Our Donors

Jean Martin

Jean Martin

Jean Martin, PhD, RN, CPNP has been with Grand Valley for more than 15 years and currently is an Associate Professor in the Kirkhof College of Nursing. She received a B.S.N. from the University of Michigan in 1968, a Master of Science in Maternal-Child Nursing from Boston University in 1969, a Post Master’s Certificate (1990) and a D.N.Sc. (1993) from Rush University. Jean is active in several local and national professional nursing organizations and is passionate about health promotion with children and adolescents.

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Jeanne Arnold

Jeanne Arnold

Dr. Arnold is the Vice President for Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley State University. The First Generation Urban Schools Scholarship was established by her to provide opportunities for students who are the first in their families to attend college and may receive little encouragement and financial support to attend.

First generation students are at a disadvantage when preparing to attend college; and may not have access to college graduates to help navigate them through the financial aid and application process. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, high school students whose parents never enrolled in college are less likely to enroll in postsecondary education. The First Generation Urban Schools Scholarship will provide financial assistance and encourage students to utilize resources and networks on campus that will help them achieve their goals.

Jim and Donna Brooks

Jim and Donna Brooks

Mr. and Mrs. Jim and Donna Brooks of Holland, MI, seek to provide financial aid to minority students at Grand Valley State University through The Brooks Family Minority Scholarship. Donna Brooks serves as a Trustee of the University. At the establishment of this scholarship, the Brooks’ described their philanthropic initiative as follows: “The donors wish to express their belief to recipients that true happiness and fulfillment in life are achieved not through the material possessions one amasses, but through the sharing of one’s talents and blessings to help others. This scholarship is awarded in this spirit with the hope that the recipients will use their education and a portion of their blessings to positively impact the lives of others.”

Jim and Ginger Jurries

Jim and Ginger Jurries

This scholarship was created by Jim and Ginger Jurries of Holland, Michigan. The Jurries Family Scholarship was created for qualified candidates who are working toward either a business or a writing degree.

Jim, a graduate of Hope College, has been a leader in the business community, and Ginger has been a writer since her Hope College days when she majored in English.

The Jurries are mindful that God is the giver of all they have been blessed to receive and it is their desire and privilege to be channels of God’s goodness and resources to the causes that are meaningful to them. Education, they believe, is the pathway to freedom, creativity, and productivity. It is with gratitude to God that they give this scholarship.

Jim and Shirley Menacher

Jim and Shirley Menacher

This scholarship was created by Jim and Shirley Menacher to continue Eric Gillette’s memory by providing financial support to students with financial need who are completing an undergraduate degree in the computer sciences.

John and Barbara Gracki

John and Barbara Gracki

John and Barbara Gracki, long-time and faithful supporters of the Laker football team demonstrated their belief in the importance of athletes completing their degree by establishing the John and Barbara Gracki Football Degree Completion Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will be awarded to undergraduate students who have exhausted their athletic eligibility. John and Barbara initiated a scholarship to help the players complete their degree at Grand Valley State University.

John Gracki came to Grand Valley in 1970 as a member of the chemistry department faculty. In the mid-1970’s he was named an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. He went on to become dean of that college, then to be an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for many years, eventually serving as Interim Provost during the 2001-2002 academic year. Subsequently, he returned to the chemistry department faculty part time.

Barbara and John met at Brown University where they received their graduate degrees. Barbara was an adjunct member of the chemistry department in the mid-1970’s. In 1991 she received her M.B.A. in Finance from GVSU.

John and Deanna Green

John and Deanna Green

Suzanne D. Green (John Green’s mother) and Deanna Lee Green (scholarship donor) were first generation students who had a career focus in education. Suzanne D. Green was an educator for 42 years with the last 25 years as a Special Education Consultant in East Grand Rapids Public School Deanna Lee Green has been in education for over 20 years, initially as a secondary education teacher in social sciences, and more recently as a High School Guidance Counselor in the Forest Hills Public School system. John and Deanna Green established a scholarship to support first generations students pursuing a degree in education.

John and Dorothy Ward

John and Dorothy Ward

Florence Cowan Ward earned her nursing credentials from Butterworth Hospital School of Nursing in 1918. To provide a lasting memorial in honor of her dedication, service to community and high-quality care for the sick, John Ward, her son, has established the Florence Cowan Ward Scholarship for Nursing. It is hoped that the example of Mrs. Ward’s lifelong dedication to nursing will inspire Grand Valley State University nursing students to become excellent care providers.

John and Nancy Kennedy

John and Nancy Kennedy

Joseph Spruit, founder of Autodie Corporation, was a lifelong entrepreneur who inspired many fellow business persons. Mr. Spruit started his career at Link Tool and Die, leaving there in 1962 to buy his first business, Jellens Tool and Die. Renamed Autodie, the business had peak employment of 700 people. This scholarship for engineering students is named in honor of Joseph Spruit by John C. Kennedy iii who was a 23-year-old accountant when Mr. Spruit hired him to be chief financial officer of Autodie in 1982. Within six years, Kennedy would buy Autocam, a spin-off from Autodie, with Mr. Spruit’s blessing and support. “Joe was the greatest entrepreneur I know,” Kennedy said. “He had a vision and a risk-taking spirit that was incredible. I don’t think I would have stepped out and taken the risk I did, if I didn’t have him as a model.” John Kennedy is President and Chief Executive Officer of Autocam Corporation.

John and Virginia Reifel

John and Virginia Reifel

Ginny Reifel was a dedicated Grand Rapids Public Schools teacher who taught first grade in the inner city for many years. Ginny’s commitment to educating her students led her to supplement school-provided resources and to develop individual curriculum tailored to each student’s needs. She continues to volunteer in various schools as much as she can.

John Reifel is a Professor of Economics who enjoyed sharing with students how an understanding of economic principles can provide insight into a wide variety of economic phenomenon. Over the years he developed and introduced into the curriculum new courses in current economic issues, urban economics, public economics, and economic development. His research focuses on housing related topics including housing demand, determinants of housing value, and discrimination in housing markets. In his more than 40 years of service to GVSU and the Seidman College of Business he also served at various times as Economics Department Chairperson, Associate Dean, and Interim Dean of the Seidman College of Business.

John "Jack" Chamberlain

John "Jack" Chamberlain

The Ruth Chamberlain Global Issues Scholarship was established by John “Jack” Chamberlain in memory of his wife Ruth. Jack has been connected to the Frederik Meijer Honors College through the director (and son) Jeff Chamberlain. The scholarship will provide assistance to students in the Meijer Honors College who have shown significant promise, growth or improvement in the honors college, and have demonstrated a research interest in solving problems that impact all walks of life that deal with climate change, natural disasters, energy, population change, etc.

John J. and Marjorie E. Shepard

John J. and Marjorie E. Shepard

John J. Shepard was known in West Michigan as progressive businessman who had a passion for life and the radio industry. He ran Shepard Broadcasting Inc. for over 50 years here in the West Michigan area. Along with WLAV-FM he owned and operated several other radio stations in seven states for about 20 years. In the local business community John was known to “make things happen” and played a role in establishing WOOD-TV (Channel 8) and WOOD radio. John also was active in the local community and served as a board member for Brilliance Company, the largest audio publisher in the country and served on the GVU Foundation for more than 30 years.

This scholarship was established in John and Marjorie’s memory to support students in the Grand Valley State University School of Communications. It was their wish that portion of their estate be designated for a scholarship to benefit students majoring in Advertising & Public Relations, Broadcasting, Film & Video, Communication Students, Health Communication, Journalism, Photography, or Theatre. Preference will be given to Broadcasting majors pursuing a career in Television or Radio Broadcasting.

Jonathan and Marcia White

Jonathan and Marcia White

This scholarship was established by Jonathan R. and Marcia L. White in recognition of Colonel Ralph Hauenstein’s record of military and civilian service.

Dr. White is Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Frederik Meijer Honors College. He is a national expert on the topic of terrorism and Middle Eastern extremism. After the 9-11 attacks he was seconded to the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program for four years. He managed a nation-wide counterterrorist information-gathering, analysis and dissemination program in partnership with the FBI. Furthermore, Dr. White has served as the Founding Director of the School of Criminal Justice and Dean of Social Science at Grand Valley State University.

Joseph and Elizabeth Godwin

Joseph and Elizabeth Godwin

Joseph and Elizabeth Godwin established this scholarship in 2009 to continue their financial support to graduates of Decatur High School in Michigan who attend Grand Valley State University. Dr. Joseph Godwin joined Grand Valley in 1995 and currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Elizabeth Godwin is currently the Superintendent of Decatur Public Schools.

Joseph Appelt

Joseph Appelt

Joseph Appelt was born in Grand Rapids. Upon graduating from Creston High School, Joe was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship which would pay the cost of tuition for him to attend the University of Michigan. This assistance permitted Joe to successfully complete his degree in Architecture and Engineering. The help that was provided to Joe instilled in him a desire to help students in the pursuit of their college aspirations. In the past, he initiated the engineering scholarship program for the Western Chapter of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE).

Joe became a Registered Professional Engineer in four states and served as the Professional Mechanical and Electrical Consultant to over 30 Architectural, Engineering and Industrial firms on over 100 construction projects of all types and sizes.

He was awarded the “Engineer of the Year” by both the Western Chapter and by at the total state MSPE. He was later presented with the “Outstanding Engineer of the Year Award” by the MSPE Professional Engineers in Private Practice Division. Joe held many positions in MSPE up to and including State Vice President.

Joe was appointed by Governor Romney and re-appointed two times by Governor Milliken to serve on the Board of Registration for Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. As the last Chairman of the Joint Architects, Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, he assisted in organizing three separate Boards and was the first Chairman of the separate Board for Professional Engineers.

Josh May

Josh May

Josh May is a 2002 Grand Valley State University alumnus and owner of the May Group Realtors with Re/Max of Grand Rapids. The May Group Realtors with Re/Max of Grand Rapids is a great resource for selling homes and finding homes for sale in downtown Grand Rapids, MI and surrounding areas. The group is made up of knowledgeable professionals specializing in providing the highest level of service to their clients.

Joyce and Tom Wisner

Joyce and Tom Wisner

On the occasion of the dedication and opening of the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Professions at Grand Valley State University, Joyce and Tom Wisner created a new scholarship in the health fields.

Tom Wisner is President of L.E.T. Incorporated, Land Acquisition and Development. Joyce Tassell Wisner is treasurer of L.E.T. and the Leslie E. Tassell Foundation. Tom Wisner previously held positions in upper management at LESCOA through the late 1990’s and now also manages the Coloosa Cove Marine and Resort in the Florida Keys.

This scholarship benefits graduate students preparing to become physical therapists.

Judith S. Pratt

Judith S. Pratt

Nursing is a career that demands excellent grades in the pre-nursing courses as well as the BSN curriculum. The non-traditional student is often gainfully employed while attending classes in preparation for this career change. In addition, the non-traditional student may not qualify for many of the nursing and non-nursing scholarships because he/she may have earned a previous degree. The Non-Traditional Nursing Scholarship is designed to financially assist the student that has earned a previous BS/BA degree, meets the specified criteria, and desires to complete a BSN degree at GVSU.

Kate Pew Wolters in honor of Vice President for Enrollment Development, Lynn McNamara Blue

Kate Pew Wolters in honor of Vice President for Enrollment Development, Lynn McNamara Blue

The Lynn McNamara Blue ’86 Scholarship is being initiated by Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Trustee, Kate Pew Wolters in honor of Vice President for Enrollment Development, Lynn McNamara Blue.

Lynn “Chick” McNamara Blue came to Grand Valley in 1968 as a clerk typist. Throughout her career at the university she has held several positions, including Director of Records and Registration, Registrar, and Vice Provost and Dean for Academic Services. In May 2015, she was named Vice President for Enrollment Development, a newly created position focusing retention and graduation.

During her 48 years at Grand Valley, Blue has been committed to serving students and their success.

Kathleen Vogelsang

Kathleen Vogelsang

This scholarship is provided by Kathleen B. Vogelsang who wrote the following about her background and motivation to create this scholarship:
I entered Grand Valley State University as an undergraduate student in the Business School at the age of 32 with two small children at home (and a third child to come while in college). It was my dream to get a college education, something I had regretted not doing after high school. As a non-traditional student, the fear of going back to school after years of being out of school, and the financial burden of paying for college with family obligations made enrolling a difficult decision.
In hindsight it was the best decision I could have made. I went on to receive both a BBA and an MBA at Grand Valley and to earn a Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute. I have now worked in the financial investment field for the past 10 years. My current position as Director of Investments at the Van Andel Institute was made possible by that decision to go back to college.
I hear frequently from women who want to return to college but are hesitant for the same reasons that I was. I try to ease their fears and encourage them. I am hoping that this scholarship will help with some of the financial burden. My attendance at Grand Valley was made possible by the scholarships I received, along with the emotional support of family and friends. I want to express my gratitude by giving back. As an adjunct faculty member in the Seidman College of Business, I have mentored some of my former students. This scholarship is another small way of encouraging others to continue their education. I am hoping that recipients of this scholarship will realize the same success in their careers after graduation, and encourage future students as well.

Kaufman Family to honor Bill Seidman

Kaufman Family to honor Bill Seidman

This scholarship is initiated by the Kaufman Family to honor Bill Seidman, a founder of Grand Valley State University (GVSU); a lifelong, dear friend Dick and Sylvia Kaufman; a valued Director and advisor to Amstore and CEOs Dick Kaufman and Greg Kaufman; and an inspiration and role model of wise, independent-minded, and ethical business leadership.

Kenneth and Irene Fridsma

Kenneth and Irene Fridsma

Ken and Irene Fridsma established a scholarship to continue their legacy of helping students at GVSU. Ken Fridsma was the first Director of Financial Aid at GVSU and served in the capacity for more than 40 years. He retired in 2007. Ken received numerous awards and recognitions including several from the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association for his service and dedication to students, financial aid colleagues and the financial aid profession.

Kirkhof College of Nursing Alumni Association

Kirkhof College of Nursing Alumni Association

The Kirkhof College of Nursing Alumni Scholarship was established by the Kirkhof College of Nursing Alumni Association out of gratitude for the high quality education they received at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and to create opportunities for future nursing students.

Kurt and Shaunna (McKee) Kelder in memory of their aunt Debra McKee

Kurt and Shaunna (McKee) Kelder in memory of their aunt Debra McKee

This scholarship was established by Kurt and Shaunna (McKee) Kelder in memory of their aunt Debra McKee. Aunt Debbie valued higher education, and so willed much of her estate to her nieces and nephews for this purpose. The Kelders chose to honor Aunt Debbie by passing along her generous gift to establish a living legacy of financial support for the education of others.

Lacks Enterprises

Lacks Enterprises

Lacks Enterprises Scholarship was established in 1995 by Lacks Enterprises to assist students with the costs of their education at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Lacks Enterprises’ relationship with GVSU dates back to 1987, and over the years their support for capital projects, scholarships, and academic programs continues to impact students and their educational experience. Lacks Enterprises has over 50 years of experience providing quality components for the automotive market and other industries.

Laker Baseball Alumni

Laker Baseball Alumni

This scholarship was established by former Laker Baseball players and alumni.

Lakeshore Human Resource Management Association (LHRMA)

Lakeshore Human Resource Management Association (LHRMA)

The Lakeshore Human Resource Management Association (LHRMA), a professional orgranization in western Michigan, supports a scholarship program for a currently enrolled college student who is studying human resources. Their goal is to assist students who are actively pursuing their education in human resource management.

Las Gralarias Foundation Inc

Las Gralarias Foundation Inc

The goal of Las Gralarias Foundation Inc. is to support projects and programs of Reserva Las Gralarias, located in the parish of Mindo, Ecuador, including the protection of rare and endemic birds, plants and other animals, as well as support reserve management, reforestation efforts, biological research, environmental education projects, scholarships, and appropriate tourism program.

Lawrence E. Pawl

Lawrence E. Pawl

Established by Dr. Lawrence E. Pawl in 2006, this scholarship honors his parents, Eugene and Lillian Pawl who did not graduate from college, but provided that their son had this opportunity.

This scholarship benefits Grand Valley State University nursing and pre-medical students who are the first in their families to attend college.

Dr. Pawl, a medical doctor specializing in oncology in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was the first in his immediate family to attain a degree in higher education. Lawrence graduated from Grand Valley in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology. Since his graduation from Grand Valley, Lawrence has served as a Grand Valley University Foundation trustee starting in 1981 and as an Alumni Association president in 1984-1985; in 1991 he received the Distinguished Alumnus award. His wife, Brenda, received both undergraduate (1995) and masters (2003) nursing degrees from Grand Valley.

LGBT Supporters

LGBT Supporters

This scholarship was created by members of the Grand Valley State University gay and lesbian staff and faculty and others who are supportive of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender (“LGBT”) students. The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance for students studying at GVSU who demonstrate positive sensitivity to and involvement in LGBT issues, to promote visibility of LGBT life, and to foster service and activism in the larger community.