GVSU joins West Michigan to mourn death of Peter Secchia

portrait of Peter Secchia
Peter Secchia was a longtime Grand Valley University Foundation director and a generous West Michigan philanthropist.
Image Credit: University Communications

Leaders at Grand Valley and in West Michigan are mourning the death of philanthropist Peter Secchia, who died October 21 at his home. He was 83.

Secchia was a longtime Grand Valley University Foundation director and a generous West Michigan philanthropist who had a special passion for education.

“Peter is a Grand Valley icon who played a deeply influential role in the growth of the university over the years," said President Philomena V. Mantella. "His passion for education and the growth of our community has made a tremendous difference in West Michigan and he will be missed."

Peter Secchia, along with his wife, Joan, gave generously to a number of areas in the university. He was an active supporter of the Seidman College of Business. The Secchias were recognized for their gifts to the L. William Seidman Center with the Peter F. Secchia Family Wing. They also created the “Peter F. Secchia Lecture Series,” which highlights national and regional business leaders who discuss trends and current issues. 

Diana Lawson, dean of the Seidman College of Business, said Secchia's generosity touched many students. “Peter’s influence on the Seidman College of Business cannot be underestimated. Generations of Grand Valley business students and alumni will benefit from his generosity and his legacy here will live on in them,” Lawson said.

Peter and Joan Secchia
Peter and Joan Secchia
University Communications
Peter Secchia with Jim Brooks, at right.
Peter Secchia with Jim Brooks, at right.
University Communications

The Secchia Family Foundation provided the lead gift for one of the downtown living centers at Grand Valley in 2000. Secchia Hall was named in honor of their generosity.

Peter also initiated the Ambassador Secchia International Studies Scholarship, which will ensure that students have the opportunity to study business and public administration overseas. This scholarship plays an important role in ensuring financial barriers can be overcome for students who wish to pursue studies in Italy.

Peter was a director and later Advisory Cabinet member for the Grand Valley University Foundation and served on the committees for the Grand Design 2000 and Shaping Our Future campaigns. Secchia was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Grand Valley in April 1991.

Both Peter and Joan received the Grand Valley University Foundation Enrichment Award and were inducted into the GVSU Hall of Fame in 2008.