Laker Leadership Programs

Venderbush Leadership Lecture

Come celebrate leadership! The Venderbush Leadership Lecture is designed to recognize extraordinary leadership. Since 1999, Grand Valley has honored the memory of Kenneth R. Venderbush through an ongoing series of leadership lectures. In addition to having the opportunity to listen to inspiring tales of leadership, this event offers the opportunity to acknowledge outstanding student leaders who contribute regularly to our community by bestowing the Immediate Impact Award to one exceptional student leader. New members of the National Leadership Honor Society Omicron Delta Kappa are also recognized during the event.

2014-2015 Academic Year

Fall 2014
Date: Monday, November 3, 2014
Time: 2:00-4:00PM 
Location: KC 2204 (Pere Marquette Room)
Keynote speaker: Skip Cerier

About Skip Cerier

Starting as a professional photographer in 1974, while still in college, Mr. Cerier has spent the last 39 years as a serial entrepreneur. He has participated in 11 start ups where he was the principal partner or CEO. Of those, 4 are still running today. Over the years, Mr. Cerier has come to understand that his core competency was serving schools and their families, both public and private. He has served in the roles of Chief Financial Officer, President and CEO of his various companies.

With a KU Business School/Accounting background, in his 39 year career, entrepreneur Skip Cerier has founded four photography related businesses, including Graduation Foto, GVSU’s commencement photography vendor since 1978.  In April of this year, Mr. Cerier was involved in the launch of yet another company; Greener Grads.  His new start up is focused on the textile recycling industry.    


Winter 2015
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Time: 2:00-4:00PM 
Location: KC 2204 (Pere Marquette Room)
Keynote speaker: TBA


Past Venderbush Leadership Lectures:

Winter 2014

Last spring, State Representative Winnie Brinks visited GVSU to share her leadership story and inspirational advice.  Zack Morford was honored as recipient of the Immediate Impact Award. 

About Winnie Brinks

State Representative Winnie Brinks is serving her first term representing Michigan’s 76th House District, which comprises part of the city of Grand Rapids in Kent County.

Before serving in the Legislature, Brinks served Grand Rapids as the executive director of The One Way House, a nonprofit community-based corrections agency. Most recently, Brinks worked as a caseworker at The Source in Grand Rapids, where she worked with businesses and nonprofits to improve workplaces while helping companies grow and retain employees. Brinks is a graduate of Calvin College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a concentration in sociology.

Brinks lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children. 

Fall 2013


Last fall, the Venderbush Leadership Lecture featured GVSU Alumnus, Selma Tucker. Tucker inspired guests through sharing his reflections on leadership at GVSU and beyond. Kelsey Rice was honored as recipient of the Immediate Impact Award and 90 new members of Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society were recognized. 

About Selma Tucker

Selma Tucker is the director of marketing and communications at Public Sector Consultants. He oversees the marketing and communications division which is responsible for strategic direction, branding, creative design, editing of publications, graphics, and corporate communication across the firm. Mr. Tucker performs similar work for Michigan Saves, a multimillion-dollar nonprofit managed by PSC, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, a multimillion-dollar private foundation also managed by PSC.

Previously, Mr. Tucker worked in public service for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, doing work in urban service delivery and special projects throughout the organization. Most recently, as administrator and regional coordinator for the City, he led the BetterBuildings for Michigan program developing creative solutions and national best practices to encourage homeowners throughout the region to invest in energy efficiency, aided by dozens of community partners and involvement from the private sector. His service to the City of Grand Rapids also included widespread dissemination of complex topics ranging from community development to information technology, to both internal and community audiences.

Mr. Tucker holds a BA in Public Administration, with a concentration in Economic Development and a second major in Political Science, and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) specializing in Public Management, both from Grand Valley State University.


More Past Keynote Speakers

Kenneth R. Venderbush (1930-1975)

Dr. Kenneth R. Venderbush came to Grand Valley in 1969. During his tenure he served as Associate Professor and Acting Dean of William James College, and from 1969 until 1973 he was Vice President for Student Affairs. He received an undergraduate degree in speech from Kalamazoo College, an M.A. from Wayne State University, and a Ph.D from Ohio State University in 1968. Dr. Venderbush's commitment to student affairs was highlighted by his understanding of student concerns. During his time as Vice President of Student Affairs, he worked to assure student input in the decision-making process. He was a strong advocate of student leadership participation as a learning tool.

The Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award

Please note that the Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award is not awarded at the Venderbush Leadership Reception. The Award is coordinated through the Dean of Students Office.

Since 1983, the university has bestowed its highest Student Leadership Award, the Kenneth R. Venderbush Leadership Award to a graduating senior student. In the Fall of 1999, the university continued to honor his memory through an on-going series of community leadership lectures made possible by a gift from Kenneth R. Venderbush's family.

This prestigious award is presented to a senior who has made a significant leadership contribution to student life at Grand Valley and demonstrates a strong commitment to academics. Award nominations and selection is coordinated through the Dean of Students Office. Click here for more information on nominating a student for the Venderbush Student Leadership Award.

Page last modified September 22, 2014