Grand Valley to celebrate new graduates

Posted on

More than 2,500 Grand Valley State University students will participate in commencement ceremonies April 27 at Van Andel Arena. Students will hear addresses from the governor of Michigan and the leader of a top economic growth organization.

Gov. Rick Snyder will address morning graduates, and Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, will speak in the afternoon.

Grand Valley Commencement Ceremonies
Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Van Andel Arena, downtown Grand Rapids
The ceremony will live stream at www.gvsu.edu/commencement
MEDIA NOTE:
Skybox 101B is reserved for media. The box offers a mult box and an elevated, unobstructed view of the podium and platform. For more information, contact Grand Valley News and Information Services at (616) 331-2221.

The 10 a.m. ceremony will include the following colleges: Seidman College of Business, College of Community and Public Service, Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, College of Health Professions and Kirkhof College of Nursing. The 3 p.m. ceremony includes graduates of the College of Education, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Speakers
Before becoming governor in 2011, Snyder served as CEO of the computer company Gateway and founded a venture capital company and an investment firm. He earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s of business administration and a law degree from the University of Michigan. Snyder has traveled to Europe and Asia on trade missions and research and development opportunities associated with Michigan universities.

Rothwell, recognized nationally for helping promote economic growth, hopes to make Michigan a Top 10 state for economic growth. He founded Business Leaders for Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which have become two of the most prominent organizations driving the state’s economy. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, a master’s of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed the John F. Kennedy School’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.

Awards and honorary degrees
During the ceremony, the Alumni Association will present two awards. Arthur Campbell, professor of music, will receive the Outstanding Educator Award; and Laurie Beard, a 1981 Grand Valley graduate and current president and CEO of Founders Bank & Trust, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Hubert Massey and Patricia L. Birkholz will receive honorary degrees. Massey, who graduated from Grand Valley in 1981 with a degree in art, has work featured on campus and in Detroit. Most recently, he worked with students from a Grand Valley-chartered school in Detroit to create a bus-sized mural that will be exhibited at the new L. William Seidman Center. Birkholz, a former state representative and senator and current director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, is well-known for her commitment to fresh water and natural resources. As a senator, she authored the Great Lakes Compact, which seeks to safeguard the future health of the Great Lakes.

Notable students
Twin sisters, Alexandra and Chelsea DeNio, will attend the morning ceremony, and will sit near a sign language interpreter so their older sister Lauren, who is deaf and mildly disabled, can watch them receive their diplomas. The twin sisters, from Clarkston, were adopted from Poland. Alexandra gave one of her kidneys to Lauren last year, which saved her life because Lauren was a high-risk transplant patient.

“When my family found out that Lauren needed a kidney transplant, I wanted to do anything I could to help her,” said Alexandra. “Since Chelsea and I are adopted from Poland, I think it is truly a miracle that I was even a match.

Alexandra and Chelsea are available for interviews. Alexandra will graduate with a degree in psychology and can be reached at denioa@mail.gvsu.edu. Chelsea will graduate with a degree in social work and can be reached at denioc@mail.gvsu.edu.