GRCC honors life, legacy of journalist Sekou Smith with 2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award

Grand Rapids Community College alumnus Sekou Smith smiling.

This article was originally posted in GRCC News on April 27, 2021

Grand Rapids Community College alumnus Sekou Smith’s life was cut short by COVID-19, but family members say they want graduates to be inspired by his passion for helping others succeed.

GRCC commencement ceremonies on Friday and Saturday will include a tribute to the sports journalist and community leader. Smith, who attended Grand Rapids Junior and Grand Rapids Community colleges between 1990 and 1992, is being honored as this year’s Distinguished Alumnus.

After leaving GRCC, he attended Jackson State University in Mississippi, where he became interested in journalism. His sports writing career started at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson; he then covered the Indianapolis Pacers for the Indianapolis Star and then the Atlanta Hawks for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Smith connected with the NBA’s media teams in 2009. In recent years, he served as an analyst for NBA TV and a writer for He penned the “MVP Weekly” column and hosted the popular “Hang Time” podcast.

His death in January at the age of 48 brought tributes from NBA stars, his writing colleagues and the many young professionals he had mentored over the years through such organizations as the National Association of Black Journalists, Athletes for Computer Science, and Mercantile Bank leadership camps.

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GRCC Faculty Emeritus honoree Sandra Andrews is still taking classes, committed to lifelong learning

Sandra Andrews smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College’s 2021 Faculty Emeritus believes in — and lives — lifelong learning.

Sandra Andrews’ ties to GRCC started when she took classes at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College as an Ottawa Hills High School student. After earning an associate degree, she received a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate from Purdue University.

She was an assistant professor at MSU for six years and then returned to her GRCC roots as a chemistry professor. Her 23-year career included more than 11 years as the head of the Physical Sciences Department, where she oversaw an expansion of course offerings and programs as well as a move to the Calkins Science Center in 2000. 

Along the way she earned professional credentials as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Food Scientist.  

Andrews also led a college-wide effort to establish a comprehensive faculty evaluation system, served on many committees and worked on numerous college initiatives. She represented faculty on the College Leadership Council under president Juan Olivarez and Steven Ender.

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Counseling and Career Development Summer 2021: Mental health services for GRCC students

Counseling and Career Development continues to provide free and confidential remote counseling services by licensed mental health professionals for GRCC students.  If you have concerns regarding the mental health of any student who may benefit from counseling support, please recommend our services and encourage them to call our office at (616) 234-4130to schedule an appointment.

To meet eligibility requirements, students must be currently enrolled in Summer classes, or have attended in Winter 2021and be enrolled in Fall 2021 classes.  For students who may be concerned about the privacy of their personal information, please let them know that our records system and video platform are secure and web-based – no download of apps are required, and their use of our services is confidential. 

Please note that we have reserved time by appointment on a daily basis for students with urgent needs, however, if there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or others and the emergency is on-campus, please call GRCC Police at (616) 234-4911. If the emergency is off-campus, call 911. If a student’s situation does not present an immediate threat, and you aren’t sure if a referral to counseling is appropriate, please contact us for a consultation about your concerns. 

Since legal and ethical obligations prevent CCD from disclosing which students we serve, it is helpful to submit a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) after referring a student to CCD so that BIT will know what supportive action you have already taken. 

Appointments may be scheduled by calling our staff at (616) 234-4130 between 8am-5pm Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Fri, and 9am-6:30 pm on Tues. 

Thank you for your continued support of our students. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Stacey Heisler by email, Google Chat, or by her direct line at X4132

Tech Tip: Using the Chat feature on web pages

Click to chat button

Do you have a quick question for the IT Support Desk, Enrollment Center, Communication Department, or The Learning Hub? 

You can utilize the chat feature built into the GRCC website for these departments. During business hours for each department, you can click to chat and a staff member from that department will answer your questions in real time. If a chat is initiated when the department is offline, an email notification is sent and someone from the specified department will follow up with you. 

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing