Upcoming Events

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The Laker Club Talks

Gather with colleagues, enjoy appetizers, beer/wine, and learn more about their personal and professional journeys in a relaxed and informal environment. Together, we will explore a variety of topics, perspectives, and ideas that empower us to form meaningful relationships and find common ground through impactful conversations.

Each talk is from 4-5 p.m. Some will be held inside the new The Laker Club, which is on the upper level of the Commons building on the Allendale Campus. Others will be in the downtown University Club room in the Richard M. DeVos Center.


THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED - new date to be announced soon
Thursday, February 23 -
 Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Jenny Hall-Jones, Vice President for Student Affairs 

"Everything I learned about higher education I learned from being an RA"

Vice President Jenny Hall-Jones will share her experience, funny stories, and the important life lessons she learned in her first job as a Resident Assistant. Come ready to share your own higher ed journey or your first job’s life lessons!

Thursday, March 2 - Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Fatma Mili, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

"Imagination & Education"

Join Provost Mili as she shares her reflections on mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s essay, “Universities and their Function” in which he states, “A university is imaginative or it is nothing – at least nothing useful.” Learn Provost’s Mili’s thoughts on how to be ready to empower learners with the skills to imagine and create new, more equitable and sustainable systems in or to break the cycle of inequity, environmental depletion. Consider reading Whitehead’s essay before the talk!

Thursday, March 9 -  University Club - DeVos building - Pew Campus
Greg Sanial , Vice President for Finance and Administration

"Cheers! My Home Brewing Journey"

Vice President Greg Sanial shares his personal journey into craft brewing, finding the right balance of malt, hops and yeast and how this hobby helps him stay balanced in his busy life.

Thursday, March 16 - Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Pat Smith , General Counsel

"Orange is not your best color! The Alphabet soup of HIPAA, FERPA & FOIA & how to stay out of trouble"

General Counsel Pat Smith will go over the ways in which these federal regulations impact higher education and how you can be sure to stay on the right side of these important regulations.

Thursday, March 23 -  University Club - DeVos building - Pew Campus
Stacie Behler , Vice President and Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer

"Donkeys & Elephants & Rhino’s OH MY! Today’s Political Landscape" 

Join Vice President Stacie Behler for a conversation about the impact of local, state and federal politics on our mission at Grand Valley State University.

Thursday, March 30 - Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Donta Truss , Vice President for Enrollment Development & Educational Outreach

"Turning the Tide"

The presentation will share Dr. Truss’ journey from Alabama to the Midwest and will use lessons learned on the journey to highlight how GVSU can win the enrollment battle. A few thoughts will be shared about the Alabama Crimson Tide Football Program (because he loves that team) and what he has learned about turning the tide from their amazing coaches over the years.

Thursday, April 6 - Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Jesse Bernal , Chief of Staff to the President & Vice President for Inclusion and Equity

"Big Changes & Amazing Consistency: A journey over 8 years at GVSU"

Vice President Jesse Bernal reflects on leadership transitions, change, AND stability as GVSU's longest tenured senior Executive Officer after moving from California in 2015. Join in as we reflect on where we've been and imagine where we are going as we share memories and visions.

Thursday, April 13 - Laker Club - Commons building - Allendale Campus
Milos Topic, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Digital Officer 

"War(s!), family, life & politics…lessons from a childhood in Bosnia & Serbia

Vice President Milos Topic will share the remarkable story of his childhood in Bosnia and Serbia and how these extreme, sometimes dangerous, experiences shaped his life and helped him achieve his goals.

Thursday, April 20 -  University Club - DeVos building - Pew Campus
Laura Aikens , Vice President for University Development

"Just wake up earlier (& other unhelpful advice)"

When struggling under the competing pressures of work, family, and community, women are often told that our problems have an easy solution: just wake up earlier! Join Vice President Laura Aikens as we break down some of the unhelpful advice we receive, talk through what we’ve discovered as real solutions, and remind each other that even if chaos is reigning, the other side of a journey is never as far as it seems. We are made of tough stuff!

Byron White


From Knowledge Generator to Knowledge Navigator: The Community-centric Future of Public Universities 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023
2 – 3 p.m. Presentation 
3 – 3:30 p.m. Reception 

Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium 
Richard M. DeVos Center 
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus 
401 Fulton St. West 

Dr. Byron P. White, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Urban Research and Community Engagement
University of North Carolina Charlotte

White has spent his career facilitating mutually beneficial engagement between institutions and urban communities. He will lead a conversation on how public universities need to deepen their integration with local communities — including their embrace of a new student majority — to best ensure their sustainability against emerging challenges.

Register to join in person or watch via livestream 


Contact Morgan Knapp with questions at (616) 331-2185 or [email protected]

Watch recordings and learn more about past Fireside Chats

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Reach Higher 2025 Showcase

Friday, April 21, 2023
11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Richard M. DeVos Center, Plaza (first floor, building C)
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

More information to be released in early March.

Interested in presenting your work? Submit your project here by February 24.

Questions? Contact Morgan Knapp at [email protected] or (616) 331-2185.

Recent Events

Annual Service Awards and Holiday Gathering

Thursday, December 1, 2022
Kirkhof Center, Allendale Campus

Click here to learn more about the Annual Service Awards and Holiday Gathering


2022 Faculty and Staff Fall Kickoff in blue text

Faculty and Staff Fall Kickoff - University Address and Faculty & Staff Picnic

Tuesday, August 23, 2022
L. William Seidman Center
Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus

University Address Recording

Photo Gallery

Page last modified February 23, 2023