A graduate smiles while crossing the stage after accepting her diploma.

GVSU Fall class of 2022 honored in Commencement ceremony at Van Andel Arena

Grand Valley’s first fall commencement ceremony to be held in Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena since 2019 saw 1,328 Lakers cross the stage to mark their graduation.

Of the graduates, 1,061 received their undergraduate degree, 267 received their graduate degree and 505 were first-generation college students.

A fall 2022 graduate waves at her supporters at commencement.
Student a cappella group Euphoria performs at commencement.
A student wearing a graduation cap that reads "In this moment now, capture it, remember it".
President Mantella high fives graduates after commencement.

President Philomena V. Mantella urged graduates to embrace their time and cherish democracy as they enter the next phase of their lives.

“It is entirely up to you to decide what you will do with the time you have been given. Who you are, how you will evolve, what you will do to make a difference in your lifetime. How will you use your God-given talents, your intellect, what you’ve learned at Grand Valley State University to continue shaping your life?” 

Mantella also praised the graduating class for their participation in the recent midterm election, which resulted in Grand Valley being recognized as an ALL IN Most Engaged Campus.

“Even here in America where democracy has been taught as the hallmark principle of our nation for more than 200 years, some alive today can still recall being denied the access to the right to vote because of the color of their skin, their gender identification or their ability to pay a poll tax,” Mantella noted. “Let’s not forget just how recent that was.” 

President Mantella addresses fall 2022 graduates at commencement.
Student speaker Jared J. Blauwkamp addresses 2022 graduates at commencement.

Following her remarks, Mantella welcomed graduating student Jared J. Blauwkamp to speak. Blauwkamp, who is graduating with a degree in exercise science, encouraged his fellow graduates through a story of how one simple ‘yes’ by Grand Valley’s first president, James H. Zumberge, impacted the lives of thousands of Grand Valley State University students and alumni. 

“Graduating class of 2022, what is your yes? I don’t know what your yes will be, but I do know these three things. It will be hard. It will be risky. But as a Grand Valley alumni, it will have a Laker Effect,” Blauwkamp said. 

Following a performance of Thomas Rhett’s “Be a Light” by Elise Endres, Kaitlyn Markus, and Tumaini Sango, Mantella awarded honorary degrees to Lester L. Stiner, Doctor of Public Service, and Jacquelyn L (Ott) Stiner, Doctor of Public Service.

Graduates and their supporters have the opportunity to purchase Commencement mementos as well as DVDs of the commencement ceremony.

Cold sparks going off as graduates move their tassels to signify their graduation.


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