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Brian Kelly, DeVoses among GVSU commencement speakers

  • four headshots: Daniel DeVos, Pamella DeVos, Brian Kelly and Lupe Ramos-Montigny

Posted on April 22, 2019

Prominent community philanthropists, a football coach and a lifelong educator will give commencement addresses at Grand Valley's three ceremonies April 26-27 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.

Daniel and Pamella DeVos will speak at the April 26 ceremony, which will begin at 7 p.m. and include the Seidman College of Business, College of Community and Public Service, and Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.

As lead donors for Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health, under construction on Grand Valley's Health Campus, they are continuing the DeVos family’s legacy of providing transformative support for health and education in West Michigan. Dan is chair and CEO of DP Fox Ventures LLC. Pamella is founder and president of pamella roland, a prominent women’s fashion house.

Brian Kelly, head football coach for the University of Notre Dame, will be the speaker for the 10 a.m. ceremony on April 27 for graduates of the College of Health Professions, Kirkhof College of Nursing and half of the majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Kelly has an overall record of 231-91-2 (.716) in 29 seasons as a head coach. He won two NCAA Division II titles at Grand Valley in 2002 and 2003 and also coached at Central Michigan University and the University of Cincinnati. Kelly and his wife, Paqui, founded the Kelly Cares Foundation, which has contributed more than $5 million to various organizations.

Lupe Ramos-Montigny, member of the Michigan State Board of Education, is the speaker at the 3 p.m. ceremony on April 27 for graduates of the College of Education, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and half of the majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Ramos-Montigny worked for more than 35 years in education, including many years as a Grand Rapids Public Schools building principal. She was elected to the state Board of Education in 2012. Ramos-Montigny serves as the chair for the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez; in 2015, Grand Valley renamed a scholarship to honor her.

Honorary degree recipients are Joyce F. Hecht, who served as director of Grand Valley's University Development office; Edward J. Hanenburg, Grand Valley University Foundation director and longtime Coopersville resident; and Sylvia C. Kaufman, who, with her late husband, Richard, founded the Kaufman Interfaith Institute.

Shinian Wu, professor of English, will receive the Outstanding Educator Award from the Alumni Association. The Alumni Association will present its Distinguished Alumni Award to Dr. Mark Smith, ’91. Smith is senior vice president of medical affairs/chief medical officer of Henry Ford Allegiance Health, and CEO of the Henry Ford Allegiance Medical Group in Jackson. 

A graduating student was selected to give remarks at each ceremony. They are Amy Harris, an international student from Zimbabwe and MBA student; Natalie Loewengruber, a psychology major; and Teresa Salas, a communications studies major.

All commencement ceremonies will be live streamed, visit for details.