In other remarks by university leaders, Fatma Mili, provost and
executive vice president for Academic Affairs, expressed gratitude for
the warm welcome from the university community during her first year
Mili focused her remarks on GVSU's growth, particularly against the
backdrop of the struggles in higher education that have dominated
headlines. She praised Mantella, university leaders and faculty and
staff members for the efforts to make Grand Valley "the go-to
destination for a quality, inclusive education.”
"This is also a reminder for us not to take our growth lightly
and not to take our growth for granted," Mili said. "At a
time when the demographics are changing, students’ expectations are
changing, Michigan’s economy is changing, and the climate
(meteorological, political and social) is changing, having a clear
vision for the future and a built-in agility and adaptability are key."
Felix Ngassa, chair of the University Academic Senate, said that
recent challenges across the country to the principles of Diversity,
Equity and Inclusion mean Lakers must remain steadfast in upholding
these values that are central to the university and clearly
articulated in the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan.
"As faculty, staff and administrators, we have a life-changing
responsibility that we hold for students (learners) and our
community," Ngassa said. "And I believe we take that
responsibility very seriously. Collectively, we have a role to play in
nurturing the transformation of our students. Our students are
counting on us to help them grow and reach their potential."
Daniel Vainner, AP Committee chair, referenced a term he heard from a
peer that captures the excitement of the beginning of the semester for
those who have devoted their careers to higher education: scholarly fire.
"We're excited to see growth in student populations this
year," Vainner said. "What we have here at Grand Valley is
really special. Let's be sure to share that."