John and Nancy Kennedy, Grand Stewards
The Grand Steward Award honors individuals who represent the highest
level of leadership, service and financial support. The Kennedys are
the first to receive this award since it was established in 2011 and
are the first in their generation of philanthropists to receive such recognition.
Jim Brooks, co-chair of the GVU Foundation, presented them with the
award, adding that John and Nancy have advocated for education and
Grand Valley for more than 40 years.
“Together, they are driven by their faith to not only share their
financial success, but to roll up their sleeves and get involved,”
Brooks said. “At a time when the odds of learning seemed
insurmountable, they were on the front lines to make things happen.”
The Kennedys were instrumental in the development of Grand Valley’s
engineering program and continue to be actively engaged. In 2007, the
John C. Kennedy Hall of Engineering was dedicated in their honor.
John and Nancy run both professional and volunteer literacy programs.
These programs help hundreds of West Michigan’s most disadvantaged
students move toward reading proficiency every year.
President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers said, “I don’t think anyone in
West Michigan has been more dedicated to the improvement of life in
our community and, particularly, for the education and development of children.”
After 10 years of service on the GVSU Board of Trustees, John is an
honorary life member of the board and a director of the GVU
Foundation. He received Grand Valley’s Leadership Award in 1991 and
the Enrichment Award in 2006.