From: Thomas J. Haas, President
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2013 5:25 PM
Subject: Pioneer Class Milestone
Please join me in acknowledging a significant milestone for our university. It was 50 years ago today that 226 individuals became the first students to attend classes at Grand Valley. We call them our Pioneer Class.
Today we remember them for making that first step that started it all. They demonstrated what it means to be a Laker for a Lifetime by having the courage to engage in a truly innovative and entrepreneurial new college at a time when there wasn't much here but some equally brave faculty and staff, cornfields and our 'Lakes' halls.
As we enjoy our 18th year of being one of America's top 100 best college buys and one of the 100 largest universities in the country, we should remember that we owe much to these brave pioneer students, faculty and staff. We are so pleased that today nearly 25,000 students continue that legacy.
Thank you for all you do to keep the momentum going!
Thomas J. Haas, President
Mrs. Dr. Phil and I have been down here in West Michigan for some twenty years. In that time we have watched GVSU undergo great expansion in Allendale, in Grand Rapids, and elsewhere, both in campuses, buildings, programs and stature.
A current joke going around is that if you're an alumni from more than 10-15 years ago, you might not be able to get into GVSU today, despite a more than quadrupling of the student body. Except it's not really a joke.
As someone who has been a college pioneer of sorts -- first entering class of the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern (EC76) and awarded the first PhD in Applied Physics at Michigan Tech (89) -- I salute those students in the cornfield fifty years ago.