Dr. Kevin O’Neill Named 2012 GRCC Distinguished Alumnus - Lifetime Educator Worked “Tirelessly for Excellence”

Grand Rapids Community College announced the selection of former Coopersville Public School superintendent Dr. Kevin O’Neill as this year’s Distinguished Alumnus.

GRCC’s Distinguished Alumni Award is an annual honor given out to a GRCC/JC alumnus who has achieved substantial public recognition for his/her accomplishments or success.  Nominations are taken annually for the award in March and the finalist is presented the award at commencement, this year taking place on April 27.

“Dr. O’Neill represents the passion and commitment that serve our community well,” said Andy Bowne, Associate Vice President for College Advancement.  “We are very proud of his affiliation with our college as an alumnus, appreciate his accomplishments and are pleased to bestow this honor on him this year.”

In 1970 O’Neill graduated from GRJC, but he continued his education at Western Michigan University where he earned his B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Elementary Education.  He went on to GVSU for his Master’s degree and earned his Doctorate from Eastern Michigan University.

According to his nomination form, Dr. O’Neill deserved this year’s award because of his impressive and dedicated 39-year career in education.   His career in education began at Madison Park School, now Gerald R. Ford Middle School.  This was the beginning of his 25 years as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, and one-year stint as interim superintendent for Grand Rapids Public Schools.  

After serving Grand Rapids Public Schools, O’Neill spent 14 years as superintendent of Coopersville Area Public Schools.  During his tenure as superintendent, O’Neill guided Coopersville Public Schools to numerous successes:

  • The high school earned Blue Ribbon Exemplary High School status
  • The district won Michigan’s Best designation 4 times from the Michigan Association of School Boards
  • Three successful bond votes for the school district

During his career, O’Neill earned the Coopersville Chamber of Commerce ServiceProvider of the Year Award, Greater Ottawa County United Way Cappon & Bertsch Award and National Association of School Boards Magna Award.

O’Neill’s nomination form aptly states, “He has spent his life in the Grand Rapids Public and Coopersville School systems working tirelessly for excellence!”

For more information on this award please visit http://grcc.edu/alumni

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 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.