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.


Thousands watch a LipDub video produced by the university for the 50th anniversary with the song "Come Sail Away" by Styx.


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.

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.

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.




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.

Februrary 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.


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 millio

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.


January 10
Grand Valley mourns the death of artist and longtime university supporter Cyril Lixenberg, who died at his Amsterdam home at age 82.

January 19
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, addresses an overflow crowd in the Fieldhouse at a keynote event during Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week on campus.

January 27
President Thomas J. Haas names Jesse M. Bernal vice president for Inclusion and Equity.

February 12
Grand Valley was ranked second among master's degree institutions for the number of Fulbright Scholars and tied for 12th place for number of student Fulbright Scholars.

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.

February 26
Faculty members, students and community members explore the depths of Reeds Lake to digitally map two sunken steamboats.

March 26
Shaily Menon, associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is named an American Council on Education Fellow.

April 13
The new Laker Store opens at its new location in the Marketplace, next to the new P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science.

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 26
Lynn McNamara Blue is appointed to the newly created position of vice president for Enrollment Development. Blue has worked for Grand Valley for 47 years.

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.

June 17
Grand Valley will host an established medical ethics speaker series thanks to a gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.

July 15
Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill receives the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal following his remarks at a lecture.

July 20
Grand Valley and Consumers Energy break ground on construction of a new $15 million leadership center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

July 23
Grand Valley receives more than $3.7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education to fund and expand services to students enrolled in one of three TRIO Student Support Services programs.


August 5
Tim Selgo, set to enter his 20th year as athletic director, announces he will retire at the end of the academic year.

August 28
Grand Valley celebrates convocation and the dedication of the P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science.

November 6
J.C. and Tammy Huizenga give a $1 million gift to the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, honoring the center's namesake, Ralph Hauenstein.

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 Chochól receive honorary degrees.



February 10
Grand Valley becomes partner in Detroit Promise, making it easier for Detroit high school students to become Lakers.

May 1
Grand Valley receives a $375,000 state grant to establish an initiative to support students who have experienced foster care.

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 21
During a special board meeting, the Board of Trustees approves the purchase of the Ferris Coffee and Nut building in downtown Grand Rapids to provide space to expand Grand Valley's engineering program.

June 24
Mark Zumberge, the youngest son of former President James Zumberge, addresses members of the Class of 1967 during their 50th reunion. They were the first to graduate from Grand Valley under Zumberge's tenure.


July 14
The Board of Trustees approves a construction project on the Medical Mile, next to the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, to accommodate the growing demand from nursing and health professions students and employers.

September 5
Researchers at the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute will be able to investigate topics that government funding programs are typically not willing to take on, thanks to a new endowed fund created by Allen and Helen Hunting.

September 7
Enrollment goals are met as 25,049 students are at Grand Valley, with record numbers for students of color (4,344), and first-time students (4,185).

October 11
Grand Valley earns a $1.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to establish a TRIO Veterans Upward Bound program, providing free academic support services to low-income veterans who want to complete degree programs.

October 19
Blue light shines on the carillon towers at the Allendale and Pew Grand Rapids campuses as the campus community remembers one of its steadfast supporters, Helen DeVos, who died October 18 at age 90.

November 12
Alumnus Tommy Remengesau, president of the Pacific island nation of Palau, tells a crowd in the Kirkhof Center that he succeeded because Grand Valley had the perfect learning environment for him. 


February 2
The Board of Trustees approves funding for a parking ramp that will be constructed east of the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences on Michigan Street. The project is jointly funded by Spectrum Health.

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 17
Bob and Ellen Thompson, from Detroit, increase their investment and expand the Thompson Working Family Scholarship Program; now 125 students will each receive $20,000 over four years, and the number of qualified student recipients will continue to grow.

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.

May 8
Lakers are studying and teaching abroad in high numbers. Grand Valley students earn more nationally competitive Gilman Fellowships than any other institution in Michigan, ranking the university among the top 25 schools in the nation. The university is also a top producer for both student and faculty Fulbright awards.

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.


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.

Student holds the Malaysian flag during a holiday celebration
The Laker Line is unveiled
President Philomena Mantella is installed at GVSU's fifth president
Student signs the beam for the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons

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

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Page last modified September 29, 2020