Laurie Chesley to receive Distinguished Leader Award

The state’s leading professional development network for women in higher education will present its top award to two leaders during its annual conference in June.

The Michigan ACE (American Council on Education) Women’s Network will present its Distinguished Leader Award to:

  • Laurie Chesley, dean of arts and sciences at Grand Rapids Community College.
  • Phyllis Ivory Vroom, deputy president of Wayne State University.

Chesley has worked at GRCC since 2005. Prior to that she served as dean of humanities at Montgomery County (Pa.) Community College, and assistant vice president for academic affairs at Ferris State University.

Chesley is known among her colleagues for her strong leadership and mentoring skills. She has supported faculty-led conferences that have raised awareness of women’s issues on campus and in the community. She is a past recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Faculty Excellence Award.

Before being named deputy president of Wayne State, Vroom served as dean of the university’s School of Social Work until her retirement in 2011. Vroom has written book chapters and articles on women of color in leadership positions; she has also been widely recognized for her mentoring skills. Vroom has received many awards, including the first Wayne State University Michigan ACE Network Woman of Distinction Award in 2011.

Both women will receive their awards at the Michigan ACE Women’s Network conference, set for June 3-4 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. For more information about the network, visit

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