Tag Archives: GVSU

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 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.

WKTV 25 to air ‘People’s History: LGBTQ in Grand Rapids’ June 14th & 17th

By Victoria Mullen, WKTV


June is Gay Pride Month, and to commemorate the end of the June 1969 Stonewall riots, WKTV will air a special documentary, People’s History: LGBTQ in Grand Rapids on WKTV 25 on Wednesday, June 14 at 12 p.m. and Saturday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m.


The Stonewall Riots precipitated the gay rights movement around the world.


Produced by Girbe Eefsting and Thomas Henry in 2011, People’s History: LGBTQ in Grand Rapids runs 1 hour, 42 minutes and includes material culled from over 70 interviews conducted by Jeff Smith. The full interviews are archived at the Milt Ford LGBT Center at Grand Valley State University.


“I can’t say that the documentary will do this for everyone, but it changed my life,” said Eefsting, who was inspired by the stories shared by the interviewees. “It changed my consciousness.


“The first question we asked each person was, ‘How did you come to terms with your sexuality?’ Eefsting said. “And it occurred to me that I never had to ask myself that question.”


The Grand Rapids People’s History Project was inspired by radical historian and author of A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn, who passed away in 2010. It uses the insurgent and radical people’s history approach that Zinn developed and is being continued through the Zinn Education Project.

The first Pride Celebration took place in 1988 in downtown Grand Rapids at the Monroe Amphitheater (now Rosa Parks Circle). Watch footage of that event here.

“I make documentaries to remind people that we have the power to make social change,” said Eesting. “This is evident throughout history.”

The Grand Rapids People’s History Project’s goal is to research and create media that gives voice to the people and movements in Grand Rapids that are often marginalized or ignored by “official” history. It also seeks to provide a context for the struggles against systems of oppression that have denied people basic rights and the opportunity for collective liberation.

GVSU receives gold status from national sustainability group

By Leah Twilley, Grand Valley State University


Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has again received gold status after completing a sustainability assessment developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.


The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) gauges the progress of colleges and universities toward sustainability in all sectors, including education and research, operations, innovation and planning, and administration and engagement. Grand Valley joins gold STARS institutions such as Oregon State, Arizona State and Texas A&M University.


“At Grand Valley, sustainability is not an empty buzzword — it is ingrained in every practice,” said Anne Hiskes, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, which houses the Office of Sustainability Practices. “This is a great collective achievement of all colleges and divisions, and recognizes Grand Valley’s leadership in sustainability best practices and education not only among its students, faculty and staff, but among the communities of West Michigan as well.”


This is the fourth time GVSU has participated in the program. GVSU became the first Michigan university to receive gold status in 2013, and again in 2014, up from silver status in 2011.


This year, GVSU’s score increased from 66.05 to 70.80. Yumi Jakobcic, campus sustainability coordinator, credits the improved score to incremental increases across the board.


“Sustainability is a collective effort,” Jakobcic said. “We continue to offer more classes containing sustainability-related content and the number of professors engaged in sustainability-related research has increased. Our biggest improvement was in the waste category due to the university’s Surplus Store, and our score for buildings increased as well.”


The self-reporting assessment included more than 900 questions and includes bronze, silver, gold and platinum statuses. View the full report here.


For more information, contact the Grand Valley Office of Sustainability Practices at 616.331.7366.

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 education vessel receives new radar, weather equipment

Grand Valley State University’s Grand Haven-based education and research vessel, the D.J. Angus, is kicking off the 2017 summer research season with new hardware that enhances the vessel’s education and research abilities.


The boat underwent the upgrades during the winter off-season to bring on-board equipment up to the same standard as the Angus’ sister boat, the W.G. Jackson which is located in Muskegon Lake at the Annis Water Resources Institute.


The updated equipment includes camera safety systems, an integrated touchscreen display for navigation, high-definition radar systems, Automated Identification System (AIS) and new digital weather sensors. The equipment enhances the educational mission of the boat, which is primarily used for K-12 outreach education programs. The radar, navigation and camera updates enhance ease of operation and safety.


“We replaced analog equipment with digital equipment and made several improvements that enhance the efficiency and safety of the vessel,” fleet captain Tony Fiore said. “It gives us access to navigation charts digitally instead of on paper, so the information is more accurate. It helps us with safety when we’re under way.”


Camera upgrades mean that the captain of the vessel can see, in real-time, what’s happening in all areas of the boat from the wheelhouse, including inside the engine room and on the back research deck. Having that information helps in case of emergency, Fiore said.


Navigation is also greatly improved, as a community data-sharing program provides all vessels that use the RayMarine system with crowd-sourced depth information rather than charts which can become outdated with time.


Even though the boat mainly serves AWRI’s educational outreach program, these upgrades also mean that should a researcher need to use the D.J. Angus instead of the W.G. Jackson the instrumentation and data collection systems are similar. The new weather sensors digitally track wind speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, temperature and more.


For more information on the Annis Water Resources Institute, visit gvsu.edu/wri.

GVSU reports regional impact of $816 million


By Mary Eilleen Lyon, Grand Valley State University

The annual economic impact that Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has on the region is estimated at $816 million. Grand Valley issued its yearly tri-county economic impact report during its April 28 Board of Trustees meeting held at the L. William Seidman Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

The economic impact report covers Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties and used 2015-2016 data. Grand Valley employs more than 3,600 people and enrolls more than 25,400 students who spend money and pay taxes in the region.

Some additional highlights of this year’s report include:

  • New construction and renovations pumped more than $83 million into the local economy in 2016, creating more than 1,760 trade and construction jobs.
  • Construction of the $37.5 million Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall will be finished in May 2018 and will expand Grand Valley’s health campus in Grand Rapids.
  • On the Allendale Campus, an addition to the Performing Arts Center will add 44,000-square-feet of additional space to the existing building. The $20-million project will be finished in August.
  • Grand Valley alumni now number more than 106,000 and nearly half are living or working in West Michigan’s tri-county area.

The entire Economic Impact brochure can be found at http://www.gvsu.edu/economicimpact.

For more information on Grand Valley’s impact visit www.gvsu.edu/accountability.

In other board action/discussion, the board approved a resolution for:

  • Reauthorization of three charter schools (Global Heights Academy in Dearborn Heights, Legacy Charter Academy in Detroit, Statewide Cyber);
  • The authorization of a new school (Flint Cultural Center STEAM Academy);
  • The approval of a site addition for another school (Michigan Mathematics and Science Academy in Center Line);
  • The merger of Detroit Achievement Academy and Detroit Prep;
  • The approval of new Charter Contract Terms and Conditions for 6a, 6e, and 6c schools;
  • The appointment or reappointment of charter school board members to GVSU-authorized public school academy boards.


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.

Two GVSU students from Kentwood received scholarships to study abroad

Kentwood resident and GVSU student Holly Miller

Two Kentwood residents were among the nearly two dozen Grand Valley State University students selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for terms during the 2016-2017 academic year to help fund opportunities to study abroad.


Shukri Bana and Holly Miller both participated in the program during the summer of 2016. Bana studies were in Women and Gender and English in South Africa while Miller studied Chinese in China.


“The impacts of my study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa are numerous,” said Bana in a released statement. “I learned so much about South African history, visited key sights, became close with 13 of my peers and sixth grade South African learners, and the  mountains are pretty beautiful, too.


“In those six weeks, I learned about justice, freedom, solidarity, and activism in a way that radically altered my outlook on my education at Grand Valley.”


Kentwood resident and GVSU student Shukri Bana

The scholarships, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, are awarded to high-achieving students to help diversify the students who study and serve internships abroad, as well as the regions where they work and study.


Gilman Scholars receive up to $5,000 to apply toward their study abroad or internship program costs. Students receiving a Federal Pell Grant from two- and four-year institutions who will be studying abroad or participating in a career-oriented international internship for academic credit are eligible to apply.


Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, countries, languages and economies, making them better prepared to assume leadership roles within government and the private sector.


There was a total of 4,627 applicants with 1,197 American undergraduate students from 377 colleges and universities were award scholarships for the Summer 2016. Grand Valley had 13 students for the summer program. About 2,900 American undergraduate students applied for the Fall 2016 semester with Grand Valley having three students being awarded scholarships. For the Winter 2017 students, there was 2,700 applicants with Grand Valley having four students receiving scholarships.






The program is administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).


For more information on competitive scholarships and fellowships, visit gvsu.edu/fellowships.

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.”

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

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.

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.



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.


‘Detroit’ play to be completely produced, performed by GVSU students


By Matthew Makowski

Grand Valley State University


Robbie Bell has dreamed of working for the Walt Disney Company since his childhood.


“Ever since I discovered my true passion for theater, I decided that I could combine the two,” he recalled. “I would love to be a show designer or director for one of the Walt Disney theme parks, or maybe even Disney on Broadway.”


Bell, a senior majoring in theater, is taking one step closer to achieving his dream by sitting in the director’s chair for the first time for the Theater Department’s upcoming production of “Detroit.”


The production is a part of the department’s annual Performance Studio Series, which gives upper-level theater students the opportunity to use the practical skills they have learned in the classroom. During P.S. Series productions, students have creative control over directing, acting, backstage production, set design and costume design.


“Detroit,” a play written by Lisa D’Amour that, ironically, has nothing to do with Detroit, depicts Mary and Ben living in a suburb near an unnamed mid-sized city. Mary and Ben are hosting new neighbors, Sharon and Kenny, who live next door in a rented house, for a friendly backyard barbecue. The gathering spirals into a deliriously dangerous revelry when themes of suburban troubles related to upward mobility, spousal relationships and economic anxiety take over.


Bell said he chose “Detroit” because it takes place in the unique and intimate setting of a backyard, but also for its message.


“I love this play because it is genuinely funny, but, most importantly, I chose ‘Detroit’ for its message that everyone has a secret struggle that they’re dealing with,” he explained. “This is what I believe makes us all the same on some level, and you really cannot judge a book by its cover for this reason.”


“Detroit” will not be Hannah Frank’s first time acting as stage manager for a Grand Valley production. She filled the same production role for 2016’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author,” and 2015’s P.S. Series production of “Café Murder.”


Frank said she enjoys “Detroit” for its dynamic cast of characters.


“I love the complexity of ‘Detroit.’ You think you know who the characters are, but by the end of the show, you’re questioning them,” said Frank, a senior majoring in theater. “I love how crazy the characters are and how much they contrast against each other.”


Performances of “Detroit” will take place Friday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. in Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Performing Arts Centers on the Allendale Campus. Tickets are $6 for general admission. For more information, call the Louis Armstrong Theatre box office at (616) 331-2300.

‘Sweeney Todd’ is the upcoming production of GVSU Opera Theatre

Benjamin Barker is a barber unjustly imprisoned for years by a corrupt judge. He returns to London bent on revenge under the guise of Sweeney Todd.


GVSU Opera Theatre presents the darkly hilarious and indiscriminately dangerous “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” Feb. 2 – 5 and 10 – 12 at Grand Valley State University’s Performing Art sCenter, located on the GVSU Allendale campus. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.


Tickets are $14 for adults; $12 for alumni, seniors, faculty and staff and $6 for students and groups. 


For more information, contact the Louis Armstrong Theatre Box Office at 616-331-2300.

National speakers highlight GVSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. week

Kevin Powell, author and president of BK Nation

By Michele Coffill

Grand Valley State University


Two nationally known speakers will highlight Grand Valley State University’s commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Kevin Powell is an activist, author and president of BK Nation, a national organization based in New York City centered on grassroots activism, pop culture, technology, and social media to spark projects and campaigns. He has written 12 books, the most recent is “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”


Powell will be the keynote speaker on Monday, Jan. 16, at 1:30 p.m. in the Fieldhouse Arena on the Allendale Campus.


Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia law schools. She coined two terms — critical race theory and intersectionality — that have proved foundational in many areas of study. She is a leading voice in calling for a gender-inclusive approach to racial justice interventions, having spearheaded the Why We Can’t Wait Campaign and co-authored “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected,” and “Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.”


Crenshaw will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room, Allendale Campus. This presentation will be simulcast to an audience in the DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium, on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus. 


Both events are free and open to the public.


Many free events are planned on the Allendale Campus for Jan. 16, which marks the fifth year that classes have been canceled on the national King holiday, allowing more students, faculty and staff members to participate in events. Visit www.gvsu.edu/mlk for details.


Commemoration events continue Tuesday, Jan. 17, when the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host “Race and the American Dream” at 7 p.m. in the Eberhard Center. Nikole Hannah-Jones, staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, will join Jason Riley, columnist and editorial board member at the Wall Street Journal, for a dialogue on the progress that has been made since the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the challenges that continue to exist. It is free and open to the public; RSVP online at www.hauensteincenter.org/RSVP.


Grand Valley will close its week of events on Saturday, Jan. 21, when hundreds of students will volunteer their time in the community by working at different locations.

Musical Tradition and Timeless Memories: Handel’s ‘Messiah’ Dec. 5

Holiday Celebration “Musical Tradition and Timeless Memories: Handel’s Messiah

holiday3When: Monday, Dec. 5, 7:30 pm


Where: Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI


FREE and open to the public


One of the greatest delights of the Christmas and holiday season is the chance it brings us to revisit cherished and familiar traditions. For many, it is the recollection of much loved musical gems that most completely provides the festive and warm mood to which we enjoy returning year after year.


This year, celebrate the holiday season as the Grand Valley State University Arts Chorale and Orchestra perform the music of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah.


Messiah, as Handel penned it in 1741, was nothing more than an unstaged drama with all of the musical and theatrical ingredients of an opera, but without the costumes and physical movement. The first part of Messiah, the Christmas section, which is centered on the prophecy and the story of the birth of Christ, will be performed along with other holiday favorites for orchestra, vocal solo, and choir.


From the majestic tenor recitative, Comfort Ye, to the reverential, smoothly flowing melodic lines of the Pifa, to the brilliance of the Hallelujah Chorus, you’ll enjoy immersing yourself in Handel’s timeless music, especially within the magnificent acoustic environs of Fountain Street Church.

This year’s Grand Valley Fall Arts holiday celebration promises a not-to-be-missed performance — a musical holiday gift from the faculty members, students, and staff members of Grand Valley State University to our West Michigan community and friends.

Hillary Clinton in Western Michigan today


Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be visiting Western Michigan today, Monday, Nov. 7, with a “Get out the Vote” rally at Grand Valley State University’s fieldhouse starting at 2 p.m. The event is expected to run for two hours.


The GVSU field house is located at 10915 S. Campus Dr., Allendale.


At the rally, Clinton will “will lay out her plans to create an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, and her vision for an America that is stronger together,” according to her campaign website.


To RSVP, contact the Hillary Clinton campaign at The Clinton Website

Legacy matters, says GVSU keynote speaker

The photo that helped launch a legacy – ‘Hands Up’

By Victoria Mullen



At the age of 23, Grand Rapids native Leighton Watson is striving to leave a legacy that matters, and he is confident that his life path is on target to achieve that goal.


Watson was in Grand Rapids Sept. 26  to share with Grand Valley State University students the importance of finding solutions to social injustice within each community. The former student body president of Howard University was the keynote speaker for a presentation called ‘The Power of Student Voices,’ a component of GVSU’s Student Assembly Week. The purpose of the assembly was to encourage students to actively engage in conversation about social and political issues and have their voices heard.

Leighton Watson


Although he is active in addressing the issues of Civil Rights and social injustice, Watson says he doesn’t think of himself as an ‘activist.’


“I’d rather be called a human being,” he said. “Everyone wants to put you in a box and label you. I’m an American.”


Watson’s current life path crystallized during his senior year of college, around the time of the Ferguson riots. Deeply disturbed by the increasing civil unrest and injustice, he gathered fellow students for a photo, ‘Hands Up’ (as in ‘don’t shoot’). He also traveled to Ferguson to see the situation firsthand.


“You can’t prescribe a remedy for a situation you don’t know about,” Watson said.


Meanwhile, the ‘Hands Up’ image rapidly went viral on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and CNN took notice. The station invited him to the studio to share his views and possible remedies for civic unrest.


“We don’t have to wait until we get to the point of Ferguson,” he said. “A lot of the same symptoms are happening now in other cities, but people don’t realize it until things blow up. If America was what it’s supposed to be, what it says on paper, you’d never have the movement, women’s rights, etc. I still think that there is a gap and that means there’s work for me and us to close that gap.”


Watson and POTUS

After seeing Watson’s CNN appearance — and impressed with his proactive approach to identifying solutions (rather than simply pointing out the problems) — the White House invited him to Washington to be a part of a task force on policing.


“The President asked me what I wanted him to do about Ferguson,” said Watson. “There is no national solution to this issue. It’s something that must be addressed state by state, local government by local government — it has to happen on a local level.”


Since then, Watson has kept busy visiting communities across the country to talk to school children and organizations, discussng concerns and organizing movements. He stresses the importance of preparation and solution-finding, even at the middle school level.


“And I say to middle-schoolers, ‘You have to be prepared to answer the question. Preparation is an ongoing process; you must be prepared to meet the president in that moment.'”

Watson addressing GVSU students (Photo courtesy of GVSU


Watson learned the importance of legacy from his grandfather, who started the Section 8 Housing Authority in South Bend, Indiana. Years after his death, people remember and speak very highly of him.


“I was about four years old when he died,” said Watson. “My grandpa taught me that achievement is not a resting place, it’s a trampoline.


“Fifty years from now, history will have written about this time, that these police shootings happened. The question I’ll have to answer my grandchildren is, ‘Grandpa, where were you when this happened?’ And I’ll want to answer that question confidently, that I did do something about it.


“Legacy is important. What you do with your time is important,” said Watson. “I want to look back on my life and be confident about what I did with my time.”



The Weekend Edition: Things to do Oct. 6 – 9

pumpkin-path-2011-261Ease on down the path

The area’s witches and warlocks, princesses and ninjas will be heading down the City of Wyoming Parks and Recreation’s annual Pumpkin Path Saturday, Oct. 8 at Lamar Park, 2561 Porter St. SW. The event runs from 4 – 6 p.m. and features area businesses and organizations handing out treats and items to those who come by. The event is free to the public. For more, check out the story.


fall-produceCelebrating the harvest

The City of Kentwood wraps up its famers market season with a very special event this Saturday, Oct. 8, a Harvest Celebration. Music and games will be part of the activities with the market’s usual vendors in attendance as well. Produce, flowers and homemade goods are some of the items you can expect to find. The event is from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Kent District Library Kentwood (Richard L. Root) branch, 4950 Breton Ave. SE. The event is free to the public.



hansel-and-gretel-careballetMe and My Brother

Care Ballet kicks off its season with the Brothers Grimm classic “Hansel & Gretel.” No more than an hour in length, Care Ballet’s productions are a perfect way to introduce youngsters into the world of dance. The fall production is Saturday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 9, at 3 p.m. with all shows at the East Grand Rapids Performing Arts Center, 2211 Lake Dr. SE. Tickets are $10/students and $15/adults and can be purchased through www.careballet.org.


Madame Overdone (Ariana Martineau) discusses her call girls with Lucio (Liam Purtle) in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure." Photo courtesy of GVSU University Communications.
Madame Overdone (Ariana Martineau) discusses her call girls with Lucio (Liam Purtle) in Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.” Photo courtesy of GVSU University Communications.

For Good Measure

The production for this year’s Grand Valley State University’s Shakespeare Festival is the Bard’s darkest comedy “Measure for Measure.” The story tackles the twin evils of power and corruption with outrageous humor, giving hope to the hopeless and courage to the powerless. His city caught in a moral free-fall, the Duke of Vienna hands over power to Lord Angelo, who enforces long-dormant codes of chastity with zealous fervor. When Isabella, a pious young nun, pleads for the life of her condemned brother, Angelo’s response is surprisingly sensual — revealing a web of desire, deception, and hypocrisy that infects every corner of society. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 6 and 7 and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9 at GVSU’s Louis Armstrong Theatre, located on the Allendale Campus at 1 Campus Drive. Tickets are $14/adults, $12/alumni/seniors/faculty/staff, $6 students/groups. Call 616-331-2300.


Gerald Arpino’s “Light Rain” will be one of three works presented Oct. 7-9 by the Grand Rapids Ballet as part of its MoveMedia; Made in America program. (Supplied photo)
Gerald Arpino’s “Light Rain” will be one of three works presented Oct. 7-9 by the Grand Rapids Ballet as part of its MoveMedia; Made in America program. (Supplied photo)

Two for the Money

Two other performances highlighted earlier this week are the “I Love the 90s” show set for Saturday, Oct. 8, at Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton. The show is in celebration of the Van Andel’s 20th year with ticket prices at $35 and $20. The show is at 7:30 p.m. For more, click here.


Also the Grand Rapids Ballet kicks off its season with “MoveMedia: Made in America,” Friday- Sunday, Oct. 7 – 9, at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre, 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW.  Showtimes re 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. For more, click here for the story.