Alumni Awards


The Distinguished Alumni Award

2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient


Noreen Myers is one of seven GVSU graduates in her immediate family. She obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science in 1972. Upon graduation, she began her graduate studies in Political Philosophy  at Loyola University of Chicago in 1973 followed by doctoral studies at Georgetown University from 1975-1977. Upon graduation from Thomas M. Cooley law school in 1982, Myers entered private practice. Since 1999, she has been a sole practitioner specializing in employment law.

A dedicated member of the Grand Rapids community for many years, Myers was co-chair of the labor and employment division of the Grand Rapids Bar Association from 2011-2012. She has also served as board co-chair for the Michigan Political Leadership Program, and is a founding member of the Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan. She holds volunteer board positions with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan and One Voice Coalition.

A tireless advocate for Grand Valley State University, Myers has contributed her talent, energy and financial support to her alma mater. She was the first alumna in history to be appointed to the GVSU Board of Trustees, served as board chair from 2011-2012 and completed an eight year term in 2013. As a mentor for the Cook Leadership Program, Myers instills the Laker values in Grand Valley’s rising student leaders. She also played a key role in the initial conceptual development of GVSU’s Hauenstein Center Common Ground Initiative. Since its inception, Myers has been a great supporter and participant in its various programs.

Currently serving as a trustee for the GVU Foundation, Myers has taken a leadership role as an “Alumni Champion,” a program that encourages financial contributions to the university. She has also spoken at various alumni events across the country. In 2013, she received the GVSU Presidential Leadership Award.

Myers has a daughter and currently resides in Lowell with her husband, Charles. 

Noreen Myers, 72

Noreen Myers, 72

The Outstanding Educator Award

2015 Outstanding Educator Award Recipient


Brad Wallar is an associate professor in the Chemistry Department at Grand Valley State University.  He has been a member of the GVSU faculty since 2003.

Professor Wallar received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1993.  After six years of graduate school, he obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics in 2000 from the University of Minnesota.  He then pursued further training in cancer biochemistry while completing a post-doctoral fellowship in the Cell Structure and Signal Integration Laboratory at the Van Andel Institute.

Students appreciate the significant time and effort that Wallar puts into their education, whether it is in the classroom, advising, or mentoring in their research projects.  Wallar’s interactions with his students go well beyond teaching scientific skills.  Many students have noted him as being a very influential person throughout their undergraduate career, and he continues to serve as an important mentor to some of his former students.

In addition to some internal funding from GVSU, Wallar has received external grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health in order to support students through full-time research experiences.  As a result of this successful collaboration with his undergraduate researchers, they have published their work in peer-reviewed journals and have presented oral and poster presentations at numerous national and regional meetings.

Throughout his 12 years at GVSU, Wallar has also received the University Outstanding Teaching Award, Pew Teaching Excellence Award, Distinguished Undergraduate Mentor Award, and Professor of the Year by the GVSU Educational Support Program.

Aside from teaching biochemistry at all undergraduate levels, Wallar has also played a role in University service; most notably involving the promotion of faculty scholarship and undergraduate mentoring.  He served on the University Research and Development Committee for many years and was a member of the advisory board that helped to form the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.  He also has contributed to other University functions, such as supervising an event at the Science Olympiad competition on the GVSU campus every year since 2004.

Dr. Wallar lives in Zeeland with his wife and three children and enjoys coaching softball, basketball, and baseball teams in his spare time.

Brad Wallar, Professor of Chemistry

Brad Wallar

The Young Alumni Award

2013 Young Alumni Award Recipient


The Young Alumni Award was initiated in 2008 by the GVSU Alumni Association to recognize recent graduates who are making outstanding contributions to society, and whose accomplishments and careers reflect favorably upon Grand Valley. This prestigious award will be presented to alumni nominees selected by a panel of members of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. The recipient is announced at December commencement.

Ryan Slusarzyk, '08

Linh Huynh

The Alumni Service Award

2014 Alumni Service Award Recipients


Grand Valley Alumni Service Awards are presented to recipients annually to a recipient who has demonstrated outstanding service to the university and the Alumni Association. This award is selected by a committee representative of GVSU Alumni Relations staff members. The recipient is recognized at the annual Alumni Volunteer Celebration event.

Jacqueline, '00 & '05 and Kevin, '98 Schafer

The Schafers