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.

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.



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.

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


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.

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.



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 a 500 s.f. Omnistructure, which utilizes solar energy, was built by William James College; the Pear Orchard Project (POP), an interdisciplinary experiment at Thomas Jefferson College focusing on practical skills (homesteading, gardening, and construction), science courses and workshops.


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.

Enrollment 7,540.

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.

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.


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.

Students listening to music being performed in Campus Center lounge, ca. 1977.
William James College graduating students.
Student working on William James College mural.

Photos are courtesy of the Grand Valley University Archives and Special Collections

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Page last modified September 22, 2020