Fred and Lena Meijer in front of a wall with a sign, Frederik Meijer Honors College

Grand Valley celebrates the life of Lena Meijer

Grand Valley and West Michigan are remembering Lena Meijer, who died on January 15. She was 102.

Lena and her husband, Frederik (Fred), were passionate about supporting education and the West Michigan community. They were longtime and generous supporters of the university.

“Our hearts go out to the Meijer family. Lena will be remembered as one of the individuals who helped establish Grand Valley and grow it into the outstanding university it is today," said President Philomena V. Mantella. "Her impact on the lives of students will be remembered for generations to come.”  

Lena’s impact is felt through a wide range of programs and projects that directly benefit students. The Meijers generously supported the university’s expansion over the years, including Grand Valley’s Meijer Campus in Holland, built on land they gave to the university. They were active in multiple campaigns and projects, providing leadership and support to help create the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, including the Richard M. DeVos Center and the L. William Seidman Center.

Lena and Fred Meijer next to a statue of Fred at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture park.
Lena and Fred Meijer sit next to a statue of Fred at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
Image credit - University Development
Fred and Lena Meijer at a GVSU event, dressed in tuxedo and black dress, respectively.
Fred and Lena Meijer at a GVU Foundation event; they are recognized as Grand Stewards of the university.
Image credit - University Communications

They were instrumental in establishing Grand Valley’s Health Campus with their generous gift for the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, which led the way for the growth of health programs and provided an educational anchor on the east end of Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile. The Meijer Family Floor in CHS was named in recognition of their gift. 

The Meijer Family established multiple scholarships at Grand Valley, including the Frederik Meijer Opportunity Scholarship and the Frederik Meijer First Generation Honors College Scholarship. Both of these scholarships benefit first-generation students. The Frederik Meijer Honors College and the Frederik Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors, which have both grown significantly over the years, are further examples of their consistent investment in the lives of Grand Valley students.

Lena was also passionate about public television. The Meijers provided the leadership to help establish the WGVU Meijer Public Broadcast Center. Matt McLogan, vice president for University Relations, recalled the impact of their support.

“The Meijer gift enabled the university’s television and radio stations to move into state-of-the-art studios in downtown Grand Rapids,” McLogan said. “Generations of students have taken advantage of this special opportunity to study and learn while serving listeners and viewers with great PBS and NPR programs. The Meijer name on the broadcast center is an enduring legacy of their foresight and generosity.”

Lena and Fred were part of Grand Valley’s Hall of Fame as Grand Stewards of the university, recognizing their lifetime contributions to the university and the West Michigan community.

Learn more about Lena online.


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