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.