Alumni News - Seidman

First-generation students find love, ways to give back

by Abigayle Sloan, 07

Paul, 81, and Pam, 80, Schweitzer were first-generation college graduates.


photo by Bernadine Carey-Tucker Pam and Paul Schweitzer are pictured in the L. William Seidman Center.

They believe that much of their professional success is a result of their education and experiences at Grand Valley. When the opportunity to financially support both the L. William Seidman Center and the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons was presented, they stepped up to help.

The Schweitzers were introduced to each other through mutual friends while attending Grand Valley as undergraduates. Paul earned a bachelors degree in business administration in 1981; Pam earned a bachelors degree in special education in 1980.

I have been able to develop a successful business career because of my education at Grand Valley, Paul said. I could not pass up the opportunity to help support the Seidman Center because it will provide a new home for many young business professionals in downtown Grand Rapids.

Paul is the president of CompleteSource, a print and promotional products supplier based in Grand Rapids. He is responsible for overseeing the companys daily operations. Over the last few decades, CompleteSource has increased its sales to become a multimillion-dollar company.

Pam serves as the CEO of CompleteSource and also teaches at Forest Hills Public Schools. She plans to retire from her teaching position this year to focus on the family business. She said the library project was especially important to her because it represents the continued growth and vitality of the university.

I have had a very successful and rewarding career in education, she said. I have seen the excitement of young people as they realized that they can achieve their goals.

Grand Valley provided me the education I needed and I want to make sure there will be many graduates after me who also have the opportunity to receive an education.

Although the Schweitzers stay busy with their three children and a bustling business, they said it is important to stay connected with Grand Valley by attending special events. They have returned to campus for Homecoming, attended sporting events and volunteered for a variety of alumni activities. The family emphasized the importance of supporting Grand Valley by giving their time and financial resources.

Three plaques hang on Pauls office wall; he reads them regularly. The plaques offer encouraging words about persistence, commitment and excellence. Paul said they also reflect the reasons he and Pam decided to contribute to both projects.

Paul said: Its important to give what you can. There is a need for commitment from all of the community and alumni, and we can make a difference. Continual and sustainable support is what the university needs to survive and grow.

The opening of the Seidman Center and Mary Idema Pew Library aligned with the celebration of the Schweitzers 32nd wedding anniversary. They said it was fitting to celebrate their anniversary and see the completion of two successful projects at the university where they met.