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.


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."


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.


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.

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.

Grand Valley mascot Louie the Laker, 1986
Students boarding bus to downtown.

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Page last modified September 22, 2020