Consumers Energy Foundation gift will enhance student success

From left are Consumers Energy Foundation representatives Karen McCarthy, Carolyn Bloodworth, Trustee John Russell and President Thomas J. Haas.
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From left are Consumers Energy Foundation representatives Karen McCarthy, Carolyn Bloodworth, Trustee John Russell and President Thomas J. Haas.
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A gift from the Consumers Energy Foundation will enable Grand Valley to expand services at its Student Academic Success Center, including the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy, and help ensure that students stay on track to a timely graduation.

Representatives from Consumers Energy Foundation presented Grand Valley officials with a $200,000 donation on April 24, following a Board of Trustees meeting.

The Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy will use the contribution to expand to upperclass students, establish a degree completion program and provide assistance to 400 students within their first four years. It will also create a Sophomore Summer Success Institute and build an emergency aid fund to assist students with books, meals and more.

John Russell, president and CEO of Consumers Energy, and chair of the Consumers Energy Foundation, said, “As one of Michigan’s largest employers and investors, Consumers Energy is proud to support educational initiatives like this.” Russell is also a member of Grand Valley’s Board of Trustees.

“We are committed to supporting Michigan’s economic revival for the next generation, and we believe an educated, engaged and diverse workforce is essential for that to continue,” he said.

Named for a former Grand Valley dean of Multicultural Affairs, the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy helps first-year students transition successfully to college by providing academic, social and personal support and resources. The expansion of the academy will strengthen opportunities for these students, who are often the first in their families to attend college.

President Thomas J. Haas said this gift aligns and further enables the university’s mission and its strategic plan as it creates opportunities for students to be successful.

Nancy Giardina, vice provost for Student Success, said Consumers Energy Foundation representatives spent a recent evening with Freshman Academy students. “We are extremely appreciative for this opportunity to expand this service to students and thank the Consumers Energy Foundation and Consumers Energy for their generosity,” she said.

Learn more about the Student Academic Success Center, including the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy, at www.gvsu.edu/sasc.