Our Donors

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.

Family and Friends of Margaret Proctor

Family and Friends of Margaret Proctor

Dr. Margaret Proctor, a longtime GVSU communications professor, died December 28, 2000 in her Holland home following a lengthy battle with leukemia. Proctor who was known outside of the university as Margaret Proctor Cohen was an associate professor of communications. She began teaching at GVSU in 1974, first at William James College, and then, beginning in 1983, as a member of the School of Communications. Her interests were broad and intense ranging from a deep love for the literature, language, food, and wine of France to a fascination with the role of the media in the O.J. Simpson case. Above all, however, she had a passion for teaching creative writing and for getting students to find and use their own individual voices.

Proctor was born in Schenectady, NY, to Lewis B. and Elizabeth Proctor. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Wellesley College, master’s degree from Harvard University and her doctorate degree at the University of Chicago. She is survived by her husband, Bill: children, Alan, Elizabeth, and Miriam (Mia); and a brother, Lewis Buddy Proctor of Penngrove, Calif.

The Margaret Proctor School of Communications Scholarship honors Dr. Proctor’s talent and skill. The scholarship was initiated by her colleagues in the School of Communications and many people including faculty, staff, alumni and her family have made the endowed scholarship possible. The scholarship will benefit students enrolled within the School of Communications who have a passion for writing a speak in a vivid, direct and unique voice.

Family and Friends of Shawn Wiersma

Family and Friends of Shawn Wiersma

On September 6, 2004, Shawn Wiersma died in a tragic auto crash. Shawn is remembered for his service to the Holland Police Department through the City Attorney’s Office, a client of the Cunningham Dalman P.C. law office where he practiced. He developed many friendships within the police department and was highly respected for his ethics and character by clients and colleagues alike. In addition, Shawn is remembered for his service as an instructor in the Grand Valley State University School of Criminal Justice. He was highly respected by students and colleagues and loved his teaching experience which was reflected in his close ties with his students. His commitment to education was unmatched.

Shawn in remembered for all the good he did and all the people he touched in his shortened life. To memorialize him in perpetuity, an endowed scholarship in Shawn’s name has been established at Grand Valley State University, his alma mater. This scholarship will be given annually to an entering senior student in the School of Criminal Justice who plans to enter the police or law professions.

Family and Friends of Todd Jager

Family and Friends of Todd Jager

To honor the memory of Todd Jager, Grand Valley’s Head Athletic Trainer for 10 years, family and friends have created the Todd Jager Memorial Graduate Athletic Training Student Award Endowment fund. It was created in spring of 2008 to assist graduate students pursuing a career in college athletic training. Todd spent his college and professional years in college athletics and recognized the significant dedication and determination involved to pursue this profession. It is fitting that Todd’s battle with brain cancer required similar dedication and determination to continue to do what he loved, which was to provide medical care for college athletes.

This scholarship will provide financial support to outstanding graduate students working as a graduate assistant in Grand Valley State University’s Intercollegiate Athletic Department who demonstrate the values, character and perseverance that Todd worked so hard to embody. The recipient will have a Bachelors of Science in Athletic Training or similar major and be pursuing an athletic training career in college athletics, with preference given to students with involvement in campus ministry.

Family and Friends of Warren Reynolds

Family and Friends of Warren Reynolds

The Warren Reynolds Scholarship was established in 1999 and announced in conjunction with WOOD-TV’s 50 year anniversary. Warren’s 35 year career in broadcasting was recognized as unprecedented in longevity and unequaled in reputation. His integrity, professionalism, and unfailing courtesy represent the best that broadcasting has to offer. These qualities are the hallmarks of his reputation and a true reflection of his character. Warren Reynolds scholars will extend his legacy to America’s newsrooms for many generations to come.

Family, friends and colleagues in loving memory of Frederick A. Chapman

Family, friends and colleagues in loving memory of Frederick A. Chapman

The Frederick A. Chapman Memorial Public Relations Scholarship was established by Family, friends and colleagues in loving memory of Frederick A. Chapman. Fred was an Air Force Veteran during Korean War, who had many careers and passions in life. Fred was a public relations executive and retired as press information manager from Mercedes-Benz of North America in Montvale, NJ, after 36 years in corporate advertising and public relations. He then returned to West Michigan and began his teaching career as an associate professor of communications at Grand Valley State University where he served for ten years. Chapman was accredited and a Fellow in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and held many leadership positions at the National and Chapter levels. Fred’s passion for community was a common thread that included serving as a trustee of Oakland Community College, vice chairman of the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee in New Hampshire where he was an elected state representative, Supervisor of Orleans Township, commissioner on the Ionia County Road Commission, Rotary Club, Ionia Free Fair President and board member, and also active in his church, SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Parish in Ionia, where he was chairman of the Financial Council and chairman of the Pastoral Council.

Family, Friends and Colleagues of Frances Anne Kelleher

Family, Friends and Colleagues of Frances Anne Kelleher

Established in loving memory of Frances Anne Kelleher, by colleagues, friends and her spouse Prof. Susan Swartzlander. Professor Frances Anne Kelleher was a wonderful scholar, teacher, mentor and leader who taught with passion for 26 years at Grand Valley State University. She was an assistant Dean, Chair of the History Department, and a caring colleague. She fought for women’s rights on campus and equality on many fronts. She was a popular professor who taught students to look deeper within to succeed in their courses and lives. She took the time to truly listen to colleagues and students and learned from them, as they learned from her. She was an inspiration to all.

The purpose of the scholarship is to assist students studying history or social studies with the costs of studying abroad to enhance their education at GVSU. Professor Kelleher’s time as a student studying in Paris, France, represented a turning point for her personality and as a scholar that greatly enriched her life from that point forward. Throughout her career, she encouraged students to study abroad because of her own experience as a student studying abroad.

Family, Friends and Colleagues of Richard Hodsdon Sr.

Family, Friends and Colleagues of Richard Hodsdon Sr.

The Dick Nelson Memorial Sports Broadcasting Scholarship was established in memory of Richard Hodsdon Sr.- better recognized by his broadcasting name- Dick Nelson. He was the “Voice of Laker Football” for 37 years and will be fondly remembered as an important part of Grand Valley State University’s (GVSU) success in athletics and a special member of the Laker family. He and his wife Lori had a deep and special bond with Laker athletics and took tremendous pride in their association with the University.

What began in 1977 as Dick helping GVSU get its radio broadcast off the ground ended up in decades of memories including his signature “Touchdown Lakers!” call. Dick never tried to tone down his loyalty to GVSU and wore his critics “homer” status with pride and unabashed enthusiasm.

Dick was prolific during his career with multiple TV and radio programs both locally and nationally but always took a special pride in the art of radio. He felt it took a unique talent to describe a picture to an audience solely by using ones voice verses complimenting an image on television.

Finance Department Advisory Board

Finance Department Advisory Board

Established by the Finance Department Advisory Board in the Seidman College of Business. In 2007 the advisory board was formed to establish an ongoing partnership with alumni, faculty, and students to discuss current issues in education and the finance professions.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc.

Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. (FTCH) knows how important it is to have learning environments that are carefully designed to grow the next generation of talented occupational safety and health professionals. FTCH is pleased to have worked with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on the design of laboratories and classrooms that provide the best in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, and is honored to invest in talented students pursuing careers in Occupational Safety and Heath Management as well Engineering through their two endowed scholarships.

Foreign Language Alumni

Foreign Language Alumni

This scholarship was established in 1986 by Foreign Language alumni in tribute to Drs. Mary and Wilhelm (Bill) Seeger (pictured to the right). Bill Seeger served 40 years, starting as an early member of the faculty and later serving as chair of the Modern Languages and Literature Department. Mary was also among the early faculty when she joined Grand Valley in 1965 as a professor of German. She retired as Dean of Advising Resources and Special Programs. As Dean, Mary continued teaching one course each semester until retirement, and launched the faculty and staff annual giving program where she continued to serve in a leadership role after retiring.

This scholarship is intended to fund foreign language scholarships at GVSU.

Frances Bell

Frances Bell

The Bell Family Theatre Scholarship was established by Frances Bell to encourage students to continue honing their craft and to never lose their enthusiasm for the theatre. Frances is the proud parent of a GVSU theatre student and wants to make sure that future students have the same opportunities and experiences that her daughter has enjoyed.

Frederick A. Bogaert

Frederick A. Bogaert

Frederick A. Bogaert was raised in Marshalltown, Iowa where his father owned/operated a petroleum distributorship, supplying service stations and heating oil. In high school, he discovered a love of theatre where he contributed to many productions. Upon graduation he attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he majored in theatre arts. With a fraternity brother who was also a thespian, he did a tour throughout the Midwest and southern Gulf States, presenting a program called “Comedy through the Ages” at colleges and universities in the summer of 1951. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and was sent to a large military hospital in Stuttgart, Germany, where he was assigned to programs with Army Entertainment Services and the Red Cross. After the Army, rather than pursuing a theatrical career, Fred married and joined his father in the family business for a short time in Iowa, where he also worked in community theatre.

In 1962, he joined 3M Company and started a successful 26 year career in printing and graphic arts product sales. Fred’s work in management positions with 3M moved him and his wife Julie, who was originally from Kalamazoo, to Cincinnati and Chicago and eventually he ended his sales career in Grand Rapids where they then retired. Once in Grand Rapids, Fred became very active in community theatre. He served in board positions as well as playing a large number of parts, including significant roles, at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Circle Theatre, and others. He earned the Mitchell Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. An avid interest in politics and his neighbor, Ralph Hauenstein, brought Fred to Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. This introduction was the start of a long and broadening relationship with the University.

Friends and Business Associates of Richard Giles

Friends and Business Associates of Richard Giles

The scholarship fund was established by friends and business associates of Richard Giles. This fund is to assist deserving full-time graduate students in accounting who show promise of making outstanding contributions. This is the oldest business scholarship at Grand Valley State University and has helped establish a tradition of philanthropy that thrives today.

Friends and Colleagues of Dr. Marvin G. Devries

Friends and Colleagues of Dr. Marvin G. Devries

Dr. Marvin “Marv” G. DeVries was one of the first six founding Pioneer faculty members of Grand Valley State University. He was key to the introduction of business courses at Grand Valley. Through Bill Seidman’s continuing efforts and generosity, the Seidman College of Business was created in 1973, where Marv served as founding and longest serving Dean from 1973 to 1988.

Dr. DeVries cared about all, and mentored many, business students during his 15-year tenure as Dean of the Seidman College of Business. Today, Grand Valley continues to reap the benefits of those relationships that Marv forged and we are grateful for his contributions to the University and to the Seidman College.

Friends and Colleagues of Kurt Kimball

Friends and Colleagues of Kurt Kimball

Established to honor Kurt F. Kimball’s 22 years as the longest serving city manager of Grand Rapids. Kurt has worked for Grand Rapids for more than 35 years and has lived here for more than 54; during that time, he has mentored many Grand Valley students. In celebration of his retirement, contributions from Kurt’s friends and colleagues made this scholarship possible.

Kurt hopes that this scholarship will attract professionals to careers in public management and local government. This scholarship will provide support for graduate students in the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration pursuing careers in local government.

Friends and Family in memory of Brian Haskin

Friends and Family in memory of Brian Haskin

The Brian Haskin Memorial Scholarship was established by friends and family in memory of Brian Haskin. Brian was a beloved member of the Grand Valley State University community and a part of many student organizations where he had an impact on all those he interacted with.

Friends and Family of Joyce Hecht

Friends and Family of Joyce Hecht

Named in recognition of her contributions to Grand Valley State University as its first Director of Development, the founding Executive Director of the Grand Valley University Foundation, and a gracious and effective ambassador of the University’s needs, the Joyce F. Hecht Distinguished Scholarship in Philanthropy is a permanent endowed fund in support of University students who aspire to help non-profit organization in all the ways that Joyce has so capably helped Grand Valley State University.

Friends and Family of Robert L Chamberlain

Friends and Family of Robert L Chamberlain

In 1989 the Grand Valley English Department established an endowed fund in memory of Robert L Chamberlain. Robert Chamberlain, a Pioneer Faculty Member at Grand Valley, Professor of English and past chair of the Department of English and of the Division of Arts and Humanities, died in 1980. Those wishing to remember Bob helped to establish this scholarship for worthy English majors.

Friends of Howard and Rose Stein

Friends of Howard and Rose Stein

The purpose of this scholarship fund is to recognize the long and outstanding service of Howard and Rose Stein to Grand Valley State University. Howard Stein served as a faculty member in the Biology Department, rising to the rank of Full Professor, from 1965 until 1997. After retirement, as Professor Emeritus, he continued to serve the University. Howard served the University at every level. In his early years he was a faculty leader ultimately serving as Chair of the All Faculty Senate. He helped establish the Science Olympiad, the Academic Resource Center, the Research and Development Center, the precursor of the Regional Science and Math Center, helped secure the first Eisenhower Grants for Teaching, as well as many other initiatives. He received the Distinguished Faculty Member Award from the Michigan Association of Governing Boards of State Colleges and Universities in 1988. He served the Biology Department with great dedication at all levels including Department Chair and was particularly devoted to providing students with experience in the real world activities of laboratory research.

This scholarship fund is established by his friends and colleagues in grateful recognition of Howard’s service, leadership, and friendship for so many years. It also recognizes the valuable contribution of his wife, Rose Stein, who besides supporting Howard is also a colleague and friend to us. Among many other activities, Rose was active in the early days of Grand Valley Women, which involved faculty wives and female professional staff.

This scholarship is designed to aid students in the two areas that Howard was passionately involved in, teacher education and experimental science. He has promoted the education of teachers at all levels: nationally in the Office of Biological Education of the American Institute of Biological Sciences; in the Michigan Science Teachers Association where among other activities in the Grand Rapids area. He was the founder of the GVSU Science and Mathematics Update Letter and editor from 1979-2002. The promotion of inquiry based sciences activities has been his focus. Within the Biology Department he has promoted the same ideas by providing students an opportunity to design and carry out real experiments as part of their course work. The innovative structure of the Cell Biology course was inspired by him.

Friends of the Grand Rapids Symphony

Friends of the Grand Rapids Symphony

This scholarship was was established by Friends of the Grand Rapids Symphony and Grand Valley State University to encourage non-music majors who played in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony (GRYS) to join the GVSU Symphony Orchestra to continue to develop their musical talents and perform while in college. Exercising their musical skills will allow them to reap the benefits that playing an instrument has on academic achievement and success in whatever field they pursue.

Gail and Scott Haebich

Gail and Scott Haebich

Alma L. Simpson was a 1948 graduate of Indiana University School for Nurses. Throughout her nursing career she enjoyed working at Riley Hospital for Children (Indianapolis, Indiana), Denver General Hospital (Denver, Colorado), Logansport State Hospital and Logansport Memorial Hospital (both in Logansport, Indiana). Helping others to obtain their goals in the field of nursing would have given her great pleasure, therefore, this scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Alma L. Simpson by her daughter and son-in-law, Gail and Scott Haebich.

General Dynamics Land Systems

General Dynamics Land Systems

The General Dynamics Land Systems Engineering Scholarship is given to qualified GVSU students who are pursuing a degree in engineering. This scholarship was initiated and endowed by General Dynamics Land Systems, headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which designs and builds armored vehicles and subsystems for the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, and international customers.

General Dynamics Land Systems was formed in 1982 when General Dynamics Corporation acquired Chrysler Corporation’s defense operations. Land Systems has approximately 5,000 employees in ten states and recorded revenue of $1.2 billion in 2001.

Engineering, research and technology innovation continue to keep General Dynamics Land Systems at the forefront of the U.S. Army’s and U.S. Marine Corps armored force modernization programs.

General Dynamics Land Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. The company has more than 54,000 employees worldwide and anticipates 2002 revenues of $14 billion. The company has leading market positions in business aviation, information systems, marine systems, and land and amphibious systems.

Gerard Kwiatkowski

Gerard Kwiatkowski

Gerard Kwiatkowski earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Mathematics and Spanish from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in 2008. Through his coursework, serving on the Student Senate, working as a Resident Assistant and in the Math Tutoring Center, Gerard developed the skills needed to excel as a secondary mathematics teacher.The primary goal of this scholarship is to enable recipients to take full advantage of the many invaluable opportunities afforded them while at GVSU and to make a positive impact on their community.

Gilbert and Patricia Davis

Gilbert and Patricia Davis

The Davises have deep connections to Grand Valley, which include Dr. Davis’ long tenure as professor in the English Department, establishing a merit scholarship for English majors (the first at Grand Valley to include part-time students), and currently serving on the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival Committee.

Gilbert and Patricia K Davis Scholarship for Full or Part time English Majors was established to recognize the scholastic achievement of outstanding juniors and seniors majoring in English, who may be either part-time or full-time students, seeking an undergraduate degree at GVSU. It is meant to recognize and encourage academic excellence and to assist in financing education.

They also established Gilbert R. and Patricia K. Davis Theatre Scholarship: Remembering Shakespeare to assist and encourage talented Theatre majors at GVSU.


In addition to the English and Theatre scholarship, Gilbert and Patricia created the Gilbert R. and Patricia K. Davis Merit Humanities Scholarship to recognize scholastic achievement in any of the following majors within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Art and Design, Classics, English, History, Modern Languages and Literature, Music, Philosophy, or Theatre.

Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer

Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer

This scholarship honors Glenn and Betty Niemeyer, pioneers in the development of Grand Valley State University. Dr. Glenn A. Niemeyer began his Grand Valley career as a history professor in 1963. Until he retired in 2002, Dr. Niemeyer advanced through various administrative posts including Dean of The College of Arts and Sciences, Vice President of the Colleges, and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost. He was very influential in the evolution of the University while maintaining a loyal interest and love for history, his academic home. Betty Niemeyer was also active with University affairs as she not only supported Glenn but also was involved in departmental and University events and other volunteer duties.

Grand Forum

Grand Forum

Grand Valley State University holds that education is a lifelong process, and should be accessible to anyone regardless of age, work schedule or family responsibilities. The Continuing Education Division coordinates programs and a variety of student services, at regional locations, to meet a wide range of needs throughout the west Michigan region.

In addition, the Continuing Education Division includes Grand Forum, a membership program for those over 55 years of age. Grand Forum provides programming of interest to seniors. Over its short history, the membership of Grand Forum has made significant contributions to the Grand Forum Endowment that is administered by the university. The funds spun off by this endowment are available to Grand Forum to apply to the furtherance of its mission of promoting continuing education.

Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Forensics Unit

Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Forensics Unit

Established by the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) Forensics Unit in memory of Kyle Grant. Kyle was a 2012 graduate of grand Valley State University (GVSU) with a bachelors of science in biomedical science. Kyle began working in the Forensics Unit of the GRPD as an intern in January 2012 before being hired as a permanent crime scene technician in 2013. He was promoted to latent print technician on January 1, 2018. Kyle passed away January 3, 2018 after being involved in an automobile accident in Ottawa County.

Kyle served the GRPD and the citizens of the city with the highest qualify of diligence, service, and pride, He was an exceptional crime scene technician whose work was critical to the arrest and prosecution of countless crimes including homicides, armed robberies, home invasions, and arsons.

Kyle was a phenomenal photographer and had excellent analytical skills. He always demonstrated a positive attitude, initiative, and dependability. His thorough and detailed work enabled him to be assigned as a field training officer for newly hired crime scene technicians. He was an outstanding coworker and his work truly made a difference in this community.

Kyle extensively prepared himself for crime scene certification and was preparing for his very recent promotion with intense reading and meticulous note taking. We can think of no way better to honor Kyle’s memory than creating a memorial scholarship for a GVSU student that shares his enthusiasm for forensic science.

Grand Valley

Grand Valley

This scholarship is established in honor of Gayle Davis. She was appointed Provost in 2002 and became the second person in Grand Valley history to hold the position. During her tenure, she shepherded a major reorganization of the University’s colleges, as well as oversaw major growth in enrollment and significant success in retaining students through graduation.

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley Lanthorn is the student-run newspaper at Grand Valley State University. The intention of this scholarship is to reward exceptional individual efforts that advance the editorial and business missions of the Grand Valley Lanthorn.