Our Donors

Dr. Roy H. Olsson Jr.

Dr. Roy H. Olsson Jr.

In 2008, Dr. Roy Olsson Jr. came to Grand Valley State University to serve as Dean of the College of Health Professions. Upon his first anniversary at Grand Valley he decided it was the right time to provide encouragement and support to students by creating a scholarship.

Dr. William F. Pickard

Dr. William F. Pickard

Dr. William F. Pickard, Ph.D. served on the Board of Trustees at Grand Valley State Colleges (GVSC) for 11 years, and is the namesake of the William Pickard Living Center dedicated in 1989 on the Allendale Campus. Dr. Pickard has been Chief Executive Officer of Regal Plastics Company (manufacturer of plastic parts for automotive and other industries), and was Owner/operator of multiple McDonald’s restaurant franchises since 1985. Dr. Pickard also served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of a number of enterprises including VITEC LLC, Global Automotive Alliance LLC, GrupoAntolin-Wayne, ARD Logistics, LLC, and Commonwealth Regal Industries. Dr. Pickard has 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, focusing on business development, team building, and long-term strategic planning in his various enterprises.

Dr. Pickard is a business and civic leader in the Detroit metropolitan area with extensive experience as both a corporate executive and expert on public policy. He served on a number of business and civic boards, and was also a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, and the Executive Board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He earned his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. He completed his Master’s degree at the University of Michigan and earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Pickard was the first in his family to earn a four-year degree and relied on support from his parents, church, financial aid, and community organizations to help fund his first year of college. This scholarship is being established out of gratitude to those who helped him, and to inspire and encourage first generation students to attend Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Understanding that it takes a supportive community to help an individual achieve their goals, Dr. Pickard hopes to encourage communities and organizations to lend a helping hand and engage the bright minds and leaders of tomorrow.

DV Alpha Scholarship Anonymous Donor

DV Alpha Scholarship Anonymous Donor

This scholarship was established by an anonymous donor to make a Grand Valley State University education accessible to prospective students with the greatest financial obstacles to overcome. This families’ wishes are to assist a few deserving students from Kent County who demonstrate leadership through athletics, extracurricular activities or community service with a four year scholarship. Although all students that meet the criteria will be considered, preference will be given to graduate of Lee High School in Wyoming, Michigan, in accordance with the donor’s wishes.

Ed and Nancy Hanenburg

Ed and Nancy Hanenburg

Born in Lamont, a graduate of Coopersville High School and Grand Rapids Junior College, Edward J. Hanenburg could be called a “citizen-farmer-businessman” to reflect his many roles in community, commerce and his roots in Coopersville. Along with multiple successful business ventures, Ed is active with the Strategic Planning effort for Coopersville Area Public Schools and Coopersville’s Downtown Development Association. Ed was a founding member of the Coopersville Area Foundation and served as president for ten years. Ed has also served on numerous boards in Ottawa County. Born in Grand Rapids, Nancy attended Grand Rapids Christian High School, Calvin College and graduated from the University of Michigan. Nancy has provided volunteer leadership and service to numerous organizations including serving as president of the board of the Tri-Cities United Way and the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. She was honored in Grand Haven for her contributions by being named “Women of the Year.” In 1991, Nancy turned her volunteer efforts into a full-time job when she was appointed the executive director of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. Nancy held that role until her retirement in 2003. During her 12 year tenure she oversaw the growth in the Foundation’s fund from $400,000 to nearly $40 million.

It is fitting that Ed and Nancy initiated a significant scholarship together as they met while working on an excellence in education program for Coopersville Area Public Schools. Ed and Nancy were married in 2001. The Hanenburg family includes Ed’s three children and Nancy’s two children. Ed and Nancy have worked toward the greater good in their communities for decades, and continue to be instrumental in providing leadership to help others through their investment of time and treasure.

Edward Tremba

Edward Tremba

The Tremba scholarship fund was founded in 1975 by the action of the Grand Valley geology faculty. Original contributions to the fund were made by several individual geology faculty, particularly Dr. Tremba, who was on the faculty from 1974 to 1978. After accepting a position in industry, Dr. Tremba challenged the remaining faculty to build the scholarship fund by agreeing to personally match all other faculty contributions. Dr. Tremba’s action and interest, combined with generous gifts by his family, initiated the first significant and rapid growth of the scholarship fund.

The purpose of the scholarship is to support the undergraduate education of highly qualified and professionally promising Grand Valley geology and earth science students.

Elizabeth Ann Eccard

Elizabeth Ann Eccard

Established by Elizabeth Ann Eccard in memory of her parents Joseph Gideon and Dorothy Mary Eccard. I am establishing this endowed scholarship at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in their memory and honor. I was raised by them in the inner city of Detroit in the 1940’s and 1950’s. They were plain folks of little formal education or training. However, despite my father’s disability and lack of formal training he worked very hard to always provide to me, my sister, my step brother, and my mother the funds for us to live simply. Despite the many hours he worked he always tied to show love and affection to us. My mother was never in good health, but she did her best to be a good mother and raise us up in the church. They were married for 42 years.

From this upbringing I learned a certain strong determination to work to have a better life than was offered to me by my parents.

Elizabeth Ann Eccard is a retired employee of The Ford Motor Company who spent 30 years with the company. My strong determination with only a high school education led me to work several years to be hired and employed by The Ford Motor Company. I always appreciated the benefits that i received from the company, and this led me to achieve the dream of the “better life” of which i had dreamed, when i was growing up.

This has all keyed in my mind, the thought of, if i had, had the opportunity, or the idea of going to college, or higher training beyond high school, I might have been able to do more. With my determination perhaps this would have been so.

Thus, I am establishing this endowed scholarship fund to help others, who maybe are in a like situation in life that I was.

Elizabeth Platek

Elizabeth Platek '89

Elizabeth Platek ’89 is a dedicated alumna due to the profound impact that Grand Valley State University had on her life. Through her education, she was able to transition to adulthood, create lifelong friendships, and obtain a sound educational foundation. Her desire is to help others benefit from the same experience at this great institution.

Emily Jean McFadden

Emily Jean McFadden

Emily Jean McFadden, a professor in the Grand Valley State University School of Social Work for thirteen years, established this scholarship with the intent of benefiting students who are pursing a Master in Social Work degree and plan to work with children.

Professor McFadden taught for more than 28 years and dedicated her life’s work to child welfare, and in that capacity held many professional roles including caseworker, therapist, grant director, program manger, and researcher. She authored several books, many training manuals, and numerous chapters and articles. Some of her work has been translated into languages such as Norwegian, Hungarian, French, and Zulu.


The donor, Emily Jean McFadden, hopes that this scholarship will prepare competent and committed social workers who upon graduation will work toward international understanding of the well being of children in the world. Jean continues her strong commitment to children, social justice, and peace by establishing this scholarship to empower students to reach their full potential.

Enrico and Esther Sobong

Enrico and Esther Sobong

Enrico Sobong, medical oncologist, and Esther Sobong, pathologist, are physicians who have been practicing in Grand Rapids since 1980. They received their medical education in the Philippines, where they were born and raised. They came to the USA in 1974 to pursue post-graduate training in their respective specialties. As an expression of their gratitude for the opportunities they have enjoyed in this country in general, and western Michigan, a scholarship was established on September 26, 2003.

Eric Maino

Eric Maino

Eric Maino ’05 credits his career success to the relationships he established with professionals in the computing and information technology industry. As a professional at Microsoft Corporation, Eric would like to encourage and acknowledge students who exhibit exceptional relational skills in addition to the knowledge acquired in their educational pursuits.

Esther R. Padnos

Esther R. Padnos

Esther and Seymour Padnos are lifelong residents of West Michigan. They have been strong advocates of community progress and higher education, providing major support for engineering and science at Grand Valley State University.

Recognizing the national shortage of nurses and its impact on health care, Esther has come to appreciate how fortunate the residents of West Michigan are to have a cadre of well qualified, caring and dedicated nurses. Esther is aware of the hardships faced by many of the students enrolled in the accelerated nursing program at Kirkhof College of Nursing. She knows that many of these students have young families, and that many do not qualify for student aid. But, Esther feels that the sacrifices that these students are willing to make are impressive indicators of their dedication to the profession and the likelihood of their success as students and nurses. She believes that their dedication and maturity are assets that should be acknowledged and supported.

Because of her wish to see the continued excellence of nursing in West Michigan, and her desire to support these deserving future nurses, Esther established this scholarship to support students in Grand Valley’s accelerated nursing program.

Evan

Evan '07, '14 and Stephanie (Key) Wildey '08

Evan ’07, ’14 and Stephanie (Key) Wildey ’08 and established the Wildey Family Scholarship in gratitude for nursing professionals. Through the birth of both of their daughters, Georgia (stillborn) and Evalyn, they have seen some of the darkest moments and the most joyous moments that nurses face on a daily basis. The Wildeys want to support nurses as they take on such a physically and emotionally challenging profession.

Faculty and Staff from Statistics Department

Faculty and Staff from Statistics Department

The funds for this scholarship have been contributed directly by faculty and staff in the Statistics Department, as well as from others who support the students majoring in Statistics at GVSU.

Faculty and Staff of Writing Department

Faculty and Staff of Writing Department

The funds for this scholarship have been contributed directly by faculty and staff in the Writing Department as well as from others who support the students majoring in Writing at GVSU.

Faculty, Family, and Friends in Memory of Alex Aninos (1992-2014)

Faculty, Family, and Friends in Memory of Alex Aninos (1992-2014)

The Alex Aninos Music Education Scholarship was established by faculty, family, and friends in memory of Alex Aninos (1992-2014). Alex was a music education student who was completing his final year at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). He was a member of the saxophone studio, the indoor box lacrosse club, the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha, and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Alex is remembered in the Department of Music and Dance as someone who embodied persistence and improved his work ethic to show incredible potential and great promise as a musician, educator, and person. Alex impacted the lives of many people in unique ways and will always be remembered as an energetic force and a positive agent of change.

Faculty, Family and Friends in memory of Shelby Fazio

Faculty, Family and Friends in memory of Shelby Fazio '13

Shelby Fazio graduated from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in 2013 with a degree in Biology with a goal of one day working as a conservation biologist. During her high school and college years Shelby dedicated much of her time to helping others through her volunteer work and service projects as a member of the Lapeer West High School Key Club and with GVSU Circle K. She continued her passion of helping others after graduation wile working at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Shelby believed that life was what you made it and sought out any opportunity for adventure. Shelby and her beloved dog, Azaia, were murdered on October 26, 2014. She touched many people in her short life and left a positive mark on this world that will not soon be forgotten.

Faculty in the Physical Therapy Department of Grand Valley State University

Faculty in the Physical Therapy Department of Grand Valley State University

The Physical Therapy Urban Schools Endowed Scholarship was established by faculty in the Physical Therapy Department of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to benefit physical therapy students who are graduates of urban public high schools with the goal to increase diversity in the field.

Faculty members of the Grand Valley State University English Department

Faculty members of the Grand Valley State University English Department

The faculty members of the GVSU English Department created a scholarship to assist and encourage English majors with the cost of a Grand Valley education.

Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends of Campus Recreation

Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends of Campus Recreation

The Recreation Leadership Scholarship was established by faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Campus Recreation to advance their mission of enhancing the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) experience through co-curricular learning, development, and recreational opportunities that promote health, well-being, and academic success. Their staff consists of four full-time professionals, one graduate assistant, and approximately 150 undergraduate student employees.

Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends of the Campus Recreation

Faculty, Staff, Alumni and Friends of the Campus Recreation

The Recreation Leadership Scholarship was established by faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Campus Recreation to advance their mission of enhancing the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) experience through co-curricular learning, development, and recreational opportunities that promote health, well-being, and academic success. Their staff consists of four full-time professionals, one graduate assistant and approximately 150 undergraduate student employees.

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni to honor Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain

Faculty, Staff, and Alumni to honor Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain

The Jeff (“Dr. J”) Chamberlain Meijer Honors College Alumni Scholarship was established by faculty, staff, and alumni to honor Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain for his service as the director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Jeff served for 10 years as Director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College. This scholarship was established to continue his legacy of building and strengthening our distinguished honors program at GVSU. This scholarship will promote diversity and assist students in the Frederik Meijer Honors College.

Faculty, Staff, and Friends of the College of Education

Faculty, Staff, and Friends of the College of Education

Established by faculty, staff, and friends of the College of Education who understand how critical a student’s performance in field practice is for securing full-time teaching positions. This scholarship seeks to alleviate financial pressures to ensure that students are able to give their best effort and create new opportunities for the next generation of teachers and the children they educate.

The Future Teacher Scholarship Endowment seeks to financially support students who are finishing their undergraduate program in Education and who will be enrolling in their Student Teaching experience. Current and former faculty and staff in the College of Education, alumni, as well as family and friends of future educators, are encouraged to support this fund.

Faite R-P. Mack

Faite R-P. Mack

Dr. Faite R-P Mack, the first African American full professor at Grand Valley State University, is a school psychologist and graduate professor in Education. He began teaching at Grand Valley in 1972. The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Mack has also received multiple awards including Fulbright Professor at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana (West Africa), the Glenn A. Niemeyer Outstanding Faculty Award, and Distinguished Faculty Member by the Michigan Association of Governing Boards. He is considered one of the founders of the college of Education at Grand Valley. Since 1997, he has been spending his summers in the Issan region of Thailand as part of his work for the Education Humanity International Foundation he started for orphaned and abandoned children.

Dr. Thomas Jackson, an educator for more than 42 years, has taught in elementary and high schools and has served as an elementary principal, an assistant high school principal, President of the Grand Rapids Board of Education, and was past President of the Michigan Chapter of the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP). He is committed to helping African American students become teachers.

Family and Friends of Brian and Susan Brooks

Family and Friends of Brian and Susan Brooks

In loving memory of Brian and Susan Brooks, their children, family, and friends would like to introduce the Paul Brian and Margaret Susan Brooks Memorial Scholarship fund. Susan and Brian Brooks were hard-working, honest people. A lifetime of personal sacrifice allowed them to give to their children something they never had themselves, a college education. Both Susan and Brian understood the benefits of a bachelor’s degree. Education stimulates the mind, unlocks potential, and secures freedom. Education is the start of something wonderful and leads to the unimaginable. Their three children, graduates of Richmond High School and Grand Valley State University, have been blessed with such a gift. May their memory live forever with the perpetual gift of knowledge. May each recipient cherish this gift and make the most of what life has to offer.

James Patrick ‘91 and Michele Brooks
Paul Jeffrey ‘89 and Tina ‘89 Brooks
Michael Brian ‘87 and Christina Brooks

Family and Friends of Coach Jim

Family and Friends of Coach Jim '83 and Diane '82, '93 Meerman

The Jim ’83 & Diane ’82, ’93 Meerman Coopersville Scholarship was established by family and friends of Coach Jim ’83 and Diane ’82, ’93 Meerman, to continue their legacy and support of Coopersville Area Public Schools and Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Jim and Diane met at Coopersville High School, and in their thirty-four years together, they studied and graduated from GVSU and began their careers in education and athletics in the Coopersville Area Public Schools. Jim and Diane instilled their passion for education and community in their four children and six grandchildren.

Jim departed this earth in 2015 and leaves a legacy as a successful high school football coach at Coopersville High School and former GVSU football player. Jim was a running back at GVSU from 1977-1980. He then went on to coach for 30 years, 25 as head coach at Coopersville High School, winning 218 games. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. Diane Meerman continues to serve in the Coopersville Area Public Schools, and in an effort of continued support, they are establishing this scholarship to assist students from Coopersville Schools with the costs of their education at GVSU.

Family and Friends of Coach Jim Meerman

Family and Friends of Coach Jim Meerman '82

The Coach Jim Meerman Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established by family and friends of Coach Jim Meerman ’82, to continue his memory and legacy of a successful high school football coach at Coopersville High School and former Grand Valley State University (GVSU) football player. Jim was a running back at GVSU from 1977-1980. He then went on to coach for 30 years, 25 as head coach at Coopersville High School, winning 218 games. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. This scholarship will benefit student-athletes with completing their degree at GVSU.

Family and Friends of Corky Meinecke

Family and Friends of Corky Meinecke

The Corky Meinecke Memorial Scholarship honors the memory of Corky, GVSU ’77, a sportswriter whose pen graced the pages of the Grand Rapids Press, Bay city Times, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press before he died in 1997 of cancer. As a Grand Valley student Corky wrote for the Lanthorn and worked at the Grand Valley State Sports Information Department.

Family and Friends of Frederick A. Bell

Family and Friends of Frederick A. Bell

Frederick A. Bell served as CEO of Steelcase from 1985-1988, and he was a supporter of Grand Valley’s Seidman College of Business. He retired from Steelcase Inc. in February 1988. Fred was active in the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA). He also served on the advisory committees of the Faculties Management Program and Seidman School of Business, both at GVSU.

According to his family, Mr. Bell “loved business and had a very international perspective, long before globalization became a popular buzzword. He would be pleased to know the scholarship continues to move forward.”

Family and Friends of Hugo Salazar

Family and Friends of Hugo Salazar

This scholarship was created in 2009 by family, friends, and colleagues in memory of Hugo Salazar and his 30 years of service at Grand Valley State University. Hugo joined Grand Valley in 1965 as a Spanish professor and was the university’s first baseball coach. Later, his wife Laura joined Grand Valley’s communication department where she taught theater for 33 years. Hugo began his life in Alma, Michigan where he graduated from Alma High School. After serving two years in the US Army Corp of Engineers, he earned his BA degree from Alma College, and later an MA degree from Michigan State University. His teaching career began at Coleman High School and later at Avondale High School in Michigan, teaching Spanish and coaching football. As rigorous as he was as a teacher, Professor Salazar wanted his students to love Spanish lands and literature as much as he did. He packed his classes with drills, tests, drama, song, jokes, food, and travel.

Family and Friends of Laura Sakoski

Family and Friends of Laura Sakoski

The Laura Sakoski scholarship seeks to honor the spirit that she displayed in both her life and in her journey with cancer. This award provides financial assistance to students who have received a diagnosis of cancer at some point in their lives.

Laura was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 7, 1985. She attended Beckwith Elementary School and City High School. Laura was diagnosed in April of 2002 with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 16 1/2, while she was a junior at City High School in Grand Rapids. Her favorite subjects were Math, Art, and History, in which she excelled. She was involved in swimming and soccer, which she enjoyed tremendously. Laura went on to study at Grand Rapids Community College.

Laura enjoyed watching sports – University of Michigan football, the Detroit Pistons, the Detroit Tigers, Michigan State University basketball and much more. She also enjoyed scrapbooking, camping, shopping and traveling; particularly to New York, where she went on her Make-a-Wish trip in the spring of 2004.

At the time of her death, September 1, 2006, Laura was a sophomore at Grand Valley State University majoring in social work.

Laura could not start college at the same time as her friends. She endured many treatments of chemotherapy and had two bone marrow transplants. She had one in the summer of 2003. She relapsed in December of that year. She had her second transplant in the summer of 2004, after which she remained cancer free until her unexpected death.

Laura endured terrible stress, sadness and worry about financial expenses during her battle with cancer. She fought for four and a half years and never gave up her goal of attending college. Receiving a quality education was crucial for Laura if she wanted to become a success. She felt college was the “next step” in becoming an adult; experiencing college as a whole. It was what shapes you.

Laura was a hard worker and believed that the best rewards come to those who patiently work hard. She believed that what does not break us will only make us stronger. Things that we are afraid of are going to show us what we are made of in the end. Laura also felt dealing with cancer was no walk in the park, but that she would be a much stronger person in the end.

This scholarship in Laura’s memory is to honor her spirit and determination by assisting others who have faced the challenges of dealing with cancer.