Laker Leadership Programs

Venderbush Leadership Lecture

Come celebrate leadership! The Venderbush Leadership Lecture is designed to recognize extraordinary leadership. Since 1999, Grand Valley has honored the memory of Kenneth R. Venderbush through an ongoing series of leadership lectures. In addition to having the opportunity to listen to inspiring tales of leadership, this event offers the opportunity to acknowledge outstanding student leaders who contribute regularly to our community by bestowing the Immediate Impact Award to one exceptional student leader. New members of the National Leadership Honor Society Omicron Delta Kappa are also recognized during the event.

2013-2014 Academic Year

Winter 2014
Date: Monday, March 17, 2014
Time: 2:00-4:00PM 
Location: LIB030 (Library Multi-Purpose Room) 
Keynote speaker: Winnie Brinks, State Representative, 76th House District

Click HERE to register

About Winnie Brinks

State Representative Winnie Brinks is serving her first term representing Michigan’s 76th House District, which comprises part of the city of Grand Rapids in Kent County.

Before serving in the Legislature, Brinks served Grand Rapids as the executive director of The One Way House, a nonprofit community-based corrections agency. Most recently, Brinks worked as a caseworker at The Source in Grand Rapids, where she worked with businesses and nonprofits to improve workplaces while helping companies grow and retain employees. Brinks is a graduate of Calvin College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a concentration in sociology.

Brinks lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children. 


Past Venderbush Leadership Lectures:

Fall 2013

Last fall, the Venderbush Leadership Lecture featured GVSU Alumnus, Selma Tucker.  Tucker inspired guests through sharing his reflections on leadership at GVSU and beyond. Kelsey Rice was honored as recipient of the Immediate Impact Award and 90 new members of Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society were recognized. 

About Selma Tucker

Selma Tucker is the director of marketing and communications at Public Sector Consultants. He oversees the marketing and communications division which is responsible for strategic direction, branding, creative design, editing of publications, graphics, and corporate communication across the firm. Mr. Tucker performs similar work for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit managed by PSC, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, a multimillion-dollar private foundation also managed by PSC.

Previously, Mr. Tucker worked in public service for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, doing work in urban service delivery and special projects throughout the organization. Most recently, as administrator and regional coordinator for the City, he led the BetterBuildings for Michigan program developing creative solutions and national best practices to encourage homeowners throughout the region to invest in energy efficiency, aided by dozens of community partners and involvement from the private sector. His service to the City of Grand Rapids also included widespread dissemination of complex topics ranging from community development to information technology, to both internal and community audiences.

Mr. Tucker holds a BA in Public Administration, with a concentration in Economic Development and a second major in Political Science, and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) specializing in Public Management, both from Grand Valley State University.


Winter 2013

Last winter, the Venderbush Leadership Lecture featured GVSU graduate Torrence O'Haire (‘07).  O'Haire provided GVSU students with an inspirational message and we celebrated current GVSU leaders through the Immediate Impact Award (awarded by the Student Organization Center) and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

About Torrence O'Haire

Torrence grew up in the woods of West Michigan, learning about food, farming, and the value of "making things" from his hardworking and creative parents and his wise and eccentric aunts. He started in the restaurant industry at a young age, having been raised in his family's kitchens. By the time he was 18, he was working in fine dining, both in the dining-room and alongside the chef. Food has become both his passion and his study, sneaking cookbooks into his college classes, and hosting dinner parties in his dorm room. He continued to develop his skills and training in the culinary world after college, where he studied linguistics and sociology. In 2010, he decided to challenge himself by quitting all of his jobs and striking out on his own, opening a small business: "The Starving Artist", where he works as a freelance culinary professional, doing everything from private events to public classes to restaurant consultation. He is currently working on his next big endeavor: a cafe, due to open in the summer of 2013.



More Past Keynote Speakers

Kenneth R. Venderbush (1930-1975)

Dr. Kenneth R. Venderbush came to Grand Valley in 1969. During his tenure he served as Associate Professor and Acting Dean of William James College, and from 1969 until 1973 he was Vice President for Student Affairs. He received an undergraduate degree in speech from Kalamazoo College, an M.A. from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D from Ohio State University in 1968. Dr. Venderbush's commitment to student affairs was highlighted by his understanding of student concerns. During his time as Vice President of Student Affairs, he worked to assure student input in the decision-making process. He was a strong advocate of student leadership participation as a learning tool.

The Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award

Please note that the Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award is not awarded at the Venderbush Leadership Reception. The Award is coordinated through the Dean of Students Office.

Since 1983, the university has bestowed its highest Student Leadership Award, the Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award to a graduating senior student. In the Fall of 1999, the university continued to honor his memory through an on-going series of community leadership lectures made possible by a gift from Kenneth R. Venderbush's family.

This prestigious award is presented to a senior who has made a significant leadership contribution to student life at Grand Valley and demonstrates a strong commitment to academics. Award nominations and selection is coordinated through the Dean of Students Office. Click here for more information on nominating a student for the Venderbush Student Leadership Award.

Page last modified March 24, 2014