GRCC, Community Leaders Announce Capital Campaign Exceeds $15 Million Projected Goal - Foundation Chair: “Investment will pay huge returns”

Eighteen months after embarking on its GRCC Works…Ask Anyone Capital Campaign, Grand Rapids Community College announced during a community celebration at the college’s DeVos Campus today that its has raised $15,277,779, surpassing its initial goal of $15 million.

“Even in these tough economic times, our leadership challenged us to raise $15 million to fund these capital projects in response to our community’s growing needs for affordable, high quality college education,” said GRCC president Steven Ender.  “The success of these fundraising efforts by all of the individuals involved means we will be able to better serve our students and fulfill the college’s mission.”

Joining Ender for this important announcement were honorary capital campaign co-chair Hank Meijer, GRCC Foundation board chairperson Dave Custer and GRCC Foundation executive director Andy Bowne.

According to Bowne, the addition of the DeVos Campus has given GRCC the ability to serve 3,000 more students annually, “making the success of this capital campaign that much more important.”  Bowne cited the commitment and efforts of the campaign leaders and volunteers, including campaign chair Dr. Jim Buzzitta – “there is no way we would have been able to accomplish this goal without their dedication and tireless efforts.”

Custer, foundation board chair and GRJC alumnus, thanked everyone involved.  “It's been an honor to work with all of these individuals, President Ender, Jim Buzzitta and Andy (Bowne),” he said.   “I know what an impact this college has on our community, and there is no doubt in my mind that this investment will pay huge returns for Grand Rapids and all of West Michigan.”
According to Bowne, these announcements and the community celebration are the result of eighteen months of educating “the community about the importance of assisting the college with our capital improvements and renovations to better serve the community.  And based on the response – not just from the large donors, but from everyone that gave whatever they could to support their community college – we knew that this community was not just committed to our success, but they were engaged…engaged in making sure we reach our goal and continue serving their educational and workforce training needs.”

Over the past two years, GRCC has purchased and renovated the DeVos Campus (formerly Davenport University), and renovated the Ford Fieldhouse Gordon Hunsberger Arena.  Other major projects that are targeted as part of the college’s capital campaign include renovations to the Main Building (built in 1922) and the Peter & Pat Cook Academic Hall, where renovations will turn space built in the early-1970's into a state-of-the-art educational facility focused on mathematics and health programs.  These two projects, said Bowne, “will improve the teaching and learning space for the thousands of students that use these academic buildings daily.”  

College officials also announced the re-naming of Warren Hall on the DeVos Campus to Stewart Edward White Hall, a move made possible through a gift from the Meijer Foundation.

“We know the importance of GRCC to this region and the Meijer family is pleased to be a partner in its success,” said Hank Meijer.  “We’re all winners when we support institutions like GRCC.”

“But we’re not done yet,” Ender reminded everyone at the conclusion of the evening’s festivities, “we’ve still got work to do in raising the final $2 million needed to finish what we’ve all started.”

About GRCC
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes.  GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.  The mission of the GRCC Foundation is to secure and manage financial gifts to support and promote student, employee and community learning, enabling the College to fulfill its mission and vision.

About Stewart Edward White
The eldest son of T. Stewart and Mary White, Stewart Edward White published over seventy works between 1901 and 1940.  While he wrote about many adventurous and exciting topics, his favorite was life in Michigan.

Mister White graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in philosophy.  It should be noted that Grand Rapids Community College was created as a “feeder school" to the University of Michigan.

After working for his father for several years, he returned to college at Columbia Law School where he found his love for writing.  Eventually, he dropped out of law school and pursued his interests in writing.  His first novel, “The Westerners,” was published in 1901 along with his second book, “The Claim Jumpers.”  His career as an author continued from that point on, writing 34 volumes of fiction, 24 of non-fiction, and several more for children.

About the History of the Home
Built in 1907 by T. Stewart White, a lumber baron and financier, the family donated the house in 1935 to become the Grand Rapids Furniture Museum.  In 1959, Davenport Institute (now Davenport University) bought the house in support of their plans to build a downtown campus.  In 2009, GRCC purchased the Davenport University campus, now the GRCC DeVos Campus.  Currently Stewart Edward White Hall is home to GRCC's Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Social Sciences departments.