Tag Archives: Grand Valley State University

The travels of a GVSU professor highlighted in upcoming exhibit at university’s art gallery

Common Balance, Still Life Paintings by Mike McDonnell

“Afghanistan to Morocco: Journeys of Jim and Virginia Goode”
Exhibition Dates: August 25–October 27
Exhibition Reception: September 18, from 5-7 p.m.
Art Gallery, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus


Jim Goode, professor of history at Grand Valley State University, and his wife, Virginia, have explored 11 countries throughout the Middle East for business and pleasure over the past 50 years. They have also taken great satisfaction in introducing more than 100 Grand Valley students, faculty, staff members and friends to the people, cultures and landscapes of this area of the world. Along their adventures the duo has collected a wide variety of ceramics, rugs, textiles and other everyday objects — most representing simple instruments of daily life in these regions of the world. During the art exhibition, “Afghanistan to Morocco: Journeys of Jim and Virginia Goode,” many of these acquired items will be on display for the first time in Grand Valley’s Art Gallery.


“The exhibition displays some very simple, but important objects that allow insight into the daily lives of ordinary people in the Middle East region,” Jim Goode said. “We all share certain common practices, such as the need to prepare food and drink, entertaining family and friends and worshiping. This exhibit emphasizes such commonalities; we are more alike than we are different, regardless of our cultural backgrounds.”


Goode began teaching for Grand Valley’s History Department in 1986, and said students have been at the center oftheir involvement in the Middle East. He helped establish the university’s Middle East Studies program and has facilitated student involvement in the Model Arab League since 1988. Jim has additionally led study abroad programs to Egypt and Turkey over the past 17 years. He will retire from Grand Valley in December; Virginia retired as office coordinator of Grand Valley’s Chemistry Department in 2006.





For more information about Grand Valley State University art exhibits, call (616) 331-2563 or visit gvsu.edu/artgallery.


“Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy”
Exhibition dates: ongoing
George and Barbara Gordon Gallery
DeVos Center, Building E, Room 103 and 202, Pew Grand Rapids Campus
Gordon Gallery hours: Friday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m.; closed on holiday weekends


The German-born American artist, Mathias Joseph Alten (1871-1938) is often referred to as the dean of Michigan painters. Working in a traditional representational style, Alten incorporated the aesthetics and techniques of the Impressionist Movement in paintings infused with light and punctuated with deft brushwork. Based in Grand Rapids, Alten created more than 3,800 works of art over a more than 40-year career, including landscapes, seascapes, portraits and florals. Grand Valley State University holds the largest public collection of Alten’s work in the world.


“Common Balance: Still Life Paintings by Mike McDonnell”
Exhibition dates: Thru Sept. 22
Blue Wall Gallery, DeVos Center, Building B, Pew Grand Rapids Campus


In the early 1980s, Michigan-based artist Mike McDonnell became enamored with still life arrangements of common household objects. He began by drawing each object individually, then patiently applied multiple glazes of watercolor paint to achieve rich color and the illusion of realism. This exhibit features a selection of McDonnell’s work from 1982-2009 that spotlights his desire to idealize common objects in balanced and unique groupings.


“Roger That! The Life of Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee”
Exhibition Dates: Thru Oct. 27
Kirkhof Center Gallery, Allendale Campus


Roger Bruce Chaffee was chosen to be one of America’s first Apollo astronauts as part of NASA’s program to send a man to the surface of the moon and back to earth. Tragically, the 31-year-old Grand Rapids native died, along with his two fellow crew members, when a fire broke out inside of their spacecraft during a routine test on January 27, 1967. The photo exhibition, “Roger That! The Life of Astronaut Roger B. Chaffee,” marks the 50th anniversary of that tragedy and seeks to educate the public on his life and achievements.


“Humanitarian Work in Havana: The Story of First-Hand Aid”
Exhibition dates: Thru Sept. 22
Red Wall Gallery, Lake Ontario Hall, Allendale Campus


In June 2012, Gordon Alderink, associate professor of physical therapy, and Charlie Pryor, ’12, traveled to Havana, Cuba, with First-Hand Aid (FHA). FHA is a humanitarian organization based in Grand Rapids that sends representatives to Cuba to provide food, medicine and financial support to people in need. Alderink and Pryor learned of FHA during a previous trip in 2012 to Havana with the organization and the Grand Valley State University men’s baseball team. However, during the initial trip, Alderink and Pryor were unable to join in the work of FHA. So, they decided that they had to go back on their own. This exhibit shares the FHA experience and informs visitors about the Cuban national health system, its strengths and weaknesses and FHA’s story.

GVSU hosts two popular carillon programs, the Beckering and the Cook

Cook Carillon Bells by Bernadine Carey-Tucker

Some of the finest carillonneurs from around the world will fill the air with music on the campuses of Grand Valley State University during the annual International Carillon Concert Series. The 23rd annual Cook Carillon International Concert Series will take place on Sundays at 8 p.m. on the Allendale Campus through August 20. The 17th annual Beckering Family Carillon International Concert Series brings five concerts to the Lacks International Plaza located at the DeVos Center on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. These concerts will take place on Wednesdays at noon. For more information, contact Grand Valley’s Music and Dance Department at (616) 331-3484.


Beckering Carillon – Pew Grand Rapids Campus

August 2 – Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, GVSU university carilloneur


Cook Carillon – Allendale Campus

August 6 – Sue Bergren, Naperville, Illinois

August 13 – Ray McLellan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 20 – Julianne Vanden Wyngaard

GVSU economist: Local economy remains on track

Brian Long, photo from gvsu.edu

The West Michigan economy is still growing, a Grand Valley State University economist said.


Brian G. Long, director of Supply Management Research in the Seidman College of Business, surveyed local business leaders and his findings below are based on data collected during the last two weeks of June.


The survey’s index of business improvement (new orders) came in at +31, a modest improvement over last month’s +27. The production index edged up to +26 from +19. The index of purchases remained virtually unchanged at +22, while the employment index jumped to +23 from +13.


Long said slower auto sales have resulted in most auto parts suppliers showing signs of plateauing, but no major firms have reported a significant drop in sales. He said some firms have seen an uptick in quoting activity.


Long also said the office furniture industry continues to show signs of topping out, but no decline appears to be on the horizon. “Because of the apparent topping out for some of our local industries, the capital equipment market remains mixed, and the bias is still to the down side,” he said. “For the industrial distributors, the summer maintenance schedules have given some firms a slight boost.”


The West Michigan employment picture continues to be a bright spot for the local economy, Long said. Ottawa County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent, and Kent County tied for third lowest at 2.8 percent. The current Michigan unemployment rate stands at 4.2 percent.


The Institute for Supply Management survey is a monthly survey of business conditions that includes 45 purchasing managers in the greater Grand Rapids area and 25 in Kalamazoo. The respondents are from the region’s major industrial manufacturers, distributors and industrial service organizations. It is patterned after a nationwide survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management. Each month, the respondents are asked to rate eight factors as “same,” “up” or “down.”


Brian G. Long, Ph.D, C.P.M., serves as Director of Supply Management research for the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Long earned a B.S. and M.B.A. from Central Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in Marketing from Michigan State University.  He is also a Certified Purchasing Manager. 


For over 28 years, Dr. Long has edited a survey of local purchasing managers for both the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids areas, which has proved to be a major indicator of current and future business conditions.  This survey appears in many local newspapers and national business publications, including the Grand Rapids Press, MiBiz, and the Grand Rapids Business Journal.  The survey is also a component of the Federal Reserve’s bimonthly survey of business conditions. 

GVSU group develops tool for children to earn screen time

A Grand Valley State University group has developed an app for a local entrepreneur that addresses a common concern among parents: the amount of time their children spend on electronics.


Grand Valley’s applied Medical Devices Institute (aMDI) has developed Test 4 Time! (T4T), an app that makes children earn screen time on tablets and smartphones. T4T asks math questions for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. If they answer the questions correctly, they get the time.


“The app addresses a difficult challenge all parents have and allows parents to manage their child’s time on a device while making the experience fun, educational and challenging,” said Brent Nowak, executive director of aMDI.


The idea for the app came from its inventor and founder Tim Smock, from Forest Hills, six years ago when his 7-year-old son asked to play video games every day.


“I would write down 20 math questions and told him if he answered them, he could have one hour on the Wii,” he said. “I wondered if this process could be automated and came up with the idea for Test 4 Time.”


He filed for a provisional patent in August 2011 and began exploring development options.


Smock worked in 2016 with students from Grand Valley’s School of Computing and Information Systems to build a prototype of the app. Earlier this year, he came to aMDI to bring the app to market. John Doneth, a computer science major from Ada, was hired by aMDI in February to help write code and design the app.


Nowak said in six months aMDI created a full development program for T4T, from market study to product testing to launch.


“The aMDI team, which includes students and staff members, demonstrated that we can work at the pace of industry to launch a product to industry standards,” Nowak said.


Smock said he’s enjoyed working with aMDI. “The value and professionalism are exemplary, and we are very excited by the early enthusiasm for this app from parents and teachers,” Smock said.


Nowak said the next step is to develop a hardware device with the T4T software that requires children to earn time on the TV and video game consoles.


The project was funded in part by the State of Michigan’s Small Company Innovation Program/Technology Commercialization Assistance program. Learn more at www.test4time.com.

GVSU to host cyber security groups real-time hacking contest

Cyber security will be at the heart of a program at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus next week.

By West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium


Much of today’s news seems to include a cybersecurity twist, but how do companies prepare for cyber incidents? They exercise or practice, as the West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium will at Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus’s DeVos Center in Grand Rapids.


The 5th annual WMCSC Cybersecurity Exercise will take place Friday, July 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (followed by a Networking reception from 5:30-8 p.m.), at the DeVos Center, 401 Fulton St. W.


The cybersecurity event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and interested attendees should reserve their space by Friday, July 14, by visiting wmcybersecurity@kentcountymi.gov


The day-long exercise will include Purple Teams — typically, cybersecurity teams are Red (offense) or Blue (defense); working together, they are Purple teams. The exercise will use the Michigan Cyber Range’s “Alphaville” virtual devices.


Alphaville, developed by Merit Network in Ann Arbor, is a collection of virtual machines simulating information systems that are networked together and assigned varying security levels modeled on how real towns across the country are configured.  It exists as part of the Michigan Cyber Range, a secure test bed designed to enable cybersecurity attacks and defense methods in a realistic environment without impacting production network traffic.


At the July 14 exercise, nine Purple teams will be challenged to capture, secure and defend email servers, web servers, and file systems, using security and hacking tools comparable to the systems found in most businesses today. They will compete against each other hoping to be crowned the winners for “owning” the most systems for the longest time.


The West Michigan Cyber Security Consortium is a multi-jurisdictional, public/private partnership whose purpose is to enhance the prevention, protection, response, and recovery to cybersecurity threats, disruptions and degradation to critical information technology functions. Its membership includes individuals from government, healthcare, law enforcement and private businesses. The group meets quarterly to share information around cybersecurity issues.


The Michigan Cyber Range prepares cybersecurity professionals to detect, prevent and mitigate cyberattacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range enables individuals and organizations to conduct “live fire” exercises: simulations that test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations. The Michigan Cyber Range also offers certification courses for a number of cybersecurity disciplines, with instruction available on-site and live online. A full training schedule may be found at the Merit Michigan Cyber Range web site at merit.edu/cyberrange/
The Michigan Cyber Range is hosted and facilitated by Merit Network in partnership with the State of Michigan and with the sponsorship of Consumers Energy and DTE Energy.


Merit Network, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance.


Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions and professional development to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations. For more information visit merit.edu/


Carla Hills to receive GVSU’s Hauenstein Fellowship Medal

Carla A. Hills will present the William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs.


By Nate Hoekstra

Grand Valley State University


Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will present Ambassador Carla Hills, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Trade Representative, with the Hauenstein Fellowship Medal, one of the highest honors the university can give.


The presentation of the medal will follow Hills’ William E. Simon Lecture in Public Affairs, celebrating President Gerald R. Ford’s 104th birthday, at the Ford Presidential Museum at 7 p.m. on July 13.


Hills served as President Ford’s HUD Secretary (the third woman to hold a cabinet position) and also served as an assistant Attorney General in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.


She has also served as a professor in UCLA’s law school and is currently the chairman and CEO of Hills & Company International Consultants.


The Hauenstein Fellowship Medal recognizes the extraordinary life of the center’s namesake, Ralph Hauenstein, and is intended to recognize public servants who exemplify the service and leadership that Grand Valley State University seeks to inspire in its students and graduates.


“The conferral of the Hauenstein Medal is always a very special occasion for our center, as it allows us to reflect on Ralph’s life and achievements while celebrating someone who holds the same leadership ideals,” said center director Gleaves Whitney.


Previous recipients of the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal include President Gerald R. Ford (posthumously), Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State James A. Baker, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, Ambassador John Beyrle, and Admiral James M. Loy.


For more information, visit hauensteincenter.org.

Grand Valley State buys property, plans for engineering expansion and parking

By Mary Eilleen Lyon

Grand Valley State University


Grand Valley State University’s Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the Ferris Coffee and Nut facility in downtown Grand Rapids, with plans to expand its engineering programs. The trustees held a special board meeting on the university’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus earlier this month, and approved several real estate deals, including one to provide much-needed parking space for commuters.


The purchase of the Ferris facility, at 227 Winter Ave., for $6.5 million allows the university to begin planning what will be the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing’s Design and Innovation Center. It allows the university to avoid the delays and expense of constructing a new facility or taking a short-term approach by expanding existing facilities it will certainly outgrow.


“Enrollment growth in engineering has been explosive, more than doubling in the last 10 years,” Dean Paul Plotkowski said. “This facility is move-in ready and perfectly located near our downtown campus, on a bus line and near where our students live. We’re excited to plan and develop spaces where students from multiple disciplines will work together and develop projects for our industry partners. This is a game changer for us in terms of opening up potential to be innovative while providing an exceptional talent pipeline to employers.”


Ferris Coffee and Nut is remodeling another facility and will move its operations; Grand Valley is planning on moving into the 63,385-square-foot facility in summer 2018. The retail coffee shop that currently operates is expected to remain open to the public.


411 Standale Plaza Dr., N.W.

Trustees also approved acquiring 4.8 acres in the city of Walker for $1.6 million. The deal puts together three parcels at Lake Michigan Drive and Kinney Avenue. The university is purchasing two of the parcels — 411 Standale Plaza Dr., N.W. and 449 Kinney Ave., N.W. The owner of the 2.5 acre parcel at 475 Kinney Ave. is donating that portion to the university.


This deal will provide more than 400 parking spaces right along the current bus line and the proposed Laker Line (Bus Rapids Transit). The Laker Line will travel between Grand Valley’s Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses and through downtown to the university’s health campus. The 20,000 square feet of retail space will remain operational and part of the city of Walker’s developing business district.


The trustees also approved the sale of a condominium near the Allendale Campus that the university purchased in 1987. Over the years, it has been used to house visiting faculty and international visitors, and host meetings and small retreats. The university no longer needs the condominium because a hotel has been built in the area and the university’s Alumni House was built and includes overnight accommodations.

GVSU carillon concert series to feature international musicians

Cook Carillon Bells by Bernadine Carey-Tucker

By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


Some of the finest carillonneurs from around the world will fill the air with music on the campuses of Grand Valley State University during the annual International Carillon Concert Series.


All concerts are free and open to the public. They will take place rain or shine.


The 23rd annual Cook Carillon International Concert Series will take place on Sundays at 8 p.m. on the Allendale Campus, from June 25-August 20.


Cook Carillon Concerts

June 25 – Amy Johansen, Australia

July 9 – James Fackenthal, Chicago, Illinois

July 16 – Sharon Hettinger, Lawrence, Kansas

July 23 – David Johnson, St. Paul, Minnesota

July 30 – Laura Ellis, University of Florida

August 6 – Sue Bergren, Naperville, Illinois

August 13 – Ray McLellan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 20 – Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, Grand Valley university carillonneur


The 17th annual Beckering Family Carillon International Concert Series brings five concerts to the Lacks International Plaza located at the DeVos Center on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. These concerts will take place on Wednesdays at noon, beginning July 5.


Beckering Family Carillon Concerts

July 5 – Carol Lens, University of Denver

July 12 – James Fackenthal, Chicago, Illinois

July 19 – Helen Hawley, Grand Rapids, Michigan

July 26 – Jon Lehrer, Vancouver, British Columbia

August 2 – Julianne Vanden Wyngaard

For more information, call Grand Valley’s Music and Dance Department at 616-331-3484.

GVSU to host teen entrepreneur camp June 19-23

Photo supplied

By Dottie Barnes, Grand Valley State University


About 45 high school students from 21 schools across the West Michigan area will spend a week at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), immersed in the world of entrepreneurship to learn about creating a startup company.


The 11th annual Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) is hosted by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship (CEI) in the Seidman College of Business and sponsored by Amway. Amway employees help mentor and coach the student teams throughout the week.


The teen academy, designed for students grades 9-12, includes interactive lectures, team-building activities, hands-on research, field trips, networking with local entrepreneurs and strategic planning for personal aspirations.


On the final day of camp, students will pitch their idea to a panel of local business professionals for a chance to win cash prizes totaling $5,000.

  • What: Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy
  • When: June 19-23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Where: L. William Seidman Center, 50 Front Ave., Pew Grand Rapids Campus

* Idea presentations and awards will take place June 23, 2-5 p.m.


“Exposure to entrepreneurship education, especially starting early in K-12, can have a lasting impact on students’ lifelong learning and career paths,” said Shorouq Almallah, CEI director. “While TESA is focused on recognizing business opportunity and starting a new business, in a broader sense, TESA helps high school students to develop entrepreneurial attitudes and experiences that meet the needs of the growing knowledge economy.”


For more information, contact the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Grand Valley at cei@gvsu.edu or 616.331.7582.

GVSU alum uses super memory to compete on FOX’s ‘Superhuman’ series

Contestant John Graham in the all-new “Beyond The Imagination” series premiere episode of SUPERHUMAN airing Monday, June 12 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.(Photo courtesy of FOX © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.)

By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


Alumnus John Graham can memorize an 80-digit number in 40 seconds, a list of 70 random words in five minutes, and 148 names and faces in 15 minutes. If he walked into a room filled with 100 people and met them all, he could remember all of their names.


Graham’s photographic memory is what some would call a “superpower,” and he will put his ability to the test when he competes on FOX’s new television series, “Superhuman.”


Graham, ’09, will compete on the first episode of the series, which airs Monday, June 12, at 9 p.m. EST.


In each episode, five seemingly ordinary people use their extraordinary skills to compete for the opportunity to win $50,000. The competition is judged by panelists Mike Tyson, Christina Milian, and brain surgeon and neuroscientist Rahul Jandial.


During the premiere episode, a group of people jog past Graham. His challenge is to memorize the names and random five-digit numbers each person is wearing, and then repeat them back to the show’s host, actor Kal Penn.


What makes Graham’s ability additionally superhuman is the fact that he taught himself how to have a photographic memory by reading a book on memory techniques in 2014, called “Moonwalking with Einstein” by Joshua Foer.


“The book talked about competitions where ordinary people tried to memorize the most numbers, cards, words or names. What shocked me is that none of the competitors had photographic memories,” said Graham, a native of Three Rivers. “They had all trained their memories with different techniques. I had always thought you were either born with a good memory, or you weren’t.”


Graham said he quickly learned how to memorize a shuffled deck of cards in about six minutes after a week of practicing the techniques. Now, he can perform the feat in about one minute.


Judges Mike Tyson, Christina Milian and Dr. Rahul Jandial in the all-new “Beyond The Imagination” series premiere episode of SUPERHUMAN airing Monday, June 12 (9:01-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo courtesy of FOX © 2017 FOX Broadcasting Co.)

“Most people would think that memory training would be boring and make their brain hurt, but the techniques are all about visualization and creativity. It’s actually really stimulating,” he said.


During his challenge on the show, Graham said his strategy involved taking the task one step at a time.


“When I was training in the weeks leading up to the show, I just kept telling myself, ‘You can absolutely do this; just stay focused.’ I tried really hard to tell myself that when the cameras were rolling, but the pressure of 400 people staring at me made it a lot harder than my practice sessions.”


Competing on “Superhuman” isn’t the first time Graham has tested his enhanced memory on a grand stage. In 2014, he competed in the World Memory Championships in China. A few months later, he competed in the 2015 USA Memory Championship in New York City and earned a 6th-place ranking.


“That’s when I really knew I was onto something,” said Graham, who currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his fiancée.


Graham’s road to competing on “Superhuman” began in 2016 when the show aired a special episode.


“I knew two memory contestants on that episode, and one of them actually won the whole thing,” recalled Graham, who majored in liberal studies with an emphasis in politics and public policy at Grand Valley. “I thought, ‘If he can do it, so can I.’”


A few months later, that contestant posted on Facebook that the show was searching for people with superhuman talents, so Graham applied.


While he can’t divulge details about the results of the episode, Graham said he enjoyed being treated like a celebrity on the set.

The producers, crew and judges were all very uplifting and encouraging throughout the experience,” Graham said. “When the van came for me and the other contestants at the airport, we felt like we were the X-Men or the Avengers gathering to save the day with our superpowers.”


Graham is currently in the final stages of completing a memory course that he will use to teach people how to have a “superhuman” memory similar to his. The course is available at memoryjohn.com. He also hopes to engage audiences interested in having enhanced memories through future public speaking opportunities.

VoiceGR community survey becomes VoiceKent, will cover entire county in 2017

By Nate Hoekstra



VoiceGR, Grand Rapids’ community survey, is expanding to become countywide thanks to a new partnership between the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). As VoiceKent, the survey will gather critical public health information from all areas of Kent County’s more than 600,000 residents.


The larger data collection area means that more valuable information will be available to community partners and nonprofits seeking to learn about the needs of Kent County’s many diverse communities beyond the Grand Rapids area.


The survey is available online at www.VoiceKent.org


“This partnership with the Kent County Health Department allows us to expand the data-collection area of the survey and explore public health with greater depth, as well as increase the usefulness of the survey within our community,” said Jodi Petersen, director of the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute (CRI) which conducts the survey each year. “This year’s survey results will build upon previous years’ data and provide access to more information for local stakeholders to inform their decision making.”


The survey, which collects responses from June-October, connects demographics with the opinions, attitudes and perceptions of Kent County residents on topics such as employment, education, racism and discrimination, ability to meet basic needs, access to health care and neighborhood safety. The data gathered from the survey will help create a baseline for conversations on these important community issues.


“This is a large, community-wide effort that will involve the participation of many Kent County agencies,” said Chelsey Saari, public health programs supervisor for the Kent County Health Department. “The KCHD and Healthy Kent are excited to partner with the Johnson Center on this project.”


By partnering with the Kent County Health Department and Healthy Kent, the Johnson Center hopes to increase the number of collected responses to more than 6,000.


Survey results will be released in spring 2018 and will help neighborhood associations, schools, nonprofits, funders, local government and businesses better plan their programming.


The survey is available online at www.VoiceKent.org and is open to all residents who live, work, or do business in Kent County.


The survey, originally called the Greater Grand Rapids Community Survey, began in 2001 as a phone survey to the owners of 500 randomly selected landline telephone numbers in the city of Grand Rapids. The methodology was revised in 2013, and the survey, renamed VoiceGR, grew to collect responses from more than 3,000 Grand Rapids area residents through a combination of paper and online surveys.


Healthy Kent is a collaborative effort to identify and address public health issues with the goal of improving community health through community action.


For more information, visit www.VoiceKent.org 

GVSU faculty member earns fellowship in Gerontological Society of America

Sandra Spoelstra

By Michele Coffill



A faculty research scientist in aging from the Kirkhof College of Nursing at Grand Valley State University was selected as a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.


Sandra Spoelstra, associate dean for research and scholarship, was nominated for the fellowship by KCON faculty members Cynthia Beel-Bates and Rebecca Davis, who are also GSA fellows.


The GSA will honor all fellows at its annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in November. Fellowships recognize people who have contributed outstanding and continuing work to the field of gerontology.


Spoelstra co-leads a program designed to help adults who live below the poverty line remain at home and within their communities rather than moving into a nursing home. The MiCAPABLE (Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders) program has successfully reduced falls and hospital admissions while improving a person’s ability to function in a home setting.


Spoelstra’s research team, including co-investigator Sarah Szanton, from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, received three grants to support implementing MiCAPABLE statewide next year.


Cynthia McCurren, dean of KCON, said, “This is a well-deserved honor for Dr. Spoelstra’s commitment to improving the overall well-being and health of older adults.”

GVSU Police Academy sees increased class size, diversity




By Dottie Barnes

Grand Valley State University


The Grand Valley State University Police Academy’s 2017 class is the largest in more than 13 years, with 40 recruits.


The class is also one of the most diverse, consisting of 12 women (11 white, one Asian) and 28 men (22 white, four African American, two Hispanic).


Williamson Wallace, director of Criminal Justice Training at Grand Valley, said 13 recruits are already employed by area law enforcement agencies that are sponsoring their training.


The academy is conducted annually during the spring/summer semester, May–August. Grand Valley’s academy goes beyond the mandatory minimum training requirement of 594 hours set by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and provides 653 hours of instruction in 16 weeks.


Wallace said the academy is a leader in the state, introducing innovative training methods and techniques that are setting the bar for law enforcement education.


City of Wyoming names new assistant city manager

Megan Sall

A familiar face has returned to the City of Wyoming this month as Megan Sall stepped into the role of assistant city manager.


In her new role, Sall will serve as the city manager’s principal representative in various administrative affairs with an emphasis on economic development and downtown development. She will also serve as communication director and will be responsible for managing the City’’s website, social media platforms and media inquiries. She will also be responsible for directing and monitoring city projects, acting as liaison between the city manager and department heads, community groups, boards and designated government agencies.


““We are excited to have Megan back at the City in this new and expanded role,”” said Wyoming City Manger Curtis Holt. ““She brings a passion for municipal work, community engagement and the City of Wyoming, along with a strong understanding of who we are.


“Megan’’s past work with us, along with the expertise and skills she has developed in the interim, will allow her to be a tremendous asset to our continued growth and development.””


Sall comes to the city with experience in economic development and governance in both local and national organizations. She began her career as assistant to the city manager in Wyoming before moving on to work as downtown development authority director and community services coordinator.


Sall then took the role of campaign coordinator and legislative aide for regional political and governing figures and went on to become program manager at International City/County Management Association in Washington, D.C. Returning to Grand Rapids, Sall worked as business development manager for The Right Place and then project and engagement manager at CQL Incorporated.


Sall received her bachelor’’s degree in international relations and her master’s in public administration from Grand Valley State University.


Sall is an active community member, serving on the board of Grand Valley State University. She also mentors at the Cook Leadership Academy at Grand Valley State University and has worked on the planning committee for the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference and as a cabinet member of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Gateway Transformation Campaign.


To learn more about Wyoming, visit the City website at www.wyomingmi.gov. Follow the City on Twitter @WyomingCityHall and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CityofWyoming.

GVSU Hauenstein Center Conservative/Progressive Summit set for May 4-6

By Nate Hoekstra, Grand Valley State University

Politics and discourse in America today are more contentious than ever, and engaging with people of opposing political views in a civil manner is often difficult for many.

Yet in the face of intense polarization, the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) will bring together more than two dozen nationally renowned scholars and writers to discuss the most difficult issues of modern American life and politics.

From May 4-6, the Hauenstein Center will host its annual Conservative/Progressive Summit, which will feature lectures and panel discussions specifically designed to bring serious, thoughtful discussion about the shifting political and intellectual terrain of American life to the forefront.

Speakers will include professors, authors, and journalists and contributors from media outlets including The Atlantic, The American Conservative, U.S. News and World Report, Vox, National Review, The New Republic, The Nation and more. Together, they will discuss political coverage in the media, religion and American civic life, the Trump administration, higher education, the history of conservative thought, the Constitution, and more.

A full event schedule along with speaker biographies and information can be found here.

What: Hauenstein Center Conservative/Progressive Summit

When: May 4-6, 2017

Where: Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium, Richard M. DeVos Center, 401 Fulton St. W., Grand Rapids, MI

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested here.
“The three-day conference will not pretend to find the answers to political division,” said Hauenstein Center director Gleaves Whitney. “Instead it will attempt to promote understanding of opposing viewpoints that are often absent from critical analysis among like-minded people.”

The summit is presented in partnership with the Kate and Richard Wolters Foundation, the Progressive Women’s Alliance of West Michigan and the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.

The annual summit is a one-of-a-kind event in political discourse, said Common Ground program manager Scott St. Louis.

“The Hauenstein Center’s Conservative/Progressive Summit is a unique event that showcases a broad range of American political thought on the same stage,” St. Louis said.

For more information, visit HauensteinCenter.org/RSVP.

Three community members to be honored at César E. Chávez celebration on May 5


By Michele Coffill, Grand Valley State University


The Committee to Honor César E. Chávez has partnered with the Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Unity Committee to host the 2017 César E. Chávez “5 de mayo” Celebration.


The public is invited to this annual event, Friday, May 5, at the museum, 272 Pearl St NW, from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per individual, or a table of 10 for $300; purchase tickets online here.


“We are proud to be a partner with the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez in hosting this important community celebration,” said Dale A. Robertson, Grand Rapids Public Museum president and CEO. “The museum is a fitting place for this historical event; we believe in the value of working together to share stories and lessons that inspire and expand cultural opportunities for all.”


Three community members will be honored for their service and social justice work:

  • Andrés Abreu, editor-in-chief, El Vocero Hispano;
  • Carol Hennessey, Kent County commissioner, 14th district; and
  • José Reyna, community health programs director for Spectrum Health.

The celebration will feature authentic Mexican food, music and dancing.


Area colleges and universities joining the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez to support this event include: Aquinas College, Calvin College, Kendall College of Art and Design, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, and Western Michigan University-Grand Rapids.


“Many of our campus partners serve a diverse populations and Grand Valley is proud to partner with and support this annual cultural event alongside our partner universities and colleges,” said Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity at Grand Valley.


The Proud Aguila sponsors of the event are AT&T, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Valley State University and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Lupe Ramos-Montigny “Si Se Puede” Legacy Endowed Scholarship at Grand Valley. Scholarships will be awarded in October to Hispanic students who are pursuing college degrees.


Questions about the event can be directed to Lupe Ramos-Montigny, chair of the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez, at lrmontigny@yahoo.com or 616.443.5922.

GVSU study: Local economic impact of Meijer Gardens is $75 million 

The crowds that come to Meijer Gardens, shown here for a summer concert, pump money into the local economy, according to a GVSU Study. (Supplied Meijer Gardens/Tony Norkus)

By Dottie Barnes

Grand Valley State University


The overall economic impact of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on Kent County is $75.2 million, which supports 804 jobs, according to a study by Grand Valley State University researchers.


The entrance to Meijer Gardens. (Supplied)

Economics professors Paul Isely and Christian Glupker, who conducted the study, reported that the annual economic impact of Meijer Gardens came from three components: the impact of visitor spending outside of the venue, the operations of the venue (including what visitors spend inside the venue) and construction spending.


Isely said one way Meijer Gardens adds to the regional economy is by bringing visitors to Kent County.


“As these individuals come to the county to visit, they spend money on food, lodging, entertainment, transportation and other items,” Isely said. “The combined dollar value of this spending translates into greater earnings for area employers and employees, as well as greater job creation.”


Glupker said direct spending by all visitors outside of Meijer Gardens is $22.7 million, with more than 86 percent of this coming from people outside of Kent County.


“The result is a lot of new dollars into Kent County,” Glupker said. “This happens because the venue draws 445,000 visitors from outside Kent County and each of these individuals spends more as a result of a visit to Meijer Gardens than a comparable local visitor.”


David Hooker, president and CEO of Meijer Gardens, commented on the study by saying: “Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has been embraced and supported by our wonderful community. It is with the community’s support that we can further our unique mission of horticulture and sculpture and bring joy to so many people. The Grand Valley study clearly shows the importance and support of the great cultural community that we have.”


Details of the study shows The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park supports or contributes:

• 804 jobs in Kent County annually

• A $75.2 million economic output annually

• Visitors from outside the county who directly spend $19.6 million at businesses around Kent County annually

• Construction that created 39 jobs during the last year

• 86 percent of visitor spending is the result of spending by individuals who do not live in Kent County

• Nonresidents spent an average $129 per group outside the venue during their visit to Meijer Gardens while in Kent County.


Pablo Mahave-Veglia is featured in a faculty recital at GVSU

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.


“The Road to Peace” Choral Concert
April 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

This choral concert featuring the University Singers and Women’s Select Ensemble from Grand Valley State University will present “The Road to Peace” — a compilation of songs written by composers from around the world speaking of peace. Selections during this concert will include “Prelude to Piece” by Z. Randall Stroope, “Homeland” by Gustav Holst, “The Peace of Wild Things” by Joan Szymko, “Still I Rise” by Rosephanye Powell, and many more.


GVSU Faculty Recital featuring Pablo Mahave-Veglia
April 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Pablo Mahave-Veglia, associate professor of music and Early Music Ensemble director at Grand Valley State University, will perform a rare five-string cello, assisted by Gregory Crowell, professor of organ and music general education at Grand Valley, on harpsichord during this free concert. The event is open to the public.


GVSU Varsity Men’s Glee Club Concert
April 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

The Grand Valley State University Varsity Men’s Glee Club performs during this free concert. The performance is open to the public.


GVSU Spring Dance Concert
April 22, at 7 p.m.
April 23, at 2 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Join the GVSU Dance Company and Freshman Dance Company as they perform a diverse collection of dance works choreographed by faculty and featured guest artists, including Autumn Eckman, Mark Haim, and Melissa Hale Coyle.

Jazz, Concert Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble all part of the GVSU line-up for this week

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.



Recital for International Guests of Grand Valley State University
April 12, from 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The Recital for International Guests promises to be a celebration of diversity at Grand Valley State University as several music majors from the U.S., South Korea and China will perform, including Da sol Um, Yushan Ying, Aileen Chung, Jinah Lee, Bryce Kyle, Anna Vander Boon and Grace Brylinski.


GVSU Concert Band Concert
April 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this April 12 performance, the Grand Valley State University Concert Band will perform “Euphoria” by John Frantzen, “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise” by Harry Alford, “Chester” by William Schuman, “Lights Out” by Alex Shapiro, “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold and “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa. The ensemble will be joined by Dan Graser, assistant professor of saxophone at Grand Valley, as a solosit for “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (La fille aux cheveux de lin)” by Claude Debussy.


GVSU Jazz Concert
April 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The GVSU Large and Small Jazz Ensembles will perform during this free concert that is open to the public.


GVSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert
April 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus 

This Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert will feature this year’s Concerto Competition Winners with Morales’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” played by a euphonium duo. The concert will also include “English Dances Set II” by Malcolm Arnold, “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull, “Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite” by Karl L. King, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pineapple Poll.”


Piano and Clarinet Studios of Helen Marlais and Arthur Campbell Recital
April 15, from 2-6 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Grand Valley State University students of Helen Marlais, associate professor of piano, and Arthur Campbell, professor of clarinet will perform during this free concert. This event is free and open to the public.


GVSU Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring Concerto Competition Winners
April 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this performance, Grand Valley State University will present its finest solo work with the Symphony Orchestra. The final concert of the season will begin with Nicolai’s delightful “Merry Wives of Windsor Overture” and will conclude as Henry Duitman, GVSU Symphony Orchestra director, conducts the ensemble in one of Richard Strauss’ monumental tone poems, “Death and Transfiguration.”

Two local historians receive Gordon Olson awards at GVSU event

The Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University presented two local historians with the Gordon Olson Award at a recent gathering.


Wallace “Wally” Ewing and Margaret (Peg) Finkelstein each received the award at the Local History Roundtable last month. The Olson Lifetime Contribution of Local History Award recognizes individuals for using history to give voice to diverse communities. It is named for Olson, former Grand Rapids historian.


  • Ewing has dedicated more than 20 years to researching and writing about the history of West Michigan, particularly the area between Holland and Muskegon and east to Coopersville and Grand Rapids. He has written 14 books and continues a bi-weekly column in the Grand Haven Tribune.


Ewing joined the board of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in 1994 and was appointed its curator of education, and has since devoted his time to research and writing.


  • Finkelstein has conducted lifelong research on logging, and is the keeper of her family history, which can be traced to the New France settlement of Quebec. She is the director of the Peg & Mort Finkelstein Archives at Temple Emanuel in Grand Rapids, with a goal to preserve the Jewish history within the Grand Rapids communities.


Finkelstein was invited by the director of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan to work on its current project, Michigan Women Who Have Made A Difference, Jewish Voices Project.


The Kutsche Office of Local History sponsors the Local History Roundtable annually for librarians, archivists, community members, educators and others who share a passion for local history. Learn more at www.gvsu.edu/kutsche.

Internationally acclaimed pianist to perform at GVSU during honorary recital

Boris Slutsky

By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


The halls of Grand Valley State University’s Performing Arts Center will be filled with the music of renowned composers Joseph Haydn, Frédéric Chopin and Maurice Ravel, during the 2017 Baum Series Recital.


The recital, featuring Boris Slutsky, internationally acclaimed pianist and chair of the Piano Department at The Peabody Conservatory of Music, will take place Sunday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in the Sherman Van Solkema Recital Hall (room 1325). The Performing Arts Center is located on the Allendale Campus.


Since his orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony in 1980, Slutsky has performed on nearly every continent as a soloist and recitalist. He emerged on the international music scene when he won the First Prize, along with every other major prize, at the 1981 William Kapell International Piano Competition at the University of Maryland.


Throughout his career, Slutsky has performed with the London Philharmonic, Bem Symphony Orchestra in Switzerland, Bergen Philharmonic in Norway and KBS Symphony Orchestra in Korea, among many others.


Born in Moscow into a family of musicians, Slutsky received his early training at Moscow’s Gnessin School for Gifted Children, and completed his formal studies at both Julliard School and Manhattan School of Music.


Slutsky’s recital is supported by the William C. Baum Endowment Fund at Grand Valley. The fund was established in 1998 to support professor emeritus William Baum’s two great passions: politics and classical music. The annual series features either a special speaker on issues in American law or a recital by a noted pianist.


The Baum Endowment was established to reflect the shared interests of Baum family members. Baum, who died in 2007, was a political science professor at Grand Valley for 40 years and retired in 2005. His wife, Nancy Baum, a Grand Valley dance educator, died in 2011. Their son Jefferson taught dance at Grand Valley from 2000-2007.


This concert is free and open to the public. For more information about the recital, contact the Music and Dance Department at 616-331-3484, or visit gvsu.edu/music.

GVSU senior dance concert and so much happening this spring

GVSU Cantate Chamber Ensemble

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.


Baum Series Recital: Boris Slutsky, piano
April 2, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Consistently acclaimed for his exquisite tonal beauty and superb artistry, Boris Slutsky emerged on the international music scene when he captured the First Prize along with every major prize, including the Audience Prize and Wihelm Backhaus Award, at the 1981 William Kapell International Piano Competition at the University of Maryland. His other accomplishments include first prizes at the Kosciuszko Chopin Competition and San Antonio International Keyboard Competition, and major prizes at the International Bach Competition in Memory of Glenn Gould, Gina Bachauer, Busoni, Rina Sala Gallo, and Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competitions. Since his orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony in 1980, Slutsky has appeared on nearly every continent as soloist and recitalist. He currently serves as the Piano Department chair at The Peabody Conservatory of Music.


GVSU Senior Dance Concert
April 7 and 8, at 7 p.m.
Dance Studio Theatre (room 1600), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Join GVSU Dance Program seniors as they showcase their choreography and performance in their Capstone concert. Original works will be presented by Delaney Dickens, Robin Hutchings, Amadeo Lopez-Keranen, Ashley Paradise and Kaye Suarez.


GVSU Early Music Ensemble Concert
April 8, at 5 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Under the direction of Pablo Mahave-Veglia, professor of cello at Grand Valley State University, the GVSU Early Music Ensemble will be joined by Gregory Crowell, professor of organ and music general education at Grand Valley, as well as guest artists Sarah Huebsch (oboe), Leighann Daihl (flute), and Keith Collins (bassoon). Repertoire for this performance will include works by Bach, Telemann, Monteverdi, and others. The GVSU Early Music Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of pre-classical repertoire utilizing period instruments, or faithful modern replicas, as well as historically informed performance practice.


GVSU University Arts Chorale and Cantate Chamber Ensemble Concert
April 9, at 5 p.m.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (134 Division Ave. North, Grand Rapids)

A part of the Sacred Sounds Concert Series, the Grand Valley Cantate Chamber Ensemble and University Arts Chorale will present a varied concert of choral music including “Lobet den Herrn” by Johann Sebastian Bach, “Alleluia” by Paul Basler and works by Daniel Elder and Kim Arnessen.


GVSU Low Brass Chamber Music Concert
April 9, from 7:30-8:45 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Members of the GVSU Tuba and Euphonium Studio, and Trombone Studio will showcase their chamber music talents through a performance of classical, romantic and contemporary compositions.



Philosopher to discuss anger in politics at April 4 Hauenstein Center event

Barbara C. Nussbaum

By Nate Hoekstra, GVSU


Does getting mad about politics work?


Politics in the United States today is an exceptionally divisive topic, and has generated significant anger among many political circles — an emotional response that influential philosopher Martha Nussbaum will argue isn’t the best way to generate change.


Nussbaum, a world-renowned philosopher, author and law professor, will discuss anger and its place in politics and personal lives, while addressing its effectiveness as a change agent. Martha Nussbaum: Anger and Revolutionary Justice will be hosted by Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies on Tuesday, April 4 at 7 pm at the L.V. Eberhard Center, Grand Valley State University’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus.


The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested at hauensteincenter.org/rsvp.


Nussbaum, recently named the 2017 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will discuss the concept that anger is not an effective response to perceived injustice, noting that three of recent history’s great freedom movements were directed by leaders who aspired to non-anger, including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela.


She will discuss her book Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice and explore why there will always be a need for leaders who can recognize the humanity of people who think differently when the stakes are high.


Nussbaum’s Jefferson Lecturer distinction is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. She is also the University of Chicago’s Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics. In 2016, she was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy. Other awards include The Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and the American Philosophical Association’s Philip Quinn Prize.


She is one of only two women to give the John Locke Lectures at Oxford, the most eminent lecture series in the field of philosophy.


Nussbaum has taught at Harvard, Brown University and Oxford, and has published 24 books and more than 500 academic papers.


For more information, visit hauensteincenter.org

GVSU Wesorick Center, KCAD partner to host artist for lecture, exhibition



By Michele Coffill

Grand Valley State University


Nationally recognized artist Ted Meyer believes in the power of art to heal both physical and emotional scars.


Through a collaboration between The Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation at Grand Valley State University and Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD), Meyer will visit West Michigan to discuss his journey and share stories of the patients he has chronicled on canvas.


He will present a lecture at Grand Valley in conjunction with an exhibit of his artwork at KCAD. Details of these events, which are free and open to the public, are below.


• “Art and Healing,” a collaborative exhibition between KCAD students and Meyer will run March 21 – April 8 at KCAD’s Helen Miller Kendall Gallery, 17 Fountain St. NW. More information at www.kcad.edu/events/healing-through-art/.


• “Scarred for Life: Healing Through Art,” the Distinguished Wesorick Lectureship, sponsored by the Wesorick Center, is Tuesday, March 28, from 1-2 p.m. at the DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium, on the GVSU Pew Grand Rapids Campus. RSVP online at www.gvsu.edu/wesorick/.


• Meyer will give an informal presentation on March 28 from 5-6 p.m. at the Mary Idema Pew Library on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. This event is sponsored by several Grand Valley departments and colleges.


Meyer will discuss his project, “Scarred for Life: Monoprints of Human Scars,” which highlights the courage of people who have been in medical crises or accidents through artwork. Evelyn Clingerman, executive director of the Wesorick Center, said research shows that engaging with art has positive health and spiritual benefits.


“In the Wesorick Center we role-model and teach others how to create places where people can thrive, not simply survive, and how to apply a health care paradigm that is more than fixing a scar or a body part,” Clingerman said. The Wesorick Center is an endowed center promoting interprofessional collaboration through the Kirkhof College of Nursing.


Sarah Joseph, KCAD director of exhibitions, said she is proud to collaborate with the Wesorick Center and Grand Valley for Meyer’s exhibition.


“Ted’s work is a powerful reminder of how integral art is to the human experience,” Joseph said. “We look forward to seeing the community enlivened and inspired by Ted’s work and mission.”


Meyer is the current artist-in-residence at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. His artwork has been displayed internationally at museums, hospitals and galleries. Learn more about Meyer at www.tedmeyer.com.

Grandson of Cesar Chavez to give keynote at GVSU

Andrés Chavéz

By Leah Twilley

Grand Valley State University


A presentation by Andrés Chavéz, grandson of labor leader and civil rights activist César E. Chávez, will kick off Grand Valley State University’s annual César Chávez Celebration.


His presentation, “Latinos Millennials to be the Voice of Change,” will take place March 24 at 11 a.m. in the Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center. A meet and greet reception will follow.


Andrés was raised during the farm worker movement, which was founded by his grandfather. He has participated in social justice activities and demonstrations, including ones for immigration reform. He is currently attending California State University, Bakersfield, where he is majoring in public policy and administration.


Additional events, which are free and open to the public, are highlighted below. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/oma.


• LSAU Dinner and Dance, “Feria De Las Flores,” March 24, 8 p.m., Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center: The Latino Student Union will host a night of free food and open dance.

• “Contemporary Mexican Cinema: Romantic Comedies, Democracy, Border Crossing and Crisis of National Identities,” March 30, 4-5 p.m., room 2215, Kirkhof Center. Ignacio Sánchez Prado, professor of Spanish, Latin American Studies and Film and Media Studies at Washington University, will give a presentation on Mexican cinema.

• Grand Rapids Latin American Film Festival, March 31-April 2, Wealthy Street Theatre, Grand Rapids: Films are free to attend and will be presented with English subtitles. Visit www.grlaff.org for more information.


March 31 is César Chávez Day, the federal holiday that celebrates the legacy of Chavez, who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962.


The celebration is organized by Grand Valley’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and WGVU Public Media, with support from numerous campus departments.

Ancient text translated for modern theater production of ‘Helen’ at GVSU

By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


As the legend is told, Helen of Sparta was the most beautiful woman in all of Greece. “The face that launched a thousand ships” fled to Troy with Paris, son of the Trojan king Priam, to escape her husband Menelaus. This act of treachery instigated the 10-year Trojan War.


But, what if Helen never fled to Troy? That is the question proposed by Euripides, an ancient Greek playwright, in his play “Helen.” The play, first produced in 412 B.C., has been translated for modern audiences by Diane Rayor, professor of classics at Grand Valley State University, and will be performed by students.


Productions of “Helen” will take place March 24, 25, 30, 31 and April 1 at 7:30 p.m., and March 26 and April 2 at 2 p.m. All performances will take place in Louis Armstrong Theatre, located in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and Grand Valley alumni, faculty and staff, and $6 for student groups. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Louis Armstrong Box Office at (616) 331-2300.


There will also be many additional events during the run of “Helen.” For a full list of related events, visit http://gvsu.edu/s/0pb.


In Euripides’ play, Helen never went to Troy. Instead, the gods made Paris a phantom Helen from a cloud and sent the real Helen to Egypt for safe-keeping during the Trojan War, which was subsequently fought over the fake Helen. Seventeen years later, Menelaus lands shipwrecked in Egypt with his reclaimed phantom bride, and the real Helen attempts to convince him that she is the true Helen in order to avoid marrying the Egyptian king.


Rayor spent much of 2016 translating Euripides’ writing into modern English through a grant from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation. When translating ancient texts into performance pieces, Rayor said collaboration with all parties involved in a production is key.


“By revising a draft in collaboration with actors and their director during rehearsals, I fine-tune the translation into a truly actable script that combines accuracy with lively performance,” she explained. “When someone stumbles on a line, asks what something means, or unconsciously changes something, those are all clues to me that revisions need to happen.”


Mallory Caillaud-Jones, a senior majoring in theater who portrays Helen in the production, said participating in the translation process helped her connect to her character more deeply.


“This process allows us to have a voice in how we think our characters would word certain things, which in turn bring us closer to them,” she said. “It is very daunting to have to put yourself into the mind of a character whose entire life has been derailed by hundreds of people dying in her name because of a war her husband waged as a result of his hurt pride.”


In addition to assisting with the script, Caillaud-Jones said she is excited to portray a strong female character on stage.


“Almost all the ancient texts that refer to Helen portray her as a passive subject of desire for men, but this is the only tale in which she takes control and tells the story as it truly happened,” she explained. “It is unfortunately rare to find strong female characters in both contemporary and classical plays, but this play is extremely female centered.”


“Helen” draws expertise from not only the theater and classics departments at Grand Valley, but also the departments of music and dance, and art and design.


Nayda Collazo-Llorens, a visual artist currently serving as the Art and Design Department’s Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, has created video projections that will be used during the production. Also, Pablo Mahave-Veglia, Early Music Ensemble director and associate professor of cello, will perform the music of “Helen,” along with, at times, a chorus of 13 female student voices.


“I think that audiences will find the play to be a completely sensory experience due to the combination of live actors, video and music, much like what we would think of as a piece of installation art,” said Karen Libman, professor of theater and “Helen” director. “My hope is that the play will provoke pleasure and interest because it is so unique, and then maybe cause the audience to reflect on their own perceptions and well-loved myths.”

Annual march honors legacy of Chavez

Committee to Honor César E. Chávez Chairperson Lupe Ramos-Montigny

By Michele Coffill

Grand Valley State University


Leaders from Grand Valley State University will join hundreds of college and K-12 students, community leaders and advocates at the 17th Annual César E. Chávez Social Justice March on Thursday, March 16.


• Details: The march will begin at 11 a.m. at the Cook Center Library, 1100 Grandville Ave. SW.


The march will cover the length of César E. Chávez Boulevard, celebrating the work and legacy of Chávez, and end with a community gathering at 11:30 a.m. at Potter’s House Church, 811 Chicago Dr., SW.


Grand marshals are President Juan R. Olivarez, Aquinas College, and President Steven C. Ender, Grand Rapids Community College.


Lupe Ramos-Montigny, committee chair, said the program is dedicated to “A Day Without Immigrants.”


Proceeds from a luncheon later in the afternoon will benefit a scholarship at Grand Valley that honors Ramos-Montigny.


Details are posted on Facebook, search for the Committee to Honor César E. Chávez.

River City Water Festival celebrates role of Grand River

By Dottie Barnes

Grand Valley State University


The third annual River City Water Festival, a community event celebrating the Grand River and its role in shaping the city of Grand Rapids, will be held March 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.


The free event is sponsored by the Groundswell initiative through the College of Education at Grand Valley State University in partnership with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.


The festival will feature hands-on, educational activities designed to engage participants about the need to protect water resources. Participants will learn how small actions at home can make a big difference in the quality of the Grand River.


An awards ceremony at 11 a.m. will be held to honor the top three winners of the Water Superhero Poster Contest that was open to area 5th, 6th and 7th grade students. The grand prize went to Jolene Barcelo, a 5th grade student at Grand Rapids Montessori. The top 20 posters will be on display at the museum during the festival.


Festival activities will be led by Grand Valley’s Annis Water Resources Institute, the Blandford Nature Center, John Ball Zoo, Plaster Creek Stewards, the City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department, Kent Conservation District, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, and more.


Financial support for the event comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, as well as Grand Valley’s College of Education.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl St. NW. For more information visit http://groundswellmi.org/river-city-water-festival.

GVSU composition competition to examine media overload





By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


Grand Valley State University students will put their composing skills to the test when they create original pieces of music for an upcoming competition inspired by the current Art Gallery exhibition “Comfortably Numb.”


The one-minute compositions will be performed by Grand Valley’s award-winning New Music Ensemble in rapid succession and judged by a guest panel and the listening audience for various prizes.


The competition will take place Friday, March 17, from 7:30-9:30 p.m., in the Art Gallery (room 1121), located in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus.


“Comfortably Numb,” created by Nayda Collazo-Llorens, combines more than 2,000 pieces of clippings from various magazines and other printed materials, and stands nine feet high and spans across 45 feet of wall space. Collazo-Llorens, the Art and Design Department’s Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, said the piece spotlights media overload in today’s world.


Jack Sligh, a senior majoring in music composition, said he approached his two composition submissions in very different ways.


“One is a straightforward interpretation of media overload during which the instruments all start to blur together into a mess,” he said. “The other is a stylistic subversion of the whole idea based on the title in a jolly style as an old-timey folk tune. If we are in fact comfortably numb to all of this daily media exposure, then we’re left with something completely normal.”


The exhibition serves as one of the culminating projects of Collazo-Llorens’ residency as the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence. Her residency will conclude at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.


“Comfortably Numb” will be on display through March 31. For more information about the composition competition or the exhibition, visit gvsu.edu/artgallery.

Holocaust survivor to visit Grand Valley State University

Magda Brown

A woman who survived the Holocaust and escaped imprisonment will give a presentation at Grand Valley State University on March 15, as part of Women’s History Month.


In 1944, Magda Brown, from Hungary, was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland, where she was separated from her family. She spent time at a work camp before escaping with several other prisoners during a march to Buchenwald. They were discovered and liberated by American soldiers. Brown, now 89 years old, moved to the U.S. in 1946. She is a great aunt of Samantha Murray, a Grand Valley student who is president of the university’s Hillel chapter.


Brown’s presentation will take place from 7-9 p.m. in room 2250 of the Kirkhof Center on the Allendale Campus.


Magda Brown at a younger age.

Hillel member Robin Hutchings said Brown’s presentation will be recorded and donated to Grand Valley’s archives for future campus community members to watch.


“Magda loves presenting to university students because she feels we have a great ability to make change in our societies,” said Hutchings.


Brown was united with her brother, Miklos Brown, in 1962. For 40 years, Brown worked in a physician’s office as a certified medical assistant. She is an active member and past president of the American Association of Medical Assistants, Illinois Society. She is also a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Learn more about Brown at www.magdabrown.com.

Author of ‘The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas’ to visit March 22 & 23

By Jennifer Jameslyn, GVSU


Interested in attending the author lectures, or meeting the author? Anand Giridharadas will be giving two public lectures:


March 22, 7 pm, Herrick District Library in Holland, Michigan


March 23, 7 pm, Grand River Room, Kirkhof Center, GVSU Allendale campus


Grand Valley State University’s Community Reading Project is a signature program of  Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Each year, the project selects one book to explore through discussion, co-curricular programming, classroom study and hands-on experiences in the Grand Rapids community. The year culminates in a visit from the author.


This year’s selection is The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, by Anand Giridharadas.


Imagine that a terrorist tried to kill you. If you could face him again, on your terms, what would you do? The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed “American terrorist” named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. Two other victims, at other gas stations, aren’t so lucky, dying at once.


The True American traces the making of these two men, Stroman and Bhuiyan, and of their fateful encounter. It follows them as they rebuild shattered lives—one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.


Ten years after the shooting, an Islamic pilgrimage seeds in Bhuiyan a strange idea: if he is ever to be whole, he must reenter Stroman’s life. He longs to confront Stroman and speak to him face to face about the attack that changed their lives. Bhuiyan publicly forgives Stroman, in the name of his religion and its notion of mercy. Then he wages a legal and public-relations campaign, against the State of Texas and Governor Rick Perry, to have his attacker spared from the death penalty.


Ranging from Texas’s juvenile justice system to the swirling crowd of pilgrims at the Hajj in Mecca; from a biker bar to an immigrant mosque in Dallas; from young military cadets in Bangladesh to elite paratroopers in Israel; from a wealthy household of chicken importers in Karachi, Pakistan, to the sober residences of Brownwood, Texas, The True American is a rich, colorful, profoundly moving exploration of the American dream in its many dimensions. Ultimately it tells a story about our love-hate relationship with immigrants, about the encounter of Islam and the West, about how—or whether—we choose what we become.


Watch the author’s TED talk here to get an overview of the events of the book and their connection to present day issues:


You can participate in a virtual book discussion led by GVSU Brooks College alum Ashley Nickels here.


Check out the author’s most recent article, connecting the events of True American to the tragic shootings of two Indian immigrants in Kansas here.



On the shelf: New GVSU book highlights the life and art of Mathias J. Alten

A new publication spotlights the life and artistic works of Mathias J. Alten, who called the city of Grand Rapids his home. Grand Valley State University owns the largest known single public collection of Alten’s works and papers in the world.


The book, entitled “Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy,” is a hard cover monograph that includes color illustrations and scholarly essays exploring Alten’s artistic legacy.


Grand Valley’s George and Barbara Gordon Gallery currently displays 96 pieces of Alten’s work. His vast résumé of creations has also been exhibited widely at major American art institutions, and many can be seen in various buildings around Grand Rapids.


Stacey Burns, Galleries and Collections program manager, said the book celebrates the ongoing gifts to the university of Alten paintings by individuals from around the U.S., and by lead donors George and Barbara Gordon.


“The book demonstrates Grand Valley’s commitment to active scholarship and visual learning,” she said. “The Gordon’s underwrote the production of this book and share in the Art Gallery’s ambition of enriching the quality of life for students and the community through direct engagement with original works of art.”


A native of Germany, Alten immigrated to Grand Rapids as a teenager. Often referred to as the “Dean of Michigan Painters,” Alten spent his career painting in Europe and across the U.S., but always returned to Grand Rapids, his professional base of operations and home until his death in 1938.


The book will make its public debut during a special community open house Friday, March 3, from 3 – 5 p.m. in the Gordon Gallery, located in Building E of Grand Valley’s DeVos Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.


“We planned the open house to be a respite from winter where educators, students, the regional museum community and the public could visit the gallery and share experiences, ask questions and explore ideas,” said Burns.


“Mathias J. Alten: An Evolving Legacy” will be available for purchase at Grand Valley’s Laker Store beginning March 3.


To RSVP for the community open house, contact the Art Gallery at (616) 331-2563 or gallery@gvsu.edu. More information can also be found at gvsu.edu/artgallery.

Grand Valley Writers Series continues with authors Vievee Francis and Matthew Olzmann

Vievee Francis

Authors Vievee Francis and Matthew Olzmann are the next featured writers for the Grand Valley Writers Series set for Mon. Feb. 27.


The presentation will take place at the Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids. There will be a craft talk from 6 – 7 p.m. at the DeVos Center in room 203 E and then a reading and book signing from 7:30 – 8:50 p.m. at the University Club in the DeVos Center.


Francis is the author of three books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly, Horse in the Dark and the recently released Forest Primeval, which was a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award. She is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Prize and a Kresge Fellowship. Francis’ work has appeared in numerous publications including Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, among others. She is currently an associate professor of English at Dartmouth College and an associate editor for Callaloo.


Matthew Olzmann

Olzmann is the author of Mezzanines, selected for the Kundiman Prize. His second book, Contradictions in the Design, was released in 2016. Olzmann received scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, the Kresge Arts Foundation and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Necessary Fiction, Brevity, Southern Review and elsewhere. He teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program for writers at Warren Wilson College.

GVSU offers a number of free music and dance programs

Valentine’s Day may be over, but there are still plenty of fun things to do in the month of February, all of which are free and open to the public. Grand Valley State University has a number of options to fill up the month. Here is a sampling.


GVSU Choral Concert – “Songs of Love”
Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Cook-DeWitt Center, Allendale Campus

This concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature the Cantate Chamber Ensemble and Select Women’s Ensemble, under the direction of Ellen Pool, and the University Singers, under the direction of Shirley Lemon. The concert will feature songs of love from many different genres, including jazz, spirituals and folk songs.


GVSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert
Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus


Great American Voices Series Collaboration Concert
February 25 and 26, at 7:30 p.m.
Park Church (10 E Park Pl NE, Grand Rapids)

Building on the success of the February 2015 Collaboration Concert at Park Church, this year’s collaboration will include the GVSU University Arts Chorale, Park Church Chancel Choir, and West Michigan’s Holland Chorale. The concert will begin with Patrick Coyle, Park Church minister of music, conducting the Park Chancel Choir and the Holland Chorale, accompanied by the GVSU Chamber Orchestra, in a performance of Haydn’s “Lord Nelson Mass.” The evening will conclude with two sections of Alexander Borodin’s powerful opera, “Prince Igor.”  The GVSU Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Henry Duitman, will present the rousing “Overture” and then the three choirs, 120 voices strong, will join the orchestra for the opera’s exhilarating “Polovetsian Dances.” Proceeds from the offering will benefit string scholarships at Grand Valley.


GVSU Concert Band Performance
Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus


GVSU Jazz Concert
March 2, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The GVSU Large and Small Jazz Ensembles will perform during this free concert that is open to the public.


GVSU’s Arts at Noon series continues with the Hildegard Singers

Hildegard Singers


The 39th season of Grand Valley State University’s Arts at Noon concert series continues Wednesday, Feb. 22, when the Hildegard Singers come to the Allendale campus.


Based in Grand Rapids, the Hildegard Singers are three professional vocalists who were convened in 2011 to celebrate the beautiful and timeless music of Hildegard of Bingen, a German Benedictine abbess, writer, composer, philosopher, and Christian mystic. The ensemble, comprised of Diane Penning, Lisa Walhout and Barbara McCargar, also perform other medieval vocal music treasures, including Gregorian chant, Spanish and French pilgrimage music, and French, German and English motets and carols.


All Arts at Noon concerts during the 39th season of the popular series will take place in the Cook-DeWitt Center on the Allendale Campus, begin at noon, and last approximately one hour. Every concert is free and open to the public.