GVSU welcomes first Hispanic Serving Institution to pipeline consortium

Leaders at Grand Valley and Houston Christian University signed an agreement March 7 that opens pathways for HCU students to earn master's degrees at Grand Valley in engineering and the sciences.

Houston Christian University is the first Hispanic Serving Institution to become a partner in the seven-member HBCU/HSI Pipeline Consortium . HCU's enrollment was 4,190 last fall semester.  

B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, said this partnership represents a significant highlight for the consortium. 

two men shake hands behind two tables with draping in blue
At left, Houston Christian University President Robert Sloan shakes hands with B. Donta Truss, GVSU vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach, following signing an agreement that opens pathways for HCU students to earn master's degrees at Grand Valley.
Image credit - Michael Tims/HCU

"We are proud to recognize HCU as the first Hispanic Serving Institution in the consortium," Truss said. "This milestone is a highlight for Grand Valley and evidence of our commitment to inclusivity and access to higher education for all students, including Hispanic students."

HCU President Robert Sloan said this is a remarkable opportunity for students who are interested in pursuing advanced degrees. 

"This is the type of opportunity that changes lives, changes the lives of their family members and changes communities," Sloan said.

It was the community foundation of Grand Valley's engineering program that piqued the interest of Katie Evans, dean of HCU's College of Science and Engineering. Evans initially met Paul Plotkowski, dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, at an engineering deans conference and said she was impressed with the college's industry-sponsored co-op program.

"To have that type of program for graduate students is impressive," Evans said. "And I appreciate that the Grand Valley team is committed to student success and will connect those students to the community and to other resources."

six people standing on stage behind tables with blue draping
From left are Stanley Napper, Katie Evans and Robert Sloan from HCU, and B. Donta Truss, LuWanna Williams and Paul Plotkowski from GVSU.
Image credit - Michael Tims/HCU

Plotkowski called himself a "salesperson for West Michigan" and said West Michigan industries and corporations have helped establish and shape the engineering and computing college from day one.

"West Michigan is truly a special place," Plotkowski said. "We have a healthy industrial base that is making an investment of their time and treasure to students. We can, in turn, offer them great, diverse students to fill their talent pipeline."

HCU students who want to continue their education at Grand Valley will receive in-state tuition rates, financial aid and many other GVSU resources to support their journey. A contingent of HCU students and faculty is expected to visit Grand Valley this fall semester.


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