April 26, 2013, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Laura McGuire was awarded the Arthur Andrews Award April 18 during a reception honoring members of Delta Pi Alpha at Grand Rapids Community College.
A video of her comments can be viewed here.
The Arthur Andrews Award goes to the Delta Pi Alpha student with the highest cumulative grade point average and the greatest number of honor points as of the second Friday in February of his or her commencement year. It is given in memory of Arthur Andrews, who served Grand Rapids Junior College as its president from 1919 to 1955. He was dedicated to the preservation, growth and academic excellence of the school that later became Grand Rapids Community College.
Ms. McGuire was one of 12 students recognized for having a perfect 4.0 GPA. In her comments, she said she was impressed that so many nontraditional students were being recognized that evening. She began attending GRCC after a 25-year absence from school. She said she was nervous, at first, but found her path, in part, by developing strong relationships with GRCC professors.
“I’ve heard a lot of people talk about someone who has been their mentor here tonight," she said during the ceremony. “I think that by the time you get to my age, you realize how incredibly rare a mentor is to find. I don’t know if any of you have read Sir Ken Robinson’s book ‘The Element.’ I had the honor of meeting him just a few weeks ago when he was in Grand Rapids. He talks about the importance of a mentor, saying, ‘Mentors take a unique and personal place in our lives. They open doors and get involved directly in our journeys. They show us the next steps and they encourage us to take them.’”
Ms. McGuire said Richard Barnhart, a GRCC accounting instructor, served that role for her. She also thanked Biology professor Laurie Foster, calling her "one of the most phenomenal instructors here.”
Ms. McGuire has been enrolled at Grand Valley State University, as well as GRCC, since December 2012. “The Business department at GRCC is phenomenal," she said. “I have not had any class at Grand Valley that I did not feel fully, and sometimes even more than, prepared for, so I am very, very grateful.”
Tina Hoxie, associate provost and dean of Student Affairs added, “Andrews valued the college and its academic integrity. He often made the point that ‘we must give our students an education here as good as or better than they would receive at the university.’ The records of Grand Rapids Junior College and Community College students who have gone on to further study certainly show that his colleagues and successors still espouse this lofty goal.”
While the Arthur Andrews Cup recognizes one student with the highest GPA, being a member of Delta Pi Alpha is itself a huge honor. That recognition goes only to students with superior scholastic achievements from the top 5 percent of the graduating class for the academic year. This year’s Delta Pi Alpha group numbers 98, including 12 students who earned a perfect 4.0 cumulative GPA.
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops, and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on its downtown Grand Rapids campus, as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.