Russel H. Kirkhof Center
While not technically the center of campus, the Kirkhof Center is surely at the center of campus activity. Students flock there for the University Bookstore, meeting rooms, lounge areas, restaurants, and social events. It is also home to the Student Senate Office, Student Life Office, Special Event Services Office, the Women's Center, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The building's significant 2008 addition is ADA accessible and designated to be LEED Certified.
Russel Kirkhof was known as Grand Rapids' electronic genius, inventor and businessman. He was born in Holland, Michigan in 1896, but grew up in Grand Rapids. His father passed away when he was just ten years of age, and Kirkhof left school after the 7th grade to work for the Lewis Electric Company. After several positions and a stint in the army doing electrical work on airplanes in France, Kirhof came home to work for his old employer Lewis Electrical Company.
In 1925, Lewis helped Kirkhof open his own electrical shop in Grand Rapids. The same year, he married Ethel Wernette. Kirkhof prospered, landing contracts with Consumers Power and GM to convert transformers.
Eventually, Kirkhof became interested in politics and finance. He served as Special Assistant for Financial Affairs to Michigan Governor George Romney (1963-68), seved as Chariman of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (1970), was Executive Director of the Conference on Inflation, Executive Director of the Economic Policy Board and Assistant to the President for Economic Affairs (1974-77). He was active with Gerald Ford's campaign and eventually chaired the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and was the first chairman of the Resolution Trust Company (1989-91).
Due to a friendship with John Scherff, who tended the grounds at his home and eventually became employed with Grand Valley State Colleges, Kirkhof gifted the college one million dollars and his home upon his death. The college named its fourth college the Russel Kirkhof College, which eventually became the Kirkhof School of Nursing. The Kirkhof Center, which contains the bookstore, eateries and student recreational activites was also dedicated to him.
The 73,714 square foot Kirkhof Center was built in 1973 with a 41,789 square foot addition in 2002. A new addition is constructed on the west side of the building opened in the summer of of 2008.
Kirkhof Center Addition 2008 – Designed and constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification standards. Sustainable features of this building include: water-saving plumbing fixtures in the restrooms, low volatile organic compound (VOC) flooring and 75% of the spaces make effective use of daylight and views. Achieving LEED Certification means that the Kirkhof Center Addition is reducing its negative impact on the environment by reducing water and energy consumption, effectively selecting materials for recycled content and ensuring healthy air quality for building occupants.
For more sustainability related information, click here.
Page last modified December 12, 2012