William "Bill" Pickard smiles and gestures with his hands in front of a GVSU vertical banner; several people seated in front laugh

Gift from former trustee supports students from HBCU/HSI Pipeline and Michigan

Former Grand Valley Board of Trustees member William "Bill" Pickard has initiated two funds designed to support students and help diversify West Michigan's talent pool.

Pickard's $800,000 gift helped create the Dr. William F. Pickard Pathway to Education Fund and the Lubbers and Pickard Endowment, providing short- and long-term help for students who are part of the HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium, and students from Genesee, Kent, Oakland and Wayne counties. The fund will be distributed annually, and the endowment will be invested for future generations of students.

Pickard has a deep commitment to ensuring success and educational attainment for students from Genesee, Kent, Oakland and Wayne counties. He was instrumental in helping Grand Valley partner with Fort Valley State University as GVSU established the pipeline consortium. Seven FVSU students are now enrolled in Grand Valley master's degree programs. Since that agreement, a second HBCU (Saint Augustine’s University) has joined the consortium.  

A business and civic leader in the Detroit metropolitan area, Pickard's 30-year career as an entrepreneur helped him to absorb the university’s vision for inclusion and equity. His involvement with Grand Valley includes 11 years as a member of the Board of Trustees (1977-1989) and lifetime support for students exceeding $1 million.

Bill Pickard sits in the forefront on a chair, large group of students seated to listen.
Bill Pickard talks with students during a visit to campus in 2016.
Image credit - University Communications

“While I received my degrees elsewhere, I received my education from Grand Valley,” he said.

He said these two funds were created out of gratitude to President Emeritus Arend "Don" Lubbers, university founder Bill Seidman, and others who inspired him as a young entrepreneur to someday pay it forward.

President Philomena V. Mantella expressed her appreciation. “Dr. Pickard’s gift allows the university to enroll and graduate an increasingly diverse group of talented and deserving learners from underrepresented backgrounds, fueling our vision of an inclusive and equitable community that fosters and sustains a sense of belonging, and promotes diversity and respect,” Mantella said.

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said Pickard is making a colossal impact on the lives of students of color and underrepresented students. 

“These funds are critical to helping students achieve their best potential at Grand Valley,” Truss said. “Knowing we have their backs with these scholarships and initiatives will not only encourage students to attend Grand Valley, but allow them to move confidently toward graduation, and beyond, to becoming a Laker for a lifetime.”


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