January 7
President Philomena V. Mantella and other university leaders celebrate the opening of the Battle Creek Regional Outreach Center, a collaborative effort with partners Battle Creek Public Schools and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

February 12
During a news conference with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, President Philomena V. Mantella announces an accelerated program that will help adults complete their bachelor’s degrees and enhance the state’s productivity.

February 29
Grand Valley suspends its study abroad programs in Italy and asks students there to return to the U.S. due to raised travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control. Earlier in the month, programs in China and South Korea were canceled.

March 12
All classes are canceled March 12-15, allowing faculty members to convert classes to remote teaching. On-campus students begin moving to their permanent residences, as instructed by the university’s Incident Management Team, which has monitored the COVID-19 virus since January.

March 26
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tours the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences, which is converted to an alternative care site for Spectrum Health if needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 6
President Philomena V. Mantella leads the first in a series of virtual town halls to connect with the campus community and provide updates about the university’s response to COVID-19. Other members of the Senior Leadership Team join the meeting.


April 16
Grand Valley announces it will be “test optional” for students applying for the fall 2021 class, meaning SAT and ACT standardized tests are not required for admission. University receives $9 million in federal funds for students experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

April 24
University names B. Donta Truss as vice president for Enrollment Development. Lynn “Chick” Blue held the position previously among her roles during her 52-year career at Grand Valley.

More than 3,000 students celebrate commencement virtually, with recorded messages from college deans, President Philomena V. Mantella and Provost Maria Cimitile.

May 28
The university’s Network of Support teams continue to provide assistance to Michigan residents during the pandemic through tutoring, assisting small businesses, supporting vulnerable populations and more activities. President Philomena V. Mantella asked the university in late March to harness their talents and the result was an army of 300 volunteers.

June 3
Grand Valley leaders announced a record conclusion to the Laker Effect campaign, which raised $130 million for students, the most successful campaign in the university’s history.

June 10
Miloš Topic is hired as vice president and the university’s first chief digital officer, with oversight of the university’s information technology portfolio.

July 7
To assist student veterans, Jill Wolfe is selected to serve as Grand Valley's first Military and Veteran Resource manager

August 12
The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announces a suspension of fall sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

August 24
The campus community celebrates the opening of the Laker Line, the enhanced bus service that services the Allendale, Pew and Health campuses.

September 4
About 90 percent of the university's fall semester classes are being offered online or via hybrid, a key factor to decreasing campus density. 

September 23
President Philomena V. Mantella leads efforts to create a youth summit for young learners aimed at pioneering new strategies for higher education.

October 9
Wearing face coverings and shouting “Black lives matter,” members of the Grand Valley community marched through the Allendale Campus in solidarity for racial equality. 

October 26
GVSU turns 60 this year and the campus community will celebrate throughout the academic year by learning about the university’s history from leaders and unsung heroes.

November 11
President Philomena V. Mantella announces a major initiative to support Michigan veterans, the first of its kind in the nation.

December 17
Grand Valley's Meijer Campus in Holland serves as the site where frontline workers receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, through a partnership between the university and Ottawa County Department of Public Health.



January 31
University announces The Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Program: active-duty military and veterans will receive enhanced support to pursue their educational goals at Grand Valley.

February 8
Grand Valley announces a tuition-free program for students from low-income backgrounds who live in six Michigan counties: Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Grand Traverse, Calhoun and Wayne.

February 24
Grand Valley's four living presidents join a historian in a virtual roundtable to discuss the peaceful transition of power under the Constitution, in the wake of the January 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol.


April 8
GVSU and Fort Valley State University leaders sign an agreement in which students from the HBCU in Georgia can earn Grand Valley master's degrees in engineering/computing.


May 1
More than 2,200 students participated in the Laker Graduation Celebration, which allowed new graduates to gather in the Fieldhouse with their supporters and pose for photos with President Philomena V. Mantella.

May 13
A national alliance of six colleges and universities formed to address equity and access in higher education is launched, setting in motion a movement that was seeded at Grand Valley, the convener and organizer of REP4: Rapid Education Prototyping for Change, Learners, Community, Equity.


June 1
The Laker men's outdoor track and field team earns its first NCAA Division II National Championship at Lubbers Stadium.

June 25
Grand Valley's Board of Trustees approves a $5.4 million increase in financial aid, an 8 percent increase over last year. At the same meeting, Provost Maria Cimitile announces her intention to step down from her position.


September 11
The campus community commemorates the 20th anniversary of September 11 through several events, including a home football game during which students write letters of support to veterans.


November 3
More than 400 people attend the dedication ceremony for the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health, the third and flagship building on the university's Health Campus.


December 11
Grand Valley's soccer team wins the NCAA Division II National Championship, the team's seventh national title, with a 3-2 win (two overtimes) over Saint Rose (N.Y.).

December 11
Students, their families and friends and campus leaders gathered in the Fieldhouse Arena to celebrate their achievements during Commencement ceremonies. Nearly 1,400 students walked in the first in-person Commencement since the start of the pandemic.



January 18
Grand Valley leaders expand the Grand Valley Pledge, a tuition-free program, which opens the doors to any qualified Michigan student who wants to enroll at the university.



February 15
President Philomena V. Mantella announces the appointment of Fatma Mili as the next provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs of the university. Mili is the dean of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

February 18
Grand Valley is reaching higher as it sets strategies for the complex and challenging future. The university’s Board of Trustees votes to approve the Reach Higher 2025 strategic plan that President Philomena V. Mantella presents at the board meeting.

March 8
After 18 seasons as head coach of the men’s basketball team, Ric Wesley steps down from his head coaching duties; assistant coach Taylor Johnson will assume the interim head coaching position.

March 21
Grand Valley receives $1 million in federal appropriations to expand its applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI)  to provide new technologies that will better serve the medical innovation industry while expanding West Michigan's economic footprint.

April 7
President Philomena V. Mantella announces that Vice President for University Relations and Secretary to the Board of Trustees Matthew E. McLogan will retire in June. McLogan was hired as vice president by then-President Arend D. Lubbers in 1987, a tenure that makes him the longest continuously serving executive officer in Grand Valley’s history. Stacie Behler, long-time Meijer Inc. executive, is named the university’s new vice president and chief public affairs and communications officer and secretary to the Board of Trustees.

April 12
Two of Michigan’s largest institutions create what they hope will be a model for the nation in addressing the severe talent shortage in nursing. Leaders from BHSH System and Grand Valley announce an innovative partnership with the creation of the BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan Nurse Scholar program.

May 5
For the first time since 2019, more than 110 Grand Valley students are preparing to live and learn overseas during study abroad experiences.

June 13
Grand Valley receives a five-year, $1.4 million federal grant to establish a TRIO program in Detroit designed to create a successful college-going culture for high school students who would be the first in their families to attend college.


July 22
The Midwest Learner Design Summit, part of REP4, draws more than 250 students, one of five regional events taking place with alliance partners. REP4 is a program founded by Grand Valley that taps students to create and prototype new ways to provide more equitable access to higher education.

August 9
Grand Valley celebrates Shape Corp.'s lead gift and its longstanding commitment to engineering students by naming its Innovation Design Center for the tier-one automotive supplier.

August 30
Leaders from Grand Valley and Savannah State University sign an agreement August 30 that provides SSU students with expedited pathways to master's degrees in, eventually, five areas. This marks the fourth agreement Grand Valley has signed with a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), bolstering its HBCU/Hispanic Serving Institution Consortium

September 20
Grand Valley reports across-the-board increases in students new to the university. Nearly 4,000 first-year students enrolled, a 3 percent increase over last year.

October 26
Henry Luttikhuizen, an art historian with deep ties to West Michigan, is the inaugural Scholar-in-Residence for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


November 4
Grand Valley's Board of Trustees approve a new degree program designed for students who completed an associate of applied science (AAS) degree and want to strengthen their academic skills to take the next step in their careers.

November 8
The addition of a satellite clerk's office in Kirkhof Center allows students and Allendale Township residents to vote in the midterm elections.

November 11
President Philomena V. Mantella announces the creation of the Veterans Advance: Progressive Work-Based Learning program to ensure students who are veterans are recognized for the experience they bring.

Four people seated at table with papers in front; two from GVSU and two from Fort Valley State University
Governor Whitmer joins President Mantella and two students at a podium to announce the LEADS program.
The Network of Advisors for Racial Equity meets virtually
A health department worker gives a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a man with his sleeve rolled up.

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

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Page last modified December 15, 2022