GRCC Geography professor Mike DeVivo to receive Presidential Achievement Award from American Association of Geographers

RCC Geography professor Mike DeVivo sitting in a chair, smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College Geography professor Mike DeVivo will receive a top award at a national organization’s conference later this month.

DeVivo will receive the Presidential Achievement Award from the American Association of Geographers during the Denver event.

The organization gives the award to only two geographers annually who have made long-standing and distinguished contributions to the discipline. The AAG credited DeVivo for defining the value of community colleges as a “nurturing ground” for new geography students.

“I was shocked and at a loss for words when I learned I had been selected for this award!” said DeVivo, who has been with GRCC since 2002.

DeVivo was born in Europe but attended high school in Connecticut. He enlisted in the Marines at age 17, serving in reconnaissance and later became a Navy diver. Following his honorable discharge, he was licensed as a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer, commanding several vessels for the mineral and oil industry. He then began his university studies.

During the conference, which is being held face to face for the first time since 2019, GRCC’s Geography program will also be honored with the AAG Program Excellence Award Honorable Mention.

The program is recognized for its successful students and alumni, as well as student-led efforts to counter food insecurity and poverty in Grand Rapids and fund raising to support female education in Africa. The AAG declared, “The current vision of a space to address society is compelling. The alumni and collegial testaments, along with the letters of support indicate a strong and reputable program.” 

GRCC’s Geography program offers both Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees. The curriculum, which combines writing-intensive courses as well as lab and field work, is offered in-person, online or a combination of in-class and online. Students have made presentations at academic conferences and have conducted research in the United States, Latin America and Africa.

The Geography program runs a speakers series and sponsors a chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the International Geographical Honor society.

DeVivo, who will also take part in two sessions at the conference, said he expects to meet with a number of GRCC alumni who work in the field.

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GRCC In the News 03/02/2023

40th Annual GIANT Awards celebrates history of black leadership

3/1/23 WGVU

“40 years ago, no one thought that black leadership in Grand Rapids was newsworthy.”

… Grand Rapids Community College has hosted the event since 1983. Saturday evening marked the awards 40th Anniversary.

Speaker’s message: ‘Be strong and celebrate who you are’

3/1/23 School News Network (Kent Intermediate School District)

“I wish someone told my younger self that I didn’t have to assimilate to be accepted,” Jazz McKinney said, speaking to an audience gathered at the Applied Technology Center at Grand Rapids Community College. 

Mother knows best: Daughters enroll at GRCC alongside mom

3/1/23 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Like many parents, Cassandra Tiensivu enjoys the time she gets to spend every day with her two daughters, Sabrina and Juliana.

… In 2016, Tiensivu was stressing the importance of furthering Sabrina and Juliana’s education past high school, trying to get them more interested in going to college. Instead of simply telling them how important it was, she decided to prove it to them by enrolling at Grand Rapids Community College.

Actors’ Theatre welcomes new perspectives, mentors future artists of Grand Rapids

3/1/23  The Rapidian

When folks think of theatre, we often envision ourselves comfortably seated in the house, looking forward to the stage where the story unfolds as the lights go down. But our local stages offer so much more than just an entertainment option for the masses. The Actors’ Theatre of Grand Rapids, founded in 1980, continues to build on its legacy, evolving as an entertainment outlet as an arts incubator and (ultimately a) regional attractant for talent, too.

Publisher and Lifestyle Editor Tommy Allen catches up with Kyle Los, executive and artistic director of Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids, on the occasion of a new play, Petty Crimes, created locally by Kristin Hanratty and debuting on Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum theatre stage. 

TLDE Pop-Up & Relaxation stations on Main and Lakeshore campuses

Faculty, don’t forget to stop by one the Pop-Up Relaxation Stations today hosted by The T.L.D.E. (Teaching Learning and Distance Education) Office.

The times are 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow.

The Station locations are:
303 RJF Hall
Parking Atrium of the ATC
First Floor of the Science Bldg.
The Dining Hall of White Hall
Lakeshore Campus

Take time out the next couple of days to relax and catch up with other faculty members you likely don’t get to see. Light snacks and beverages are provided.

Any questions, please feel free to contact Toy McNeal at or call ext. 3205.

Play and Learn GRCC: Spring Play Event March 8

Play and Learn GRCC is hosting a Spring Play event for families with children infant through 5 years old. 

This event is Wednesday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to noon. This is the week of GRCC spring break at the GRCC Early Childhood Learning Lab, 210 Lyon St. NE.

Bring your family for a little while or  stay the whole time!

  • Meet the Play and Learn Staff
  • Check out a Playgroup
  • Explore learning through play

Meet & Confer Advisory Group: Volunteers needed

Human Resources is working to re-establish a Meet & Confer Advisory Group. We are looking for volunteers who would be interested in participating. Ideally the group will be composed of six to eight Meet & Confer employees who represent the broad divisions and levels within this employee group. Meetings will be led by Human Resources once per semester.

We would like volunteers to help for up to three years. The goal of this group is to provide feedback on employment related topics such as; update to the handbook, benefits consortium participation, and discussion of other topics to be considered by administration. 

Please reach out to Christine Coon ( or Luanne Wedge ( in Human Resources by Friday, March 17 if you’re interested in volunteering.

March 13, 2023 Economic Club of Grand Rapids opportunity for GRCC Students

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids has gifted us with the opportunity to have GRCC students participate in an upcoming luncheon FOR FREE.

The next event is Monday, March 13 with Mahendra Ramsinghani, “Web 3.0 is Here. Is Grand Rapids Ready?”

Limited seats are available so please complete this google form and get more information here: