Butcher and Loth retiring in June
President Philomena V. Mantella has announced the June retirements of Vice President and General Counsel Tom Butcher, and Vice President for University Development Karen Loth. She called them both builders of today’s Grand Valley State University.
“Tom and Karen have both been major contributors as this university has grown and become more prominent,” Mantella said. “So many of us have benefited from Tom’s legal advice and wise judgment as the university tackled new projects and managed challenges along the way. And Karen’s ability to explain the vision of the university and the stories of our students served as a catalyst for our supporters to help Grand Valley and its community. Tom and Karen haven’t left the university yet, but this is the time to make transition plans and extend words of gratitude for their exemplary service.”
After nearly four decades of service to Grand Valley, Butcher will be retiring at the end of June. He joined Grand Valley in 1982 as assistant to the personnel officer and legal affairs assistant. He moved up the ranks to become Grand Valley’s first in-house general counsel in 1989.
Butcher has provided legal advice and assistance across the university and worked with faculty governance, the Student Senate and supported three presidential searches for the Board of Trustees. He guided hundreds of personnel matters and was responsible for the creation of numerous trustee and administrative policies. Butcher is a Fulbright Fellow who helped lead Grand Valley through many milestones, which include real estate transactions for the Health Campus and in every city GVSU has a campus or building. He has played a significant role in chartering schools across Michigan. His leadership also includes representing the university in numerous professional organizations and on boards across the state. He received the prestigious award for Distinguished Service from the National Association of Colleges and University Attorneys in 2007.
Butcher is the first to give credit to everyone else for the work that has been accomplished during his time at the university. “You can’t get much done without people seeing the common purpose,” said Butcher. “I’m so proud of how well we all worked together to create what Grand Valley is today. We have always remained student centered and community focused. I was just part of the team.”
Also giving credit to the team is Karen Loth who, along with being vice president for Development, serves as executive director of the Grand Valley University Foundation. She will be retiring at the end of June. Loth joined the university in 2000, rising to her current position in 2012.
During her 20-year tenure in Development, she helped raise more than $350 million for Grand Valley students through a wide variety of projects and led the Development Division and GVU Foundation to new levels of donor support. Loth’s leadership in the university’s Laker Effect comprehensive campaign raised a record-setting $132 million from more than 35,000 donors. The Laker Effect Campaign included funding for the expansion of Grand Valley’s Health Campus, including Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health. Other projects, such as the Innovation Design Center for engineering and the Keller Black Box Theatre, were among the campaign’s successful projects. The campaign also increased support for scholarships and student support programs.
“We would not be able to do what we do at Grand Valley without our donors,” Loth said. “My career at the university has been enriched by the relationships I have with donors across the Grand Valley community and within the foundation. The university’s role as a talent engine for this region and the state, and our ability to transform students’ lives would not be possible without our steadfast supporters. I know we can count on them in the future, as we have in the past, and I am so grateful.”
The retirement of Butcher and Loth is creating some reorganization within the university. Patricia Smith, associate vice president and deputy general counsel, will be appointed the university’s general counsel at the end of June and report to President Mantella. Smith is a 20-year veteran at Grand Valley and brings a wealth of experience and continuity to the position. A national search will begin soon for the next vice president for University Development and executive director of the GVU Foundation.