, vice president for Enrollment Development, said move-in week is her favorite time of year and one of the busiest times for the Student Services Center.
"I like to call this building, 'Stu-ville' because it represents a community of people dedicated to serving students," Blue said. "In the new Laker Experience Suite, we can serve more prospective students in a room that represents the best of Grand Valley."
The Laker Experience Suite features a 112-seat room with a large video wall and space to share information about housing, tuition, areas of study and more. There are also two small conference rooms where counselors can meet with families in a private setting.
The Lubbers Student Services Center houses the Registrar's Office, Career Center, University Counseling Center, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Dean of Students office.
Rachel Jenkin, Student Senate president, said Don and Nancy Lubbers represent the true meaning of the word "team" and thanked them for contributing to the center's renovations.
"As a student leader, RA and Laker, I have utilized the unique support found at Grand Valley," Jenkin said. "Students choose Grand Valley because of the immense support they receive and because it feels like home."
Nancy said when they came to Grand Valley, Admissions was job No. 1 and students are still job No. 1. "When we came here there were about 2,000 students and our biggest concern was how we would grow enrollment," she said. "We had to establish a culture and a set of values that would attract the right students and then it just snowballed from there. I’m pleased to see those values continue today and that we helped build this university into the type of place it is, where people truly care about each other."
Don called the Student Services Center Grand Valley's Ellis Island. "When they come to visit, students will catch a vision of their new life in a new world that will open to them at Grand Valley," he said. "They are all part of the American dream."
During the couple's tenure at Grand Valley, the university experienced tremendous growth. They led the way for the creation of the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus, the Meijer Holland Campus, the Traverse City Regional Center, the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids.
The pair was instrumental in initiating and growing Grand Valley's nationally recognized study abroad program and the university's expansive art collection, as well as academic programs such as engineering, nursing, health professions and business.