Faculty, staff sketches

Johnine Callahan, retired professor and honors college director, stands next to her portrait in Niemeyer Living Center at the 10th anniversary of the honors college.
Johnine Callahan, retired professor and honors college director, stands next to her portrait in Niemeyer Living Center. Callahan died August 6.
Image credit - University Communications

University news briefs, along with faculty and staff members who have given presentations or written articles are detailed below. The campus community can self-submit a sketch online for future publication.

In the News  

Retired professor dies

Johnine Callahan, professor emeritus and emeritus director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College, died August 6. She was 80.

Callahan retired from Grand Valley in 2004 after serving as professor and director of the honors college for 25 years.

Roger Giles, honors college director and professor of writing, said Callahan was instrumental in laying the foundation for the honors college. Giles said Callahan led the effort to establish the first learning-living center for honors students, the Glenn A. Niemeyer Living Center, in 2000. It was rededicated in 2008 when a new, larger facility opened on the south end of campus. 

Learn more about Callahan in this obituary

Partnership for healthier campus celebrates achievement

Campus partners involved in the Partnership for a Healthier America, Healthy Campus Initiative, celebrated the end of a three-year commitment with the organization.

Grand Valley received a 2019 PHA Healthier Future award at a virtual summit. Since joining PHA in 2016, the university met 23 established guidelines to improve food nutrition offerings and physical fitness resources on campus.

Campus departments involved included Campus Dining, Campus Recreation, Public Health, Kirkhof College of Nursing, Facilities Services, Human Resources, among others. In 2019, the PHA team won the Outstanding Team Project award at the AP Luncheon.


Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, was nominated by the West Michigan Alumni Chapter of Tau Beta Pi as a distinguished alumnus. Tau Beta Pi is the oldest engineering honor society and the second oldest collegiate honor society in the United States.

Ashley Fritz, advisor for TRIO Talent Search, mentored high school students who represented GVSU at the virtual National Student Leadership Congress, hosted by the Council of Opportunity in Education. Union High School student Pablo Villalvazo led a mock congressional hearing on why vaccines should not be federally mandated and his team won first place.   

College of Education faculty members Catherine Meyer-Looze and Rick Vandermolen gave presentations and facilitated sessions about preparing for the future during the Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education virtual training conference. 

Susan Harrington, associate professor of nursing, has been appointed co-chair of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators Policy Committee; Harrington will then assume the chair position next year.  

Prince Anyalebechi, professor of engineering, wrote an article, "A Qualitative Study of the Influence of Grooved Mold Surface Topography on the Formation of Surface Marks on As-Cast Ingots of Aluminum Alloy 3003," published in the Journal of Materials Sciences and Applications.

Biology faculty members Michael Lombardo and Patrick Thorpe were among authors of an article, "Yearly Variation in Factors Associated with Local Recruitment of Tree Swallows," published in the Journal of Field Ornithology. Lombardo was a co-author of an article, "The Associations Between Digit Ratio, Aerobic Fitness, Physical Skills, and Overall Physical Fitness of Elite Youth Distance Runners," published in the American Journal of Human Biology.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, assistant multimedia journalism professor, was co-author on an investigative project published in USA Today detailing how reverse mortgages in Puerto Rico are failing at nearly double the U.S. national average. Grand Valley was a partner on the analysis done by USA Today and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, with support from the McGraw Center for Business Journalism and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

Daniel Pellathy, assistant professor of management, was a co-author of an article, "Cybersecurity Safeguards Should Extend to Supply-Chain Partners," published in the Wall Street Journal.

Charles Pazdernik, professor of classics, wrote an article, “Nicias’ Letter to the Athenians and Their Response," published in Classical Philology. 


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