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Hundreds celebrate anniversary of Division of Inclusion and Equity

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Posted on February 09, 2018

More than 400 campus and community members celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Division of Inclusion and Equity February 8 at a reception held at 20 Monroe Live in Grand Rapids.

Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity, said the reception honored past work done by faculty and staff members while laying a foundation for the future. He also announced the Inclusion and Equity Endowed Scholarship, a fund to support students impacted by the division and assist students pursuing social justice-focused careers.

President Thomas J. Haas thanked campus leaders who laid the groundwork that elevated the inclusion and equity mission to a vice presidential position, and spoke about how the division has shaped Grand Valley's culture. Click to watch the 10th anniversary video.

"The Division of Inclusion and Equity sets Grand Valley apart from others institutions with our intentional focus on efforts to ensure that equity is embedded across the campus," he said.

Jeanne Arnold, the first person named vice president of the division, returned to Grand Rapids for the reception. Now chief diversity officer at Gettysburg College, Arnold said she was proud of Grand Valley for being a pioneer in establishing a division devoted to diversity and inclusive practices.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss congratulated the university in her remarks and called Grand Valley a partner in many of the city's diversity initiatives, including the Grand Rapids Racial Equity Initiative.

Megan Sall, member of the university's Board of Trustees, welcomed the audience. "Over the years, I have watched, first as a proud alum and now as a member of the board, as Grand Valley has been transformed by its increased focus on important issues of equity, inclusion, and social justice," Sall said.