Monthly Archive for March, 2016

5 ways to get involved in DU’s 150th Anniversary celebration

This year, Davenport University proudly celebrates its 150 year anniversary since its founding in 1866. We invite you to be a part of this monumental year-long celebration. Find out how you can get involved below. 

1. Attend! DU is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a variety of events that continue throughout the year. Check out our website for the complete listing of events.

2. Share! Whether it’s been just a few years or a few decades since your last class at DU, you have a story to tell. We invite you to share your story; a story that celebrates the spirit of 150 years of traditions. Every alum has a different experience. What’s yours? Share your story today by emailing the alumni office at

3 Follow! Stay up to date with 150th Anniversary Celebration stories, news and photos by liking the DU Alumni Association on Facebook.

4. Watch! The 150th Anniversary video showcases the many accomplishments of DU, from its humble beginnings in 1866 to where we are now, and where we’re headed. Watch it today!

5. Visit! Reminisce while viewing photos, yearbooks, publications, newsletters, magazines, and catalogs on the Davenport archives website. We invite you to share your photos and memories of Davenport by submitting them to the archives.

Deadline Today to Nominate Your Favorite Professor

Do you know a DU faculty member who deserves recognition for their excellence in teaching? A faculty member who believed in you and wanted to see you succeed?

We are seeking nominations for the second annual DU Excellence in Teaching Award.  This award recognizes outstanding adjunct and full-time faculty who:

  • Show enthusiasm for teaching and subject matter
  • Connect with students, demonstrating a genuine concern and caring for student learning and success
  • Exceed expectations in helping students learn
  • Consistently achieve student learning outcomes
  • Demonstrate mastery of current knowledge of subject and effective learning delivery methods

Winners will be honored at Davenfest 2016, DU’s all employee meeting.

Submit your nomination online before TODAY

Alumni Success Story: Derrick King ’09

Fifteen years ago, if you were to ask Derrick King ‘09 if he would be where he is today, he would say “no way.”

“But lucky for me, Davenport gave me chance,” he said.

Derrick King wasn’t in a good place fifteen years ago. He had a lot of challenges. But, he knew he had to make a better life for himself and family.

At the age of 19 with his wife by his side, Derrick challenged himself to earn a college degree and reach higher for his family.

After starting his collegiate career at Northwood University as a walk-on basketball player, Derrick transferred to Davenport University and started as a point guard for the Panthers for two years.

“Davenport made a huge difference in my life,” Derrick said. “They gave me a chance and opportunity to succeed in and out of the classroom.”

Derrick graduated in 2009 with a bachelor degree in business management. His first job out of college was working as an enrollment counselor at the University of Phoenix, where he earned his MBA.

Derrick pursued his next career as an substitute teacher while coaching. “I really enjoy mentoring and working with kids, so working as substitute teacher for two years was a perfect springboard for my non-traditional business career.”

His substitute teaching job and experience as a college enrollment counselor equipped him with the skills and experiences he needed for his next job at National Heritage Academies (NHA) as a Campus Relations Specialist in Talent Acquisition. In this role, Derrick travelled the United States, building relationships with college and university leaders to build a pipeline of future teachers for NHA.

Now, he’s inspired everyday by young students in his job as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Education Executive at the Boy Scouts of America of Grand Rapids. He relates to these children because he says, “I am raising three children of my own. To know that I am making a difference in the lives of children because of the innovative programs I implement and partnerships that I build is extremely fulfilling. I help give young Boy Scouts the opportunity to gain insight and knowledge in the S.T.E.M. field.  I am able to work with kids that were just like me to build better opportunities for them.”

In his spare time, Derrick enjoys spending time with his family and coaching basketball at Catholic Central High School. Derrick is also a budding entrepreneur. He recently started a West Michigan scouting company called West Side Report with the goal of helping high school student athletes get recruited by colleges easier.

Alumni Success Story: Jim Van Dam ’12

Jim Van Dam ’12 works in the front office at the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning as a Premium Sales Manager. He is responsible for tailoring corporate ticket packages for businesses in southern Florida to create memorable fan experiences.  Jim’s road to the “major leagues” wasn’t easy, but he credits the practical, hands-on learning experiences he received at DU to help him land his dream job in the NHL. Learn how Jim put his passion of sports into action below.

Jim Van Dam '12.jpg

Tell us about yourself, Jim!

I was born and raised in Grand Rapids and now live in Tampa, FL. Graduating in 2012 with a double major in Marketing and Sport Management, I knew making it to the “major leagues” was not going to be easy. I did everything I could to earn a spot in the front office of a professional sports team. After graduating from DU, I left my hometown to take an internship position for the Detroit Pistons in the marketing department.  It was an amazing learning experience that continued to spark my interest in sports. As my internship was coming to an end, I contacted everyone I knew in the sports field. Luckily for me, my boss down here actually had the same boss as myself when he interned with the Pistons. He was looking to fill a position on his team in Tampa and called his friends at the Pistons. The Pistons recommended me for the job! It is all about who you know.

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a Premium Sales Manager for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. As a Premium Sales Manager I am responsible for selling the executive suites, premium parties, exclusive Chase and Blue Line Fan Clubs and group ticket sales. I build relationships with companies to tailor corporate ticket packages in the Southern Florida area. My goal is to create memorable fan experiences. I love my job!  We have a great hockey club and amazing management team.

What is your favorite memory of your experience at Davenport?

I chose to go to Davenport because of their focus on sports management. One of my favorite memories was getting to know the faculty and staff. The professors had real-life experience in sport management. I enjoyed how they taught with a hands-on learning approach which allowed me to connect what we learned in the classroom to real-world applications.

What advice do you have for recent graduates?

Do something that you are passionate about. Then do not stop until you get to where you want to go. I am a prime example of someone who followed their passion.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I was in a rock band in Grand Rapids called Brimstone.

What do you do when you are not working?

I enjoying staying active by playing hockey.  I like playing the guitar, fishing and spending time with family and friends.

Student Scholarship Success Story: Irma Cecila Garcia Murillo

Born in Mexico, Irma Cecila Garcia Murillo who goes by Ceci, immigrated at age 5. Her mother and father left a small town in Mexico to provide a better life for their children. Traditionally, the families in their hometown were very poor and children often went to work in the fields at a young age. Ceci says, “My dad finished 6th grade and my mom only finished 2nd. They’ve always encouraged me to pursue more education.”

The family made a home in Holland and Ceci enjoyed school. She first took accounting in high school to fulfill a math credit. It made sense to her and she liked organizing and watching data flow. She declared a major in with a degree in Accounting Information Systems and a specialty in Management Accounting at Davenport and hopes to graduate in 2018.

She felt comfortable at DU Holland, first because it was close to home, and later, because she got to know and love the faculty and staff. The small classes and caring faculty meant a lot to her. Ceci says, “They really take care of students with welcome dinners and finals week snacks.”

Prior to receiving the Latin Americans United for Progress scholarship, she attended their youth conferences in high school. Now, she gives back and volunteers to create bilingual handouts and brochures to help build community relationships.

She also volunteers her Saturdays with VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Ceci feels fortunate to be able to help families, students, and elderly people with limited income file their tax returns. Family and giving back is very important to her.

With a smile, Ceci describes her father, Gustavo, as a reserved man who doesn’t show emotion very often. When she thinks ahead to her graduation date in 2018 though, she beams and knows that her dad will be incredibly proud of her.

Thanks to generous supporters like you, Ceci will be able to achieve her dream of completing her degree.


50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan

Last week the Grand Rapids Business Journal recognized and honored the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan, three of which were DU alums. Congratulations to alums Jenelle Marie Davis ’10, Marcie Lewis ’83 and Bev Wall ’77 for being recognized with this great honor.

Alumni Success Story: Helen Hartwell ’15

From limited to limitless, DU alum Helen Hartwell ‘15 is an inspiration.  After thinking that she could not “do” college, Helen leveraged her success at Davenport University into a rewarding career. She is now a busy Executive Assistant who enjoys wearing multiple hats. Read on to learn about the life-changing advice Helen wants to share with you to help break through limitations.

Helen Hartwell '15.JPG

Tell us about yourself, Helen!

I am a 2015 graduate of Davenport University, but the road to graduation had some detours. I have an amazing, supportive family, however, I had a lot of struggles growing up.  After high school, I started at Lansing Community College, but dropped out because I got pregnant.  Before I became a student at Davenport, I felt like nothing could bring me out of such a low point in my life.  My daughter was born and became the light of my life. I moved from house to house, trying to provide for her. I remember having a conversation with my father full of frustration about how I thought I was done, and how I thought I would never be able to get ahead.  The piece of advice he gave me changed everything. He said, “Helen, you are the problems to your solutions and the solutions to your problems.” He told me that I was being my own limitation.

After that conversation I asked my cousin for advice about my next steps. She recommended Davenport. Even though I didn’t think I could  “do” college, Davenport showed me the way.  The faculty and staff proved to me that I was capable of achieving great things. Nothing is going to stop me now!

In a nutshell, what do you do?

As an Executive Assistant in the Office of Administrative Services at the State of Michigan, I wear multiple hats. I answer the main phone line, assist with handling current issues, scheduling appointments, work with the strategic policy office, help assist with intergovernmental relations, provide guidance to constituents, and support the governor.  The term “wearing multiple hats” might be an understatement. My job duties can change daily depending on what is happening in the state. This position gives me the opportunity to help people and that is what I absolutely love about it.

What is your favorite memory of your experience at Davenport?

From my first meeting to my last, Davenport made me feel extremely welcome and empowered. One of the most special moments I was able to experience was speaking at the new Lansing Campus ribbon cutting. It was such an honor to be asked to attend the ceremony, let alone share my story with the hundreds of people in the audience.

What motivates you?

My daughter motivates me. I want her to look at me and say, “Mom, you did well. I want to be like you when I grow up.”

What is your dream job?

Any job that allows me to put a smile on someone’s face. I really enjoying helping people. I plan to pursue my law degree next.

What do you do when you are not working?

I spend time with my daughter and family. I have eleven siblings who live all over the country and we try to get together as much as we can. I enjoy reading and running. I am also a member of the Mid-Michigan Alumni Council.

Join DU at the Movies

The DU Alumni Association is hosting an alumni movie night featuring a private screening of Disney’s latest animated adventure, Zootopia. Grab the family and join a quirky cast of animal characters from the mammal metropolis of Zootopia.

Stop by the Wave Room, located on the 2nd floor, before the show and join us for a private reception, appetizers provided.

Date: Friday, March 11th
Place: Celebration! Cinema North | Map
Time: 6:30 p.m. - Reception in Wave Room | 7:30 p.m. - Showtime
Tickets: $10 Adult | $8 Child (13 and under) | $8 DREAM Team Member

Student Scholarship Success Story Featuring Breanna Wallace

DU President Scholarship Recipient, Breanna Wallace ‘18 is finding success in both the business and health realms. “As a nursing student, being involved with the College of Business through DECA is extremely insightful,” says Breanna. “I am developing a business acumen to help better understand and treat patients someday.” Learn more about Breanna and how she is changing the perception of health students below.

Why did you choose to attend DU?

As a junior at Grand Haven High School, my economics teacher offered extra credit to visit a college that we have never heard of before. I took him up on the offer and visited Davenport University. Little did I know how much this extra credit opportunity would change my life. I walked through the nursing labs of DU while on the tour, and I instantly fell in love with the campus. Within the year, I was accepted into the nursing program at DU and enrolled to start in the fall of 2014.

 What is your experience like at DU? 

I am a full-time student living on campus. My favorite class right now is pathophysiology, which is the study of the functions of diseases. While I do enjoy the information that I am studying in this class, the reason it is my favorite class is because of my professor, Dr. Clark. She is really great! Not only is she immensely knowledgeable about the subject, she also cares about her students – and that is the biggest thing for me. I want to learn from her because she cares about us as people, students, and future health professionals.

What else are you involved in at DU?

On top of being in the nursing program at DU, I really enjoy being involved. I played soccer my freshman year, play in the pep band, work in the library, participate in Intervarsity, compete with the DECA team, and plan on studying abroad in Costa Rica this summer. I really like to keep myself busy.

 What is it like being a part of the business side of DU through DECA as well as being a part of the Health side of DU through nursing?

Being involved with the College of Business through DECA and the College of Health as a nursing student is extremely insightful. DECA and nursing are two completely different worlds so I have two completely different perspectives. It has been an awesome challenge and blessing to be a part of them both. A weeks ago, I spent all weekend at a state competition for DECA and had nursing clinicals the next day. All weekend I was in business attire talking about strategic marketing and business planning, and then did a complete 180 and went to clinicals for nursing where I was taking care of psych patients.

One thing that I love about being a part of business and health at the same time is how helpful it is to gain experiences in both subjects. For example, a lot of my nursing patients are business people so being a part of DECA allows me to connect with them quickly. On the other hand, I am able to use psychological or health related terms I learn in nursing while at DECA competitions. Having both sides allows me to increase my critical thinking skills and better relate to and communicate with those I come in contact with.

Continue reading ‘Student Scholarship Success Story Featuring Breanna Wallace’