My Story Started at GRCC: After seeing ‘real world,’ Daniel Schoonmaker is trying to make it a better place

Daniel Schoonmaker smiling.

As a U.S. Marine and then a journalist, Daniel Schoonmaker has seen a lot of the “real world.” He’s now working to make that world a better place.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

Schoonmaker didn’t plan on going to GRCC; when he did enroll, he didn’t plan to be there for more than a semester.

“With all my friends that went away to school complaining about how their classes were being taught by grad students, I realized that GRCC was a better value,” he said. “Looking back, I don’t believe I had the emotional maturity to be successful at a four-year school at that point in my life. 

“Academics were not my priority those first two years. When I was focused, I was pursuing things that I thought I wanted – like being a police officer or a physician – and hating them. It took me some time to figure out who I wanted to be. GRCC was a great environment for that.”

Schoonmaker went overseas with the Marines after graduating from GRCC in 2002. After returning to Michigan, he was able to tap his experience at The Collegiate to get a job as a sportswriter and, later, as a business journalist. He was well-established when he enrolled at Aquinas College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and English.

He then turned his talents to public relations and marketing, serving as a sustainable business advocate and educator.

He’s now executive director of the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

“My work is heavily focused on network development and movement building,” he said, “Creating momentum for climate leadersip, social justice and the creation of a circular economy in partnership with businesses and institutions.”

Schoonmaker is quick to credit GRCC for some of his success.

“A big part of that was learning to fail,” he said. “I dropped some classes. I got in trouble on some Collegiate assignments. I tried to work double shifts while carrying a full load of classes. On my very first day of class, I insulted a professor so bad he was ready to fail me on the spot.

“GRCC taught me the value of learning from your mistakes.”

Let GRCC help you start your story. The first chapter starts hat

Sally Merrill of GRCC women’s basketball team earns MCCAA Western Conference Player of the Week honors

Sally Merrill of the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team.

Sally Merrill of the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team earned the final MCCAA Western Conference Player of the Week honors of the season after scoring 62 points, grabbing 27 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists in three tournament games.

It’s the second time this season that Merrill, who plays guard and forward, earned Player of the Week honors.

Merrill is a freshman from Allegan, and graduated from Hamilton High School.

Earlier in the week she was named All-Region, All-MCCAA, First Team All-Conference, and to the All-Freshman Team.

Merrill in February was saluted for performances against Lake Michigan College, Ancilla College and Mid Michigan College. She totaled 60 points, 23 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and two steals in the three games.

The women’s team finished with a 20-11 record, reaching the championship game of the NJCAA Great Lakes A District tournament. David Glazier, wrapping up his sixth year at the helm, posted the most wins of his GRCC career.

Red Table Talk on Marijuana

The GRCC Office of Student Life & Conduct and the Office of Counseling & Career Development will be doing a Red Table Talk on Marijuana. It will be a discussion on the most controversial Marijuana questions. 

It will be facilitated by Rosario Parada MPA, Student Resources Coordinator and Melissa Ware LMSW, CPS-GRCC Program Director/Professor/Counselor on Wednesday March 23, 2022 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

This presentation will be located in the Office of Student Life & Conduct. Students can RSVP at for a zoom link, but walk-ins are welcomed. There will be a raffle of airpods and a to go lunch provided for students. Staff are welcome to attend also.

Who are the Golden Raiders?

Golden Raiders are the nearly 500 GRCC retirees who have their GRCC careers behind them and are in the midst of enjoying retirement. Golden Raiders are encouraged to remain connected to GRCC and the Gold Team, a small committee of Golden Raiders, in concert with Angela Salinas, Human Resources Employee Events, Engagement, and On-boarding Coordinator, do just that.  

The Team writes and publishes a quarterly newsletter mailed to all Golden Raiders, maintains their GRCC website and manages the Golden Raiders Facebook page.  Frequent emails announce upcoming activities and news. 

For GRCC’s 100 anniversary, the Team developed the Golden Raiders Retiree Scholarship to support family members of Golden Raiders.  Additionally, the Team explores and develops ways for the GRCC retiree population to remain engaged within the GRCC community.  

Some of these activities include

  • volunteering for campus initiatives
  • engaging in learning opportunities
  • sending get well/encouragement cards to fellow retirees
  • catching up at Happy Hour gatherings
  • fundraising for the Golden Raiders Retiree Scholarship
  • honoring and welcoming the newest retirees during annual Retiree Celebration events

Many of us will eventually join the ranks of the Golden Raiders, some sooner rather than later. In the meantime, it’s important to share who they are, what they do and their impact on our GRCC community and family.

Please contact with any questions.

GRCC In the News 03/14/2022

Over 60 and need dental work? GRCC students can help

3/11/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dental work for seniors and experience for students: Grand Rapids Community College students are set to host a free Senior Dental Day on Monday.

Slow down, tune up to help save mileage

3/11/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you filled your vehicle up with gas in Kent County one year ago, AAA says you paid about $2.82 per gallon. If you filled up this week, it was closer to $4.25. So how can you get the most bang for your buck?

You’ve probably heard that just slowing down and using your cruise control can keep your mileage under control. With Grand Rapids Community College Automotive Department Associate Professor Brett Atchison behind the wheel, News 8 took a drive to see exactly how much. We hit the highway with the cruise control set at 70 mph.

Advocates seek minority voices, opportunity with 12 ‘transformational’ projects


Regional business and economic development leaders recently announced a list of 12 “transformational” projects that could reshape Kent County’s ability to attract visitors, new residents and employers.

… The Right Place Inc., Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Experience Grand Rapids and the city of Grand Rapids partnered to develop the list, which includes several major projects around the county. That includes relocating the downtown U.S. Postal Service facility along the Grand River, creating a 5-mile recreational trail corridor, building a Grand River waterfront gateway and amphitheater, and expanding the Michigan State University Innovation Center campus. The list also includes new training centers at Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College, a new air control tower at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and a countywide affordable housing plan.

IIPD Grant Applications: Due on March 18 by 4:30 pm

The deadline for the submission of grant applications for the Instructional Improvement & Professional Development (IIPD) Grant program is 4:30 pm on March 18, 2020.

Information about how to apply for an IIPD grant can be found on the Grants Department web page.

Please note that applications must include a Dean’s Approval Form and a Department Head Approval Form, and a budget with documentation of costs.

If you have any questions about IIPD grants, please contact Lisa Dopke, director of grant development, at 234-3340 or Good luck!

Complimentary registration for Cultural Competence Institute [CCI]

The Provost and Office of Instructional Support have partnered to offer full-time faculty and staff free registration to the 2022 Cultural Competence Institute.

Please contact LaKenya Gissendanner at [ ] to sign up for this opportunity by March 31.

This year’s CCI will focus on interweaving principles of equity into the strategic planning process. 

We will convene in virtual format on Friday, April 8, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am (EST).

Listed below is an outline of the three-hour session:

8:30 am to 9:15 am  
-Organizational triumphs when equity is critical to the strategic plan
-The ‘business case’ for embedding equity into the strategic plan
-How equity drives the institutional mission, values, purpose)

9:15 am to 10:00 am
-Fostering faculty engagement and leadership
-Action-centered practices faculty can adopt to embed equity
-Best practices in faculty and administration partnerships  
10:10 am to 11:15 am
-Key steps: How do we get there?

Returning to “normal” is not an option: Finding healing and meaning in our work

Sonya Renee Taylor, author of The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love, is the keynote speaker for Women’s History Month.

“Sonya personifies the term intersectionality,” says Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “She’s a queer, disabled, Black, Woman American expatriate living in New Zealand. Her worldview is nuanced, her candor is engrossing, and her zeal for liberation is infectious.”

In 2016, Sonya was invited to the Obama White House to speak at their forum on the intersection of LGBTQIAA and Disability issues. In 2017, Sonya was awarded the Quixote Foundation “Thank You Note,” a $25,000 award for leaders and artists working in the field of reproductive justice. In addition, in the fall of 2017, Sonya was named one of 28 global changemakers selected into the inaugural cohort of the Edmund Hilary Fellowship, a three-year international fellowship of world-leading entrepreneurs and investors; innovating purpose-driven global impact projects from New Zealand.

The virtual event, sponsored in partnership with Mercantile Bank, will take place on Tuesday, March 15, at 6:30 pm (EST).

RSVP at:

Women's History Month. Tuesday Mar. 15th 6:30 p.m. Sonya Renee Taylor. Returning to "Normal" is not an Option: Finding Healing and Meaning in Our Work. RSVP: GRCC. Grand Rapids Community College. Mercantile Bank.
Mar 15