President Philomena V. Mantella said Bernal skillfully collaborates
to create space for diverse voices at all levels to be authentically
present and fully participant in the university’s strategic direction.
“I have known and valued the leadership of Jesse Bernal since coming
to Grand Valley and have witnessed the early impact of his commitment
to the future of education with equity at the center," Mantella
said. "During his tenure in higher education, he has shaped a
legacy of enhancing sustainable and innovative approaches to fuel the
upward mobility of our diverse communities at the university and beyond."
Bernal, who joined Grand Valley in 2015, has been an active member of
the National Association of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher
Education, Excelencia in Education and the President’s Alliance on
Higher Education and Immigration.
In 2018, he was appointed to the Hispanic/Latino Commission of
Michigan and reappointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2022. In 2022, he
was appointed to the City of Grand Rapids Community Relations
Committee. He serves on several area nonprofit boards and advisory
committees including the Grand Rapids Cesar Chavez Committee, Grand
Rapids Public Museum and YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids.