A sunrise is seen in an aerial shot of the Allendale Campus.

GVSU in 2022: The moments, stories and images that captured what it means to be Lakers

Here is a look back at some of the highlights at GVSU in 2022 as Lakers learned, connected, celebrated and continued to Reach Higher.

To keep up with all of Grand Valley's stories, visit GVNext, Grand Valley Magazine and Forum, and follow us on social media.

Laker moments

A stage shows Grand Valley banners and a video screen shows an image of President Philomena V. Mantella wearing academic garb.
Students use cell phones to shine lights in an arena. Lights are seen all around.
Convocation celebrated the beginning of the academic year.
People in graduation garb smile while seated in an arena.
A person wearing a cap and gown smiles while holding up a diploma folder.
And Commencement was a time to celebrate the culmination of hard work.
A football field and fans in the stand. The word "Lakers" is in the end zone.
Grand Valley's football team spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in Division II.


Lakers Dance Team wins national championships, goes viral on social media

Joey Simcoe named as men's wrestling head coach

Images: GVSU women's soccer: Lakers eager to build on program's history

Big win propels Grand Valley into women's Final Four

Laker Letters unveiled as new icon, rallying point in Allendale

People and the Louie mascot sit and stand among the GVSU letters.

Leading the conversation, advancing opportunities

A person wearing a T-shirt that says "rep 4" stands while talking to people who are seated.
REP4 participants continued their work highlighting ideas from high school students on how to make higher education more equitable and accessible to their peers.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills
A person speaks at a podium in front of an audience.
The Black Boys & Men Symposium held in June brought together K-12 and higher education leaders to address the challenges of the systems that impact Black men and boys.
A laptop computer sits on a podium. On the screen are the words, "How to talk to your neighbor."
The Talking Together initiative, a yearlong series of discussions and workshops aimed at encouraging civil discourse, kicked off in September.


REP4 National Convening showcases student ideas for education equity

Mantella, other leaders tackle systemic issues at Black Boys and Men Symposium

Talking Together series promotes discussion, unity

GVSU expands tuition-free program to all qualified Michigan students

GVSU and state's largest employer collaborate to tackle nursing shortage

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

U.S. Education official tours GVSU, visits with students

Agreement between GVSU, Savannah State University provides pathways to master's degrees for SSU students

Recovery for automotive suppliers requires holistic thinking, experts say

Research, learning and discovery

A person leans against a metal sphere and looks into the distance.
Erin Mangan worked in a lab in Ireland that utilizes cognitive neuroscience to understand mental health issues and provide better diagnosis and treatment as part of GVSU's study abroad program.
A person points at a slide that shows two lizards and contains the words, "Methods: Competition."
Emilio Mancero presented on the evolutionary ecology of Galapagos lava lizards in the fragile island ecosystem. The work done with Jennifer Moore, associate professor of biology, was part of a collaboration between John Ball Zoo and GVSU.
A person wearing academic garb smiles while standing at a podium.

Fatma Mili joined Grand Valley in 2022 as provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. Mili was one of several people hired for key leadership roles. Learn more about Mili in this Grand Valley Magazine Q&A.


Anchors Away: Lakers return to learning overseas

John Ball Zoo, GVSU partnerships help conserve at-risk species

Students share research findings at Summer Scholar Showcase

Senior project for engineering students brings improvements to Grand Haven musical fountain ahead of anniversary show

Fight to protect trees from invasive species in Grand Haven fortified by GVSU effort and expertise

Team led by GVSU expert creates website to honor West Michigan Holocaust survivors

AWRI's work helps Muskegon Lake reach pivotal milestone

CECI volunteers spruce up historic Grand Rapids cemetery

The blooming of GVSU's corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum, in the Barbara Kindschi Greenhouse in April attracted thousands of people to the Allendale Campus to experience the fleeting rotting-flesh stench of the rare tropical flower.

A time-lapse video of the flower opening and closing amid a steady of stream of visitors was also a sensation and was shared widely on social media and by several national news outlets.

Enhancing our spaces

A line of people cut a large ribbon. GVSU letters and its logo are in the background.
Grand Valley in August celebrated Shape Corp.'s lead gift and its longstanding commitment to engineering students by naming its Innovation Design Center for the tier-one automotive supplier.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts


GVSU names facility for Shape Corp. to celebrate longtime commitment to engineering students

Crane places new sculpture by renowned artist on terrace of DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health

Teaching Lodge on campus provides space for Native students

Laker Esports Center opens

Images: The beauty of fall also enhances our spaces

A sculpture commissioned by Grand Valley for the Pew Grand Rapids Campus was created by a descendant of the original people of this area to show the connectedness of humanity. Learn more about Akii Ndodem (Earth Totem) and artist Jason Quigno .

A vertical sculpture hanging from the cable of a crane is placed into its position.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

Rankings and recognitions

Grand Valley was recognized for intentional efforts to increase student voter participation. Special events included activities on Election Day.

GVSU named an ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting

A person is seated while voting. A partition has an American flag and the word "vote."
"I had to be sure my voice is counted," said Detroit native Hannah Thomas after voting in the midterm election in Kirkhof Center Nov. 8.


GVSU receives Gold recognition from state veterans agency for 8th year

GVSU named to 'Best Colleges in America' list by Money

GVSU ranked among top Michigan employers by Forbes

Grand Valley Athletics receives NCAA's award for diversity, inclusion

Grand Valley among nation's leaders in Fulbright Scholars

GVSU again recognized nationally for its commitment to Latino student success

GVSU among nation's top schools for military spouses

And lastly, some of our favorite images from December

A person holds a graduation cap with writing and the colors green, white and red on it.
Alejandra Salinas, a nursing graduate, was the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Image credit - Image credit: Amanda Pitts
A person smiles while sitting at a table and talking with another person.
Students Jett Porter and Claudia Thelen study together at a table at the Tutoring and Reading Center.
Image credit - Image credit: Amanda Pitts
A person laughs while talking with someone holding a microphone that says "Philly on the street."
Image credit - Image credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills
A person cradles another person's head while kissing them.
Image credit - Image credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

Left: Student Kaleigh Braginton, right, laughs with President Philomena V. Mantella after being interviewed for a "Philly on the Street" segment in the Mary Idema Pew Library Dec. 7. Mantella and Braginton sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" together.

MORE: Watch Philly on the Street episodes recorded during Move-In and for the holiday season

Right: U.S. Army Lt. Jackson Wierenga made Grand Valley history on Dec. 9 by becoming the first military officer ever to be commissioned on campus. Wierenga hugs and kisses his wife and alumna, Arica, after she pinned his officer insignia on his uniform.