My Story Started at GRCC: City Commissioner Ruth Straayer-Kelly says GRCC introduced her to new perspectives

Ruth Straayer-Kelly smiling at the camera.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere! Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC – or Grand Rapids Junior College – gave them the education and opportunity to be successful. We’re sharing some of those stories, and want to hear yours!

Ruth Straayer-Kelly has had many careers in her life: teacher, community organizer, Grand Rapids city commissioner. She credits what was then Grand Rapids Junior College with building a foundation for all those roles, by allowing her to explore different interests and introducing her to new perspectives.

“At GRCC, I was exposed to fellow students from a large variety of backgrounds and perspectives,” she said.

She majored in political science at GRJC in the mid-1970s, but through electives, she explored music, art and other subjects.

“Electives such as music appreciation, bowling and ceramics helped me make friends and develop skills I’ve used outside of employment,” Straayer-Kelly said. “A large clay pot from an art class still resides with me and brings back pleasant memories of my time at GRCC.”

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