Celebrate 10 Years With Us

President Thomas J. Haas and Vice President for Inclusion and Equity Jesse M. Bernal hosted the Division of Inclusion and Equity 10th Anniversary Celebration at 20 Monroe Live on Thursday, February 8, 2018. This community event celebrated 10 years of working to become the best place for all students through innovative and pioneering inclusion and equity practices. 

The celebration will continue through 2018. We look forward to connecting with friends, colleagues, and alumni at our fall anniversary celebration during homecoming week. We strive to be the best place for all students and are eager to build this future with you. Please consider making a gift to the newly established Inclusion and Equity Scholarship and/or sharing your personal journey with inclusion and equity efforts.


The division's 10th anniversary celebrates and builds on work done by students, faculty and staff members since Grand Valley welcomed its first class in 1963. Help build our inspiring collection of Laker stories. Share your personal journey with inclusion and equity efforts.

The Inclusion and Equity Endowed Scholarship supports students impacted by the Division of Inclusion and Equity and assists students pursuing social justice focused careers, including aspiring chief diversity officers. This scholarship was created in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Division of Inclusion and Equity. Honor the work led by division staff members and support the future with a gift to this scholarship.

It's hard to imagine Grand Valley State University without a Division of Inclusion and Equity. The work led by division staff members permeates the fabric of what it means to live, learn and work on campus.

Projects, policies and initiatives from the Division of Inclusion and Equity have:

  • shaped classroom discussions
  • improved university hiring practices
  • helped create a welcoming campus environment, and
  • elevated the voices of underrepresented and marginalized communities on campus.

This work did not begin just a decade ago. The division's 10th anniversary celebrates and builds on work done by students, faculty and staff members since Grand Valley welcomed its first class in 1963.

A liberal education is at the center of Grand Valley's mission, and creating a diverse environment is essential to shaping intellect, creativity, and cultural competence and humility. President Tom Haas took that to heart when he created the Division of Inclusion and Equity. At the time, Grand Valley was the first institution of its kind to create such a division and hire a vice president to lead its efforts.

Beginning in 2008, the inaugural vice president of inclusion and equity Dr. Jeanne Arnold laid the groundwork for creating inclusive practices that remain in place today, including: 

  • elevating the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy to a series of events
  • adding gender identity and expression to the university’s nondiscrimination statement, and
  • securing household member benefits.

Dr. Jesse Bernal came to campus in 2015 as the second vice president for inclusion and equity. He leads this work with a social justice and intersectional framework. As a result of his leadership, the division has grown!

The Division facilitates compliance efforts across campus, is home to five social justice centers, is active in community and civic engagement, and has created a culture of continuous improvement - growing  programs and initiatives to align with the current needs of students, faculty, staff, and the broader community.

The work led by division staff has pushed Grand Valley into the national spotlight. Awards have recognized the university as a LGBT-friendly campus, veteran-friendly campus, and tops for students on the Autism spectrum, among other acknowledgments.

President Haas, Vice President Bernal, and the rest of the administration remain committed to creating an environment where everyone can be their full authentic selves, with barriers removed, and where, through partnership, the university and larger community can be transformed.

We believe that the values of equity and inclusion make each member of our community better and are fundamental to what it means to be a Laker.


Division of Inclusion and Equity 10th Anniversary Celebration

View the event photo gallery for more pictures from the Division of Inclusion and Equity 10th Anniversary Celebration at 20 Monroe Live on Thursday, February 8, 2018.

20 Monroe Live marquee signage stating "GVSU Division of Inclusion and Equity 10th Anniversary Celebration"

President Haas shares remarks during the 10th anniversary celebration at 20 Monroe Live

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Page last modified June 20, 2018