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
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
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
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
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
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. 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
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 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 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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
This scholarship was established by former Laker Baseball players and alumni.
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
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.
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.
Linda '89 and Robert Rynbrandt
Linda ‘89 and Robert Rynbrandt established the Linda ’89 and Robert Rynbrandt Sociology Scholarship to support students studying sociology at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). In addition to earning her Bachelor of Science in Sociology at GVSU, Linda was a faculty member in the sociology department at GVSU for more than 15 years, where much of her academic career centered on women’s issues and social justice. Linda has served on the Michigan Sociological Association Executive Board where she held the position of vice-president in 2001 and 2002.
Lissa Roos Parker
Lissa Roos Parker established the Dr. Andrew M.C. Brown Memorial English Scholarship to continue the memory of her longtime friend, Dr. Andrew Missak Cleverly Brown. Dr. Brown was a visiting lecturer in English literature from Cambridge University, England, during the 1970-71 academic year. He was sponsored at Grand Valley State College (GVSC) by the now -late Professor Robert L. Chamberlain from the Department of English. Dr. Brown passed away from cancer in January 2014 at the age of 63 after a distinguished career as an editor and publisher at Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Brown’s love of literature was nurtured at Magdalene College, Cambridge, in the late 1960s. After teaching in the United States, he returned to Magdalene College to finish his doctoral thesis on the novels of Edward Bulwer Lytton. At Cambridge University Press (CUP), Dr. Brown began as a junior editor in the humanities; became senior editor for literature in 1983, after establishing the company’s significant presence in American literary studies; then took on increasing managerial positions, culminating in his appointment as managing director of academic and professional publishing in 2002.During his CUP years, he produced an outstanding edition of George Eliot’s Romola for Oxford University Press. In addition to Dr. Brown’s devotion to English and American literary traditions, he also possessed an eclectic interest in world literature.
Lori Houghton-Rahrig and Kevin Rahrig
This scholarship was established in loving memory of Lori’s sister Teri Linn (Houghton) Marsh. Teri was a very active volunteer in her community and in her children’s schools. An ornamental horticulture/biology major, she always encouraged her children and others to continue their education. Her spirit of hard work, encouragement, and giving back to the community is her legacy and will continue through this scholarship.
Lynn "Chick" McNamara Blue '86
The Blue Working Family Scholarship was established by Lynn “Chick” McNamara Blue ’86 out of gratitude for the education received at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and to continue her legacy of leadership in helping students succeed. Chick Blue came to Grand Valley in 1968 as a clerk typist. Throughout her career at the University she 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 on retention and graduation.
Margaret "Peggy" Boyce
Margaret “Peggy” Boyce, ’72, earned a Bachelor of Science in Art from Grand Valley. Peggy enrolled at Grand Valley while raising, with her husband Jim, eight children. She attended classes at the same time as her oldest three children were pursuing their own college studies, and she would like to encourage adult learners with her support. Ms. Boyce obtained a MA from WMU and taught Art at West Ottawa High School in Holland for 20 years, and also Art Education at Grand Valley.
Margaret Ward worked as a dedicated elementary public school teacher of music and art in Comstock Park, Michigan. As a student pursuing her college teaching degree, she worked hard to pay for her education. As an adult, Mrs. Ward established this scholarship to give support to aspiring art educators who now face similar financial challenges in pursuing their own degrees.
This scholarship was created in honor of Maribeth Wardrop’s accomplishments as Vice President of University Development and Executive Director of the Grand Valley University Foundation, as well as her passion for philanthropy. During her 12-year tenure, Maribeth Wardrop led and completed 11 capital projects including the university’s first comprehensive campaign Shaping Our Future raising 96.3 million dollars. She also helped increase private scholarships which grew from 50 to 300 under her leadership. She was the first woman to serve as a vice president for Grand Valley State University.
The purpose of this scholarship was to honor Maribeth’s wishes to prepare and encourage aspiring fundraising professionals with a scholarship in lieu of a retirement celebration. This scholarship is the first named scholarship to support the Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Program that was established by the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy. Students in this program will be exposed to national leaders across the nonprofit sector through this unique academic program that include rigorous academics, research , and workshops lead by esteemed leaders in the field.