Study by Dr. John Russell, commissioned by Michigan legislature, determines need for a new four-year college in Grand Rapids area—the first in 60 years independent of existing institution.

October 25

L. William Seidman creates Committee to Establish a Four-Year College (CEFYC) to study Russell Report, obtain legislative support, and begin process of planning and promoting a four-year institution.

For more information about the founding of Grand Valley, visit the narrative history, Section One, Part I, "High Hopes."



The Grand Rapids Foundation funds a more detailed study by John X. Jamrich. "A New College: A Report to the Legislative and Citizens Committees on the Eight County Study of Higher Education Needs in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa Counties," published on November 30.


April 26

Public Act 120 of the 70th Legislature of the State of Michigan, Regular Session 1960 (House Bill No. 477), to establish and regulate a state institution of higher learning, is signed into law.

Million Dollar Fund Drive set up to raise private money required by legislation. $350,000 raised for purchase of campus site and over $1,000,000 for building program from over 5,000 individuals, organizations, and businesses in eight-county area.

College Naming Contest draws 2500 submissions. Several suggest Grand Valley State College; drawing held in March 1961 from those entries for prize of four-year tuition scholarship. Winner gives scholarship to his 7-year-old sister.

Thirty-six member Site Committee forms to evaluate locations for new college in one of the eight counties of the area: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa. By March 10, 1961, 20 sites are under consideration.

October 17

Grand Valley College Board of Control sworn in and holds first meeting in office of Governor G. Mennen Williams.

Citizen’s Advisory Council is created to involve community in establishment of college.



University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, Western Michigan, and Grand Rapids Junior College provide assistance for development and planning.

April 8

Board of Control selects 876-acre site bordered by Grand River in Allendale, Michigan in Ottawa County. 10-year master plan for campus developed, architects hired.

For more information about the site selection process, visit the narrative history, Section One, Part IV, "A Place for Us."

June 26

Governor Swainson signs higher education appropriations act providing $150,000 for Grand Valley operations funding for fiscal year 1961-62.



Administrative offices moved from Randall House in Grand Rapids to remodeled farmhouse on new campus.

February 9

Dr. James H. Zumberge, professor of geology at University of Michigan, appointed first president of Grand Valley State College.

For more information about Dr. Zumberge, visit the narrative history, Section One, Part VII, "The Right People."

August 28

Groundbreaking for college’s first academic buildings.

First library set up in The Pink House, a small residence and garage, to prepare for new library planned for second floor of Lake Superior Hall. First acquisition of literature and rare books for the library.

First prize awarded to anonymous contestant among 60 submissions for design of college seal.

First catalog describing educational program printed.


First students accepted to start as freshmen in 1963.


First faculty hired.


First foreign student, from Iran, enrolls in pioneer freshman class.

September 26

Opening Day ceremonies for Grand Valley State College. 226 students (all freshmen) are enrolled.

For more information about the first days of Grand Valley, visit the narrative history, Section One, Part X, "A Campus in the Cornfields."

First buildings in Great Lakes Group, Lake Michigan Hall and Lake Superior Hall, completed.

Racing shells for Grand Valley's first team sport, crew, are purchased by a community group.

November 22

First student newspaper, The Keystone, is published.


May 13

Student charter is adopted.


Enrollment of freshmen and sophomores 530.


Fortune Magazine features Grand Valley State College as one of five new campuses in U.S. with superior architecture and design.

View a slide show by renowned architectural photographer Balthazar Korab featuring photographs of Grand Valley's Great Lakes group of buildings.

Electronic study carrel system for access to audio-video resources is developed in conjunction with American Seating. Project receives wide attention for innovative academic information retrieval and distribution.

Seidman House, named for the Thomas Erler Seidman Foundation, opens as student center, bookstore, recreation room and offices for student groups. Lake Huron Hall completes first academic complex, the Great Lakes Group.



Contest held to decide nickname and mascot for sports teams and other activities. "Lakers" selected by students from 80 student and public submissions. New name replaces unofficial nickname, Bruisers, used for two years and derived from school colors of black, blue and white.


Enrollment of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors 1,144. Programs in education and business added to Liberal Arts curriculum.

Off-campus student housing opens at privately owned Grand Valley Apartments and Grand River Apartments. (Grand Valley Apartments acquired by the University in 2000.)

Little Mac pedestrian bridge constructed, spanning 230-ft. wide, 70-ft. deep ravine and connecting north and south campus.


May 13

Loutit Hall of Science, featuring a 28-ft. pedestal greenhouse, dedicated.

Accredited by Michigan Commission on College Accreditation.

First Winter Carnival


Five students complete graduation requirements at end of summer term; will receive diplomas with first class in June 1967.


Enrollment for first semester of full four-year program 1,341.

First dormitory, named for founding Board of Control member James O. Copeland, opens, along with Campus View Apartments, first college-owned apartment complex.



Bachelor of Science degree added to curriculum.

For more information about changes in Grand Valley's curriculum, visit the narrative history, Section Two, Part II, "Tweaking the Vision."

June 18

First graduation. Class of 138 seniors includes 86 members of Pioneer Class. Constitution of new Alumni Association accepted by Board of Control.

Research vessel Angus, named to honor donor D.J. Angus in 1966, is outfitted for oceanographic study as part of Summer Program in Ecology.


Enrollment 1,729.

Second on-campus dormitory, named for founding Board member Kenneth Robinson, dedicated. First building in Islands Complex, Mackinac Hall, completed in November. Commons dining facility completed.



Center section of new Fieldhouse dome collapses during construction.


Grand Valley is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (NCA).


Graduation ceremonies at Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids for more than 180 students.


Enrollment 2,220. A new academic unit, the School of General Studies, is opened, offering innovative inter-disciplinary program. First academic unit at Grand Valley re-named College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the new academic unit, later named Thomas Jefferson College, visit the narrative history, Section Two, Part III, "A Second Society"

Second building in Islands Complex, Manitou Hall, completed. Architects of Manitou and Mackinac win Award of Honor in 1969 from Michigan Society of Architects.

October 9

Student-operated radio station begins broadcasting.


Injunction brought by Ottawa County Circuit Court stopping publication of student newspaper, the Lanthorn, and charging its editor with obscenity. In August 1969, Michigan Attorney General ruled that county did not have legal authority to close newspaper.



Arend D. Lubbers succeeds James H. Zumberge as President of Grand Valley State College.

For more information about the new president, visit the narrative history, Section Two, Part IV, "The Arrival of Arend D. Lubbers."


New James H. Zumberge library opens.

June 15

Commencement ceremonies held in new Fieldhouse.


Enrollment 2,718.


Grand Valley sends first students abroad, to the University of Lancaster in England, and establishes program in Merida, Mexico. Office of International Studies established in 1970.


School of General Studies renamed Thomas Jefferson College of General Studies.

October 12

Inauguration for President Lubbers and dedication ceremonies for Zumberge Library and new Fieldhouse. President Lubbers presented bronze presidential medallion.

October 15 &
November 14

Moratorium Days held to assess war in Vietnam.



Author Jim Harrison speaks on campus for the first time. Harrison donates his papers to GVSU's Special Collections in 2005.


James Zumberge returns for commencement address as GV marks 10th anniversary.


Board of Control approves School of Business and School of Health Sciences, new degree programs in earth science, environmental science, public service and theatre.


Enrollment 3,301.



Kistler Living Center, named for founding Board of Control member Grace Olsen Kistler, is dedicated.


Report on Status of Women at GVSC prompts task force to study discrimination.


Thomas Jefferson College hosts National Poetry Festival, also in 1973 and 1975.


Enrollment 4,174.


William James College opens.

For more information about William James College, visit the narrative history, Section 3, Part II.


New Fine Arts Center, named for sculptor Alexander Calder in 1972, opens, with theater named for jazz icon Louis Armstrong.


Stage 3 experimental theater established in downtown Grand Rapids, merges with TJC in 1973.

For more information about performing and visual arts at Grand Valley, visit the narrative history sidebar section "Arts at Grand Valley."



Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference founded. First full-time athletic director, Donald Dufek, hired in spring.


Enrollment 5,218.


School of Public Service established within College of Arts and Sciences.

December 17

WGVC-TV, Grand Valley’s public television facility begins broadcasting.



Governor Milliken signs law changing name of Grand Valley State College to Grand Valley State Colleges.


Enrollment 5,920.


Four-year baccalaureate program in nursing established; Honors Program begins.


College IV opens; renamed Kirkhof College in 1978 to honor donor Russel H. Kirkhof.

For more information about College IV, visit the narrative history, Section 3, Part III.


Grand Valley Lakers log first football win in coach Jim Harkema's first season.

For more information about sports at Grand Valley, visit the narrative history sidebar section "Athletics."

The Lanthorn wins first place honors from Michigan Collegiate Press Association, Best Newspaper bi-weekly category for 1972-1973.

Ravine Apartments open. Townhouse village first of its kind in Michigan, one of few in nation built specifically for student apartment living on a college campus.

September 25

Opening convocation for F.E. Seidman Graduate College of Business, offering first graduate degrees at Grand Valley. Graduate and undergraduate programs in business are merged in 1979.

For more information about the beginning of graduate education at Grand Valley, visit the narrative history, Section 3, Part IV.



Evening classes offered in Holland for first time.


Lakers Basketball team wins first berth in national tournament.

April 20

Campus Center, renamed Russel H. Kirkhof Center in 1982, dedicated.


Grand Valley wrestling team wins first individual national championship.

Grand Valley is the first college in Michigan to award a women's athletic scholarship.


Re-accredited by NCA for graduate programs.


Enrollment 6,677.


WSRX-FM non-commercial, student-operated station signs on.



Board of Control abolishes mandatory residence hall living.

Regional Affairs Resource Center opens at Grand Valley library to provide resources on Ottawa, Kent and parts of Allegan Counties.


First graduate degrees awarded in business program.


Enrollment 7,340.


College of Graduate Studies established; Graduate School of Education opens.


Experiments in architecture and alternative energy include 500 s.f. Omnistructure utilizing solar energy built by William James College; Pear Orchard Project (POP) interdisciplinary experiment at Thomas Jefferson College focusing on practical skills (homesteading, gardening, and construction), science courses and workshops.

For more information about the roots of environmental awareness at Grand Valley, visit the narrative history sidebar section "Architecture & Environment: The Physical Grand Valley."



Two Grand Valley wrestlers are first to compete in NCAA Division II tournament.

First Enrichment Dinner, a biennial event sponsored by Grand Valley College Foundation, honors founders L. William Seidman and David Dutcher, first President James H. Zumberge.


Grand Valley library receives W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to expand computer-based information network.


Group of citizens of Yugoslavia representing University of Sarajevo arrives for four-week course of study and tours as part of institutional student exchange program.


Enrollment 7,540.


Grand Valley Center established at Muskegon Community College. AuSable Hall on Allendale campus completed.

October 4

The Forum, Grand Valley’s faculty/staff newsletter, publishes first issue.

Grand Valley’s scientific activities in environmental research acknowledged as internationally significant by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and added to United National Environmental Programs Referral System. Environmental Health program initiated.



Grand Valley and Grand Rapids Symphony initiate Summer Music School and Festival.


Enrollment 7,469.

William James College awarded contract by the US Office of Education for demonstration project in providing career education at liberal arts college.



Grand Valley wrestling ranked No. 1 NAIA team.


12th Annual State of Michigan Rowing Championships hosted by Grand Valley at Riverside Park, with 1000 in attendance.


Enrollment 7,065.


Graduate program in Social Work established.

October 31

Campus Center Art Gallery established, budget allocated for exhibitions, permanent collection.



Clerical, Office, and Technical staff (COT) vote to join Michigan Educational Support Personnel Association. Contract signed in October to begin in 1980.

March & April

High school students gather on campus for Computer Contest and Calculator Contest sponsored by Math and Computer Science Department.


Anonymous donor gives $600,000 to Grand Valley for downtown center.


Board of Control votes to close Thomas Jefferson College in June 1980.


Enrollment 7,142.

September 15

New football stadium named for President Arend D. Lubbers is dedicated.


January 18

Fieldhouse dome, condemned in 1978, collapses as demolition begins.


Fire closes Stage III theater in downtown Grand Rapids.


Grand Valley faculty union proposal defeated after rejections in 1974 and 1977.

June 7

Thomas Jefferson College closes with ceremony at north entrance to Lake Huron Hall. Commemorative plaque placed with college motto: "This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind."


Enrollment 6,984.

Salaries reduced for top administrators, more than 50 positions cut. Academic calendar changed from quarter system to semesters.

Master of Social Work program established.

For more information about the financial stresses of the time, visit the narrative history, Section 3, Part VII, "Doom and Gloom."



Enrollment 6,699.

September 6

Grand Valley Marching Band makes first appearance at a professional football game at home opener for Detroit Lions.



Enrollment 6,366.

October 26

Dedication of new Fieldhouse adjacent to remodeled original sans dome.



Final William James College Synoptic Series, "Endings and Beginnings."

For more about the end of William James College and Kirkhof College, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part II. "A Time of Optimism and Experiment and Reform."


Enrollment 6,710.


Academic program reorganized into divisional structure, including Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, Science and Mathematics, and Social Sciences. College reverts to name Grand Valley State College (dropping the s). William James College and Kirkhof College are absorbed into disciplines within the single college. School of Nursing and Campus Center are renamed to honor Russel H. Kirkhof. All business and economics graduate and undergraduate programs combined into Seidman School of Business.

Graduate program in nursing established.



Enrollment 7,142.

Michigan legislature awards funding to develop architectural plans for proposed Grand Valley Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Land is acquired and buildings demolished to prepare for construction.



Grand Valley begins hosting Regional Science Olympiad.


Grand Valley’s Silver Anniversary Celebration.

For more about Grand Valley's 25th anniversary, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part VI, "25 Years and Still Growing."


Enrollment 7,667.

National accreditation earned by Master of Social Work program and Physical Therapy program.

Men's Basketball team advances to NCAA Division II tournament for first time; Laker Baseball team plays in first NCAA Central Regional tournament.

Water Resources Institute established as part of Grand Valley Biology Department. Research vessel D.J. Angus serves water research and education needs in home port of Grand Haven.


June 4

Groundbreaking for Grand Rapids Center.


Enrollment 8,361.

300 attend first President's Ball in Kirkhof Center.



Enrollment 8,948.

October 30

Living Centers named for Board members Icie Macy Hoobler, Ella Koeze-Weed, Paul A. Johnson, Arnold C. Ott, are dedicated.


Governor James Blanchard signs bill designating Grand Valley State College as Grand Valley State University.

Steelcase Inc. donates land to extend downtown campus.


April 29

Dedication ceremony for L.V. Eberhard Center and Meijer Public Broadcast Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

For more about Grand Valley's first downtown buildings, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part IV, "Building a Presence."


Enrollment 9,768.

Women's Basketball team plays NCAA Division II tournament for first time.



Enrollment 10,914.

School of Criminal Justice established.

Robert Kleiner Commons and Living Centers named in honor of William F. Pickard, Richard M. DeVos, and Robert C. Pew are dedicated.

Grand Valley Lakers football team posts first undefeated season at 11-0, finishing third in the final NCAA Division II poll.



Enrollment 11,726.

Grand Valley begins program to plant one tree for every ton of paper recycled by the school. Trees planted in Recycling Forest, renamed in 2001 to honor Vice President Emeritus Ronald F. VanSteeland.



Enrollment 12,565.

Cook-DeWitt Center, housing campus ministry and a 250-seat auditorium, is dedicated.

Women's Climate Study Report results in new policy and programs.

NASA names Grand Valley as only institution in Michigan to participate in Joint Venture (JOVE), to increase universities' involvement in science-related research.



Enrollment 12,867.

Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership established, renamed The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership in 1999.



Enrollment 13,384.

First Shakespeare Festival celebrated by Theater Department; Shakespeare Garden dedicated.

Academic organization reviewed; School of Education, School of Social Work and Kirkhof School of Nursing become autonomous schools, graduate program in nursing established.

September 26

Groundbreaking for new Science Complex, encompassing Loutit Lecture Halls, Seymour and Esther Padnos Hall of Science, Student Services, and Henry Hall, named in honor of the late Paul B. Henry, U.S. Third District Congressman.

For more about the new Science Complex, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part VI, "25 Years and Still Growing."

December 10

First Winter Commencement held.



Enrollment 13,553.

November 15

Cook Carillon Tower on Allendale campus dedicated.

The Meadows Golf Course, with Clubhouse and Learning Center, opens.

First School of Communications Summer Film project.

Regional Math and Science Center established



James L. Stevenson Center for Higher Education, joint project between GVSU, Ferris State University and Western Michigan University, opens on the campus of Muskegon Community College.


Enrollment 13,887.

GVSU Traverse City Regional Center established at Northwestern Michigan College University Center.

GVSU receives its first patent, held jointly with Engineering Professor William A. Chren, for Direct Digital Frequency Synthesizer.

Robert and Mary Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center established.

Grand Valley student chapter of Habitat for Humanity builds first home.

Graduate Program in Public Administration accredited.

New Children’s Enrichment Center completed.


April 12

Seymour and Esther Padnos Hall of Science dedicated with ceremony featuring Former President Gerald R. Ford as speaker.


Enrollment 14,662.

Second research vessel for the Water Resources Institute commissioned, named W.G. Jackson in honor of Muskegon businessman and environmentalist.

Grand Design 2000 Campaign surpasses goal of raising $15 million in private funding for downtown campus expansion.



First commencement ceremonies held in Van Andel Arena, and in Traverse City.

June 6

Groundbreaking ceremony on 19-acre site donated by Meijer, Inc. in Holland.

Seidman School of Business accredited by American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.


Enrollment 15,676.

October 16

Groundbreaking ceremony for Grand Rapids downtown campus expansion, named for Amway co-founder Richard M. DeVos.

Living Centers dedicated named for Board members Maxine M. Swanson and Bill Seidman, along with his wife, Sally.


March 19

Calder Arts Center, named for sculptor Alexander Calder, dedicated; former Calder Fine Arts Center renamed Performing Arts Center.


National Science Olympiad held at Grand Valley.

For more about the National Science Olympiad, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part VI, "25 Years and Still Growing."

August 28

Meijer Campus in Holland dedicated.

Meadows Golf Course listed in top 25 public courses in Michigan by The Detroit News;Golf World selects its designer as golf course architect of the year.

Living Centers named for Board members William A. Kirkpatrick and Dale Stafford dedicated on Allendale campus.

School of Health Professions established.


Enrollment 16,751.


April 19

Groundbreaking for Peter F. Secchia Hall, first Grand Rapids campus housing, dedicated in October 2000.


Enrollment 17,452.

Van Andel Global Trade Center established.

Ground is broken on Grand Rapids campus for Fred M. Keller Engineering Labs building by a virtual reality robot designed by students in Padnos School of Engineering.


August 24

Richard M. DeVos Center, Steelcase Library, Beckering Family Carillon Tower dedicated as part of expansion of Grand Rapids campus, named in honor of Robert C. Pew, former chairman of Steelcase, Inc.

For more about the downtown campus expansion, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part VII, "Good News, Bad News: Growth and Goodbye."


Enrollment 18,579.


President Arend D. Lubbers announces his retirement. President of GVSU since 1968, he was the longest serving president of a public university in the nation.


Fred M. Keller Engineering Laboratories building dedicated on Pew campus.


New Alumni House and Visitor Center on Allendale campus is dedicated.

Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies founded.


April 19

Hail to the Chief, a tribute to retiring President Don Lubbers organized by Grand Valley students.

May 24

Dedication ceremony to rename Recycling Forest the VanSteeland Arboretum, honoring Ronald F. VanSteeland, vice president emeritus, for his commitment to campus beautification.

June 21

Lake Michigan Center in Muskegon opens, new home of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute.

For more about Annis Water Resources Institute, visit the narrative history, Section Four, Part VI, "25 Years and Still Growing."

July 1

Mark A. Murray appointed third president of Grand Valley.


Enrollment 19,762.


First issue of new Grand Valley Magazine published.

Seidman School of Business (now College of Business) named new Michigan Small Business Development State Headquarters by federal Small Business Administration.

September 11

Evening classes cancelled, memorial services held for victims of the terrorist attacks.

October 17

First DeVos Art Lecture features architect Vern Ohlman and GV Vice President Ron VanSteeland discussing academic architecture.

November 9

Inauguration of Mark A. Murray.

For more about Mark Murray, visit the narrative history, Section Five, Part I. "After Three Decades, A New Era."



Dr. Gayle R. Davis appointed Grand Valley Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Enrollment 20,407.

October 10

Grand opening of Mackinac Hall addition.

December 14

Grand Valley Lakers beat Valdosta State 31-24 in NCAA Division II Football National Championship final, bringing home the school's first-ever national championship in a varsity sport.

For more about Grand Valley athletics, visit the narrative history sidebar section "Athletics."



Enrollment 21,492.


Debut of Fall Arts Celebration.

September 15

Dedication of Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences in Grand Rapids.

For more about Cook-DeVos Center, visit the narrative history, Section Five, Part III. "Health on the Hill."

December 16

Grand Valley wins second consecutive NCAA Division II Football National Championship, defeating North Dakota 10-3.


April 22

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center dedicated in Muskegon, Grand Valley's first LEED Gold certified building.

For more about MAREC, visit the narrative history, Section Five, Part IV. "Among the Best."


Enrollment 22,063.


GV academic program reorganized, establishing College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Community and Public Service, College of Education, College of Health Professions, Kirkhof College of Nursing, Seidman College of Business, and Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing.

For more about the academic reorganization, visit the narrative history, Section Five, Part II. "Reorganizing for Absolute Excellence."


First paid permits for Allendale campus parking required.

Grand Valley offers first doctoral program, in Physical Therapy.



Enrollment 22,565.

September 26

Fifth building in original academic complex, the Great Lakes Group, is dedicated. Lake Ontario Hall earns LEED Silver rating, the first LEED-certified building on the Allendale campus.

Grand Valley's first fully endowed chair created in Art and Design Department with a gift from Stuart and Barbara Padnos Foundation.

December 3

Grand Valley Lakers beat Nebraska-Kearney to win first NCAA Division II Volleyball National Championship, the first for a women’s sport at Grand Valley.

Grand Valley Library’s Special Collections acquires papers of internationally acclaimed writer and Michigan native Jim Harrison.



Mark A. Murray announces he will leave Grand Valley presidency to become President of Meijer Inc. Provost Gayle Davis named interim president in June.


Mark A. Murray Living Center on south campus in Allendale named to honor third president of GVSU.

July 10

Board of Trustees appoint Thomas J. Haas as GVSU's fourth president.


Enrollment 23,295.

October 27

Investiture ceremonies for new President Thomas J. Haas.

For more about Thomas J. Haas, visit the narrative history, Section Five, Part V. "Thomas J. Haas is Grand Valley's Fourth President."

School of Engineering, Westown Jubilee Housing, and Heartland Builders collaborate to build 'Green House on Watson,' a pilot project in the US Green Building Council's LEED for Homes rating system. In 2009 the project wins the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration.

Frey Foundation Chair in Family Foundations and Philanthropy endowed in Johnson Center for Philanthropy.



Enrollment 23,464.


John C. Kennedy Hall of Engineering dedicated.


First Accountability Report published, a public review of GV's academic and economic performance.

New Music Ensemble releases Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" CD, reaches #1 on iTunes and Amazon classical charts, named best of the year on many national lists, named a top classical release of the decade.



Shaping Our Future campaign launched to fund multiple capital and endowment priorities, including new Learning and Information Commons to be named for Mary Idema Pew.


Enrollment 23,892.


Laker Indoor Turf Building opens, providing increased recreational opportunities for students. LEED Gold certification awarded in 2009.


Honors College re-dedicated in celebration of move into Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center. In October Honors College named for Frederik Meijer. Center is awarded LEED Silver rating in July 2009.

November 12

Expansion of George and Barbara Gordon Gallery in Richard M. DeVos Center, housing selections from Grand Valley’s collection of paintings by West Michigan painter Mathias J. Alten, is dedicated.

Seidman College of Business is ranked one of top business schools in country by Princeton Review.

Grand Valley receives U.S. Green Building Council Recognition Award and Sustainable Endowments Institute National Sustainability Innovator Award.



The Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership begins publication of the first and only peer-reviewed journal of philanthropy, The Foundation Review.

GVSU is only Michigan school cited in Kaplan College Guide "cutting-edge green" colleges. Also ranked top "up and coming" institution in Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.


Enrollment 24,408.

September 11

Memorial service for founder L. William Seidman held in Louis Armstrong Theater. Seidman died on May 13, 2009 at the age of 88.


New Music Ensemble releases "In C Remixed," CD of iconic work by Terry Riley, featured in Newsweek, named by many critics to best of 2009 lists.


March 1

The Mobile Applications and Services Lab in the School of Computing and Information Systems launches first mobile app.

March 30

The Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies is named to honor Holland residents Jim and Donna Brooks and their family.


Grand Valley researchers across the disciplines receive $1.1 million in grants from the National Science Foundation.


The Board of Trustees approves the first completely online degree program, a master's in educational technology.


Enrollment: 24,541.


Grand Valley State University celebrates 50th anniversary year.

September 21

Officials break ground for the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.

October 5

Physician Assistant Studies receives more than $2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand its program.

October 27

More than 300 people attend Grand Valley's first TEDx event, centered on sustainability.

November 9

Grand Valley and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital partner and receive a U.S. Department of Defense grant to provide free rehabilitation to Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with traumatic brain injuries.



Many paintings by Grand Rapids artist Mathias J. Alten from the university's collection are exhibited in Naples, Florida, home to many seasonal and full-time Midwesterners and alumni, for a 50th anniversary event.


Seidman College of Business announces first full-time Master of Business Administration program (FIMBA).

March 15

Steve Ford accepts first Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship award in honor of his father, President Gerald R. Ford.

May 25

Officials break ground for the L. William Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

June 8

Campus leaders announce that the first university comprehensive campaign, Shaping Our Future, surpassed the original goal of $50 million and raised $95.3 million.

June 25

The Kelly Family Sports Center is dedicated, honoring Brian and Paqui Kelly and their family.


Enrollment: 24,662.

September 12

Grand Valley and many West Michigan partners launch the 2012 Year of Interfaith Understanding, designed to cultivate peace through community interest and understanding of all faith traditions.

September 29

Results of fourth campus climate study show 90 percent of students and 76 percent of faculty and staff members are comfortable with the overall climate in their classes and workplaces.

November 4

The Board of Trustees approves a plan to request capital outlay funds for a new science lab building on the Allendale Campus.



Laker baseball team travels to Cuba for humanitarian mission, and to play against Cuban national team.

January 30

Association of College and Research Libraries presents Excellence in Academic Libraries Award to Grand Valley.

February 10

Board of Trustees approves constructing a new research building for the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.


Women's Center celebrates 10 years.


Numerous events are planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the partnership between GVSU and Kingston University in London.


Regional Math and Science Center hosts first G3 Camp: Grandparents, Grandkids, Grand Valley. More than 100 participate.


Sarah Zelenka, ’09, and her rowing partner finish fourth in women's pairs in the Summer Olympics.


Enrollment: 24,654, including a record number 370 international students.

December 17

WGVU Public Media celebrates 40th anniversary.


January 21

For the first time, university cancels classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, allowing more students, faculty and staff members to participate in activities planned on campus.

April 15

Leaders break ground on new Science Laboratory Building on the Allendale Campus.

April 29

Board of Trustees approves opening new charter schools authorized by Grand Valley in Grand Rapids and Detroit that serve former drop-outs and homeless students.


The University Club celebrates its 50th anniversary.

May 6

New L. William Seidman Center opens.

May 8

Detroit Center opens, serving southeast Michigan and housing classrooms and a regional office for the Small Business and Technology Development Center.

June 24

Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons opens.

July 12

Campaign to construct field station at the Annis Water Resources Institute surpasses its goal.

September 10

Record number of first-year, students of color, out-of-state and international students mark fall semester.

September 23

For 18th straight year, Grand Valley was named one of the America's 100 Best College Buys.

November 1

Board of Trustees approves 11-acre expansion of health campus.

December 9

Ralph Hauenstein makes a substantial contribution to the center that bears his name.

December 27

Two people were recognized for 45 years of service: Lynn Blue and Samir IsHak.


January 5-6

For the first time in history, the university cancels classes two consecutive days due to weather.

January 6

Diana R. Lawson is named dean of the Seidman College of Business.

February 8

The university opens a surplus store in downtown Grand Rapids, providing the public an opportunity to buy inventory that is no longer in use.

February 11

Recommendations are reported during a town hall meeting following the 2011 campus climate survey.

March 19

Longtime professor Milton E. Ford dies after a battle with cancer. The university later announces it will name the LGBT Resource Center in his memory.

March 26

More than 1,180 people attend a session during the Teach-In, which addressed issues of privilege, power and social justice.

April 30

The university's endowment surpasses $100.2 million.

June 4

Grand Valley expands and enhances its longtime articulation status with Grand Rapids Community College, designed to give students a seamless transfer to the university.

July 14

Former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker delivered an address that honored the life and service of former President Gerald R. Ford, and was awarded the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship in front a full house at the Amway Grand Hotel’s Ambassador Ballroom.

July 24

Researchers at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy receive a $1.05 million grant to study "Pathways to Potential," which helps school-age students and their families succeed.

August 20

The Marilyn E. Zumberge Garden is dedicated. The family of Grand Valley's first president and first lady attends the ceremony.

August 27

Grand Valley introduces the Design Thinking Initiative, led by John Berry. The initiative continues the university's commitment to preparing students for lifelong learning.

September 4

Students are enrolling in record numbers at Grand Valley this fall. Officials are welcoming a record number of first-year students at 4,226, bringing the total number of students to 25,094, hitting a major milestone for the university.

November 11

Grand Valley announces plans to expand its Master's in Physician Assistant Studies program to the Traverse City Center.

December 9

Grand Valley's Board of Trustees approves a property exchange and purchase in downtown Grand Rapids to enable the university to expand its growing nursing and health professions programs.


February 18

Engineering students create a device that allows a child with a spinal disease to move and be independent. The Play and Mobility Device is a collaborative project between the engineering and physical therapy departments.

April 25

Dale Boedeker is the 100,000th graduate from Grand Valley and is surprised at commencement with a $1,000 check and gift basket. Michael Jandernoa and Paula Kerger give addresses; Noreen Myers receives the Distinguished Alumni Award; Brad Waller receives the Outstanding Educator Award; and David Hecht and Bea Idema receive honorary degrees.

May 29

President Thomas J. Haas receives an honorary degree from the Cracow University of Economics in Poland. The ceremony marks the 40th anniversary of the partnership between Grand Valley and CUE. A delegation, including President Emeritus Arend D. Lubbers, travels to Poland.

November 19

Jack Mangala is named the second Padnos/Sarosik Professor for Civil Discourse. The endowed professorship is housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

December 13

More than 1,000 students participate in commencement at Van Andel Arena. Lt. Governor Brian Calley delivers the commencement address. Nancy Lubbers and Andrzej ChochóB receive honorary degrees.


January 20

Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of #BlackLivesMatter, said the movement was not created from a place of rage, but rather a place of love. Her presentation highlighted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week activities on campus.


March 20

Hundreds of people attend a presentation by Holocaust survivor Madga Brown, 89, in the Kirkhof Center. Brown is a great aunt of Samantha Murray, Grand Valley student and president of Grand Valley's Hillel chapter.

June 7

University leaders announce the launch of the Laker Effect comprehensive campaign. With a fundraising goal of $85 million, the campaign will address three areas of need: opportunity, achievement and relevance.

June 24

January 20

Gregory Sanial is named Grand Valley's new vice president for Finance. He had served as chief of staff for the U.S. Coast Guard Fifth District in Virginia.

February 8

Hundreds of campus and community members celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Division of Inclusion and Equity at a reception in Grand Rapids. Vice President Jesse Bernal announces the establishment of a scholarship to support students pursuing social justice-focused careers.

February 28

President Thomas J. Haas announces his retirement, effective June 30, 2019. The Board of Trustees holds a special meeting to begin the search for the university's fifth president.

April 23

Loren Rullman is named vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students. He had worked at the University of Michigan for 10 years and was a principal of higher education strategy for consulting firm.

May 7

Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall opens for classes. Located at 500 Lafayette Ave. NE, Finkelstein Hall expands the university's health campus and houses a sonography and cardiovascular sciences suite, therapeutic recreation lab, occupational therapy lab, therapeutic modalities lab, and communication sciences and disorders laboratories.

June 28

Grand Valley joins six other area higher education institutions committed to increasing the number of students of color who choose health care majors while in college. "Pathways to Careers in Health Care" is funded by a $400,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and administered by the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute.

July 17

More than 400 people attend a dedication ceremony for Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall and celebrate the expansion of the Health Campus. Finkelstein Hall has 16 teaching labs, 90 faculty and staff offices and received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

August 24

A dedication ceremony is held for the Arend and Nancy Lubbers Student Services Center. New to the building is the Laker Experience Suite, a 112-seat room with large video wall to welcome prospective students and their families.

September 6

The campus community mourns the death of Rich DeVos, who died at age 92. DeVos served as president of the Grand Valley University Foundation for 24 years. His support for Grand Valley began at its founding in the 1960s.

September 10

Grand Valley welcomes one of its largest first-year classes in its history, with 4,369 new students. Total enrollment is 24,677 with a 6 percent increase over the previous year in new students of color.

October 16

Grand Valley joins Grand Rapids Public Schools and tourism industry leaders to announce a new college-career prep academy. The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management will open in the fall 2019 at Ottawa Hills High School.

October 23

More than 300 people attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health. When it opens in 2021, the building will be the third and flagship of the university’s Health Campus.

November 2

The Board of Trustees approves the naming of the Connection as the Lynn M. Blue Connection, honoring the vice president for Enrollment Development. Blue is the longest-serving employee at Grand Valley, having achieved the 50-year mark in September. She helped design the building that opened in 2010 and includes dining, classroom and study areas.

November 27

The campus community mourns the death of Richard Kaufman, who died at age 91. With the support of Richard (Dick) and his wife, Sylvia, the Kaufman Interfaith Institute was created at Grand Valley in 2007, following two decades of their work developing interfaith programs in Muskegon and around the world.


June 19

More than 400 people celebrate the dedication of the Jamie Hosford Football Center. Features of the renovated building include a larger athletic training room, all-team meeting room and space for equipment maintenance and laundry.

September 6

Eighty students each receive $2,000 scholarships to use for a study abroad program within four years of their start at Grand Valley. The first cohort of Laker Go Abroad scholarship recipients resulted from a unique collaboration between campus departments.

December 14

The Laker soccer team beats Western Washington, 1-0, to win the NCAA Division II National Championship. It’s the sixth national title for Grand Valley’s soccer program.