Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss named new Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss speaks at an event in 2018. She is standing, speaking to a group of seated people.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss Speaks at Creative Many and MML Luncheon During ArtPrize in Grand Rapids 2018.
Image credit - Creative Commons/Michigan Municipal League

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has been named the new Frederik Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Grand Valley's Frederik Meijer Honors College.

Bliss will teach one class per semester, focusing on developing skills for leadership, innovation and creative problem-solving. She will also host "Fireside Chats" with area community leaders who are committed to social responsibility, and provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning experiences. 

"We’re proud and excited to welcome Mayor Bliss to our faculty," said Roger Gilles, director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College. "With 10 years in nonprofit administration, 10 years as city commissioner, 10 years as an adjunct professor in GVSU’s social work program, and now more than three years as mayor of Grand Rapids, Rosalynn offers a unique set of skills and perspectives that will greatly benefit students looking to develop community awareness, leadership skills, and an entrepreneurial mindset."

Students who enroll in Bliss' course, a junior-level seminar course, will learn about theories of leadership with the goal of making a positive impact on the organizations and communities they work and live in. 

Gilles said that he is particularly excited about the "fireside chats" Bliss plans to hold with students, and said they will provide relatively intimate access to community leaders for students.

Bliss is not the first mayor to serve at the university. Former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell previously served as a community sustainability coordinator at Grand Valley.

Bliss follows Linda Chamberlain in the position. She served as the chair for four years. 

"Linda Chamberlain brought amazing energy and dedication to the job, helping us to establish design-thinking as a regular offering in our curriculum," Gilles said. "We have benefited greatly from Linda's professional experience and perspectives."

For more information on the Frederik Meijer Endowed Honors Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, visit


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