blue holiday lights on trees in front of the Mary Idema Pew Library

GVSU in 2021: The images, the stories, the moments that captured our attention

In 2021, Grand Valley expanded education opportunities for a diverse group of learners, while continuing their commitment to innovative research and community engagement.

Along the way, Lakers also celebrated beginnings, anniversaries and all the future holds.

Below is a sample of some of the most notable stories from Grand Valley in 2021. These stories exemplify the resilience and passion shown by the Laker community this year.

To stay up-to-date on the latest Grand Valley news in 2021, visit GVNext, follow GVSU on social media and stay tuned for new issues of Grand Valley Magazine and Forum .

Major milestones

GVSU's 60th anniversary: Share your favorite campus memory

Lakers football celebrates 50th season

Wide receiver David Kircus lifts the Division II national championship trophy after Grand Valley defeated Valdosta State in 2002.
Wide receiver David Kircus lifts the Division II national championship trophy after Grand Valley defeated Valdosta State in 2002.
University Communications
GVSU football players celebrate during the 2021 homecoming game
GVSU football players celebrate after a touchdown during the 2021 homecoming game
Valerie Hendrickson

GVSU gathers to mark key moments, address key issues

Graduates recognized with pictures, moment with Mantella, at Laker Graduation Celebration

High school students deliver pitches for improving higher education equity; now schools eye which ideas to activate

Convocation speakers encourage students to find their communities, begin strong journeys

Hailey Bos from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon County was a presenter at the REP4 National Convening.
Hailey Bos from Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon County was a presenter at the REP4 National Convening.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills
A student crosses the stage at the Winter 2021 graduation celebration
A student crosses the stage at the Winter 2021 graduation celebration
Amanda Pitts
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, introduces students who discussed being a Laker for a Lifetime.
B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, introduces students who discussed being a Laker for a Lifetime at Convocation.
Kendra Stanley-Mills

DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health will help meet changing needs of health care industry

Several people line up behind a large ribbon inside of DCIH
Pamella and Daniel DeVos, center, were lead donors for the new health center.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts
People walk into a simulation lab in DCIH
Kendra Stanley-Mills
People gather around a large simulation tablet in DCIH
Kendra Stanley-Mills

White House correspondent delivers message of 'moving forward' during community MLK event

Mantella, 3 other GVSU presidents condemn violence in Washington, will host roundtable for campus community

An aerial image of the Allendale Campus in fall
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

Recognitions and rankings

Grand Valley again named a Voter Friendly Campus

GVSU named a 'Best for Vets' college by national outlet

GVSU earns national recognition for two programs with outreach to HBCU/HSIs

GVSU named among top employers in Michigan by Forbes

GVSU named a Top Midwest University, recognized for business and engineering programs by U.S. News & World Report

GVSU again earns national recognition for committing to diversity, inclusion

Grand Valley again named a Green College by The Princeton Review

Moving Grand Valley forward

Generous gift helps seed return of varsity wrestling to Grand Valley

GVSU announces The Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Program

GVSU offers tuition-free program for qualified students from six Michigan counties

GVSU announces gift to transform lives of talented first-generation students

Detroit school students learn about the future of college success at eighth-grade ceremony

Battle Creek seniors earn scholarships to GVSU through partnership with W.K. Kellogg

GVSU leaders sign second agreement in HBCU pipeline program

A student Vet posts on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus
The Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Program was announced to further support active-duty military and veterans at GVSU.
Kendra Stanley-Mills
Bob and Ellen Thompson pose with the 2019 Thompson scholars and President Philomena V. Mantella
Bob and Ellen Thompson pose with the 2019 Thompson scholars and President Philomena V. Mantella
Valerie Hendrickson

Lakers making a difference

Koda Chronicles: New police canine gets acquainted with campus, meets fellow Lakers

Officer Kelsey Sietsema and Koda, the GVPD K-9, visited with students on the Allendale Campus.
Officer Kelsey Sietsema and Koda, the GVPD K-9, visited with students on the Allendale Campus.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

GVSU researchers work with municipalities on Grand River sampling project

Math making a difference

Researchers collect a water sample from the street
Grand Valley researchers worked in summer with local municipalities to refine a Grand River water quality index.
Valerie Hendrickson
David Austin with several math equations on glass in front of him
David Austin forged a partnership with the City of Grand Rapids to provide an opportunity for applied mathematics students to work on real-world projects.
Kendra Stanley-Mills

And lastly, a few of our favorite photos from December

A close up of a student's face at commencement
Amanda Pitts
Students wearing caps and gowns walk under a staircase in the fieldhouse
Kendra Stanley-Mills
A student tears up while getting a hug from a family member during commencement celebrations
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson
Singers perform at the annual holiday concert
Kendra Stanley-Mills
A student studies in the Mary Idema Pew Library
Kendra Stanley-Mills
Holiday lights twinkle on campus during sunset.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts