Donors celebrate L. William Seidman Center

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The formal dedication of the L. William Seidman Center October 9, was attended by most of the 600 donors who helped raise $40 million for the construction of the center which opened for classes in the spring.

The four story, 127,643-square-foot center is named for Bill Seidman, founding chair of Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees and former FDIC chair. Several members of the Seidman family attended the dedication and toured the building.

President Thomas J. Haas thanked donors and said constructing a building to house the Seidman College of Business was a dream of Bill Seidman’s. “We are celebrating the future,” said Haas. “This building is a game changer and gives our students the tools they need for future success. It is a perfect tribute to Bill and the Seidman family.”

Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway and general chair of the Grand Valley University Foundation, said the vision behind the Seidman Center was caring. “This was all about people caring for people — for the young people coming up. That’s the heart of a community,” said DeVos. “I was able to visit a classroom today in this new building and I took the opportunity to tell students, ‘You can do it. You can achieve whatever you want.’”

Elizabeth Fredericks, a senior and an accounting and finance major, said business students love their new home. “I can speak on behalf of the students and say our needs were addressed from technology to study space,” said Fredericks. “We already feel closely connected to our professors now that we are all in one building. It makes us want to dig in and learn more.”

The center supports 142 faculty and staff in the Seidman College of Business and also houses the state headquarters and regional office of the Small Business and Technology Development Center, Van Andel Global Trade Center, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Center for Leadership and Innovation, Center for Business Ethics, Family Owned Business Institute and Family Business Alliance.

Construction of the Seidman Center was a major investment in the downtown Grand Rapids area, totaling more than $40 million in land acquisition, site preparation, construction and infrastructure improvement costs. In its 40-year history, the Seidman College of Business has grown from 145 students to more than 3,000.

A community open house is planned for Saturday, October 12, from 1-5 p.m. Members of the community will have an opportunity to tour the Seidman Center and connect with faculty, students and alumni. The family friendly event will feature self-guided tours, live music and light refreshments.