GVSU receives top designation as Veteran-Friendly School from state

Gold status reflects multi-faceted commitment to supporting military families

Close up showing a Laker veteran in uniform holding books.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has recognized Grand Valley with its highest honor for Veteran-Friendly Schools (VFS) for the ninth consecutive year.

Earning Gold status from the MVAA is a reflection of Grand Valley meeting strict criteria for excellence in serving the veteran community.

“Student veterans and their families are a vital part of the Laker community,” GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said.  “Achieving Gold status from MVAA is a strong validation of our ongoing work to welcome those who have served our country. Our goal is to be the best in the Midwest for serving veterans and military affiliated individuals and families.  We have been the first to launch the Veterans Promise and Veterans Advance and we will keep on innovating in the interest of all those who have protected our national security. “

Grand Valley is committed to helping service members and their families successfully transition from military service to graduation and beyond with several programs and initiatives.

In 2022, GVSU announced Veterans Advance, a progressive work-based learning program.  Veterans Advance pairs veterans with employers for learn-and-earn opportunities that allow them to hone leadership skills and earn a competitive wage while working toward a GVSU degree. Byron Center-based grocery giant SpartanNash was the first corporate partner for Veterans Advance.

Other GVSU veteran initiatives include:

  • The GVSU Veteran Promise: Provides guaranteed admission to high school seniors who choose to serve in the military prior to college. 
  • Michigan Veteran Entrepreneurship-Lab: Gives veterans and military families the skills, knowledge and opportunities they need to develop and launch a business.
  • Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Program: Expands student support and programming and provides career support, including the transition from military to civilian careers.
  • Dedicated veterans' lounges: The Laker Military Resource Center is located on the Allendale Campus and a second meeting space is on the Health Campus on the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids.
  • LEADS for Vets accelerated bachelor’s program: Offers a fast-paced, online program designed specifically for career veterans who are looking to jump-start their second careers.

“Making the transition from boots and a helmet to a cap and gown can be a daunting process, but having guidance and resources from their academic institution is a game changer,” said MVAA Director Adam Hollier. “Their talent and experiences matter, and the best way to thank a student veteran for their service is to support them in their journey and offer them a job after they graduate. I want to wish our student veterans the best as they start this next academic year and continue their educational journey.”

Learn more about GVSU’s services and programs for veterans at the website for the Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Resource Center.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.