GRCC retiree biography: Janice Chapman

Photo of Janice Champan

Janice Chapman will be retiring from GRCC at the end of fall semester. Janice has worked for GRCC for 9 ½ years as an Assistant Professor in the English Department and prior to this worked at an Alternative High School in Wyoming.

Janice taught developmental English and currently is teaching Integrated Reading and Writing. When asked about her favorite memory at GRCC, Janice said “I have enjoyed reconnecting with some of the students I taught from the Wyoming School District. I have also enjoyed being at the frontlines, acting as a bridge to help students that are underprepared for college. I would say this has been my calling.”

In retirement, Janice is going to enjoy more of her role as Mimi-Jan to 6 amazing little Chapmans. Janice looks forward to having more time for her art and The Arts. Janice and her husband, Don, plan to hike and camp- immersing themselves in the National Parks. They want to play hard while they are healthy. They plan to continue managing their rental properties and if they get bored might flip a few houses.

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Janice. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC and our students. You have really made difference in the lives of many. Enjoy retirement!

GRCC retiree biography: Ron Graves

Ron Graves has worked for GRCC since January 2000 and noted that he will be just shy of 19 years at the College. Ron began in the Cashier’s Office as the Student Tuition Refund Specialist and currently works in Financial Services as one of the two Accounts Payable Support Professionals. Ron stated that “the people I have worked with at GRCC have made coming to work each day so enjoyable. In my current position, my coworkers really care about each other and their families. That is what I will miss most, the friendships we shared every day.”

Ron shared story where he and his wife were invited to their daughter’s nursing program open house a few years ago. He noted that “all the quests were asked to say their name and where they worked. After the ceremony, the instructor came up to me and asked me if I worked in the Cashier’s Office. I said yes, and she told me it was I that helped her get through college. You see, she was stressing about how she was going to pay for classes at GRCC, and she told me it was I that helped explain the FACTS program, and it allowed her to concentrate on her classes instead of her finances. When she told me that, I felt great. I didn’t think I ever made a difference in someone life here at GRCC, but in fact I did!” This is such a powerful story and only one of the many students, faculty, staff, and community members Ron helped throughout the years.

Ron has great plans for his retirement, which involves a lot of warm weather! Ron’s wife isn’t retiring until July 2019, but that hasn’t stopped them from planning. “We are going to Florida in March 2019 to look for a spot to take our fifth wheel and park it for the winter months starting Oct. of 2019. We are also planning to take my youngest granddaughter to Cancun this spring as a graduation gift. We are planning to be in Florida Oct. – April, and here in Michigan the rest of the time.”

Ron is so thankful that Jane Mohr gave him a start in the Cashier’s Office 18 plus years ago. “I love my co-workers, and I hope we can get together on occasion to rehash the good times we had here at GRCC.”

Ron, we look forward to having you return and rehash all of the wonderful memories – you have made a difference at GRCC and had a large impact on the lives of our students and campus community. We wish you the best in your retirement and hope you stop by throughout the year to share your adventures!

Please join Ron Graves at his retirement reception on Thursday, December 13, from 3-5 p.m. in the White Hall Dining Room.

 

GRCC Golden Raider Happy Hour happening this Thursday

Graphic that says "Happy Hour" in a mix of decorative fonts and colors.

The GRCC Golden Raider Happy Hour is back! The first happy hour was a great success and left everyone wanting more, so come connect with colleagues and friends, and throw a few bucks into the collection box for the Golden Raider Scholarship while you’re at it.

This Thursday, December 6, from 3-6 p.m. at Derby Station (2237 Wealthy St SE #130, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506)

  • Cash bar and food
  • Free parking in the ramp behind the restaurant

Folks who are planning on retiring are most welcome, and current retirees are welcome to bring friends!

If you have any questions, please contact Diane Sparks at (616) 690-0009 or Sparkle6045@gmail.com

Golden Raider Retiree Happy Hour tomorrow afternoon

Image that says "Friday Happy Hour" in hot pink and grey, with bubbles and a cartoon, olive-garnished martini.

The GRCC Golden Raider Retirees are hosting their first happy hour! Come connect with your colleagues and friends, and throw a few bucks in the collection box for the Golden Raider Scholarship.

When: Friday, October 19th, from 3-6 p.m.

Where: Derby Station (2237 Wealthy St SE #130, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506)

What else:

  • Cash bar and food.
  • Free parking in the ramp behind the restaurant.
  • Folks who are planning on retiring are most welcome.
  • Current retirees are welcome to bring friends.

Golden Raider Retiree Happy Hour next Friday afternoon

Image that says "Friday Happy Hour" in hot pink and grey, with bubbles and a cartoon, olive-garnished martini.

The GRCC Golden Raider Retirees are hosting their first happy hour! Come connect with your colleagues and friends, and throw a few bucks in the collection box for the Golden Raider Scholarship.

When: Friday, October 19th, from 3-6 p.m.

Where: Derby Station (2237 Wealthy St SE #130, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506)

What else:

  • Cash bar and food.
  • Free parking in the ramp behind the restaurant.
  • Folks who are planning on retiring are most welcome.
  • Current retirees are welcome to bring friends.

Golden Raider Retiree Happy Hour: Friday, 10/19

Image that says "Friday Happy Hour" in hot pink and grey, with bubbles and a cartoon, olive-garnished martini.

The GRCC Golden Raider Retirees are hosting their first happy hour! Come connect with your colleagues and friends, and throw a few bucks in the collection box for the Golden Raider Scholarship.

When: Friday, October 19th, from 3-6 p.m.

Where: Derby Station (2237 Wealthy St SE #130, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506)

What else:

  • Cash bar and food.
  • Free parking in the ramp behind the restaurant.
  • Folks who are planning on retiring are most welcome.
  • Current retirees are welcome to bring friends.

GRCC retiree biography: Bob Leunk

Bob will be retiring from GRCC at the end of July. He has worked at GRCC for eleven years in the Biologicals Sciences department as a faculty member, focusing on teaching Microbiology.

Bob Leunk in a lab classroom posing with equipment.

Bob Leunk

When asked about his favorite story about GRCC students he said he couldn’t think of just one particular story, stating, “I’ve found that every student has a story if I am willing to listen.  There are gifted students who sail through their classes and stressed students who struggle through their classes.  There are youthful students seeking their life’s work, returning students seeking a new career, and seasoned students seeking a new opportunity.  Each student comes with unique abilities, accomplishments, circumstances, and challenges.  Students juggle a lot, struggle at times, stumble occasionally, and excel frequently.  There are so many students and so many stories that I’ll remember for years to come.  I’m a better person because of my students.”

Bob also said, “coming from industry, with limited teaching experience, I was pretty new to education when I arrived at GRCC. I didn’t know what to expect in the classroom or how to get anything done in the organization.  I want to thank my colleagues in the Biology Department for answering all my questions from their wisdom and expertise, for picking me up, calming me down, and helping me find my way at GRCC.  Everyone here has been so generous in offering help and support during my entire time at GRCC.  Thanks to all of you.”

In retirement, Bob plans to spend time with his grandkids, make progress on a long list of house projects, volunteer and travel.

If you can, please stop by to celebrate with Bob on June 20th from 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. in room 320 of Calkins Science Center.

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Bob. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC and our students. You have really made difference in the lives of many.

GRCC retiree biography: Penny Folsom

Penny is retiring from GRCC at the beginning of July. We had asked her a few questions about her experience here at GRCC and here is what she had to say:

“I graduated with my Associate degree (Child Development) from GRCC in May of 1992. I was hired that fall for the preschool. I have worked at the Early Childhood Learning Lab for 26 years. I have both my Bachelor and Master degree in Early Childhood from WMU. During my years I have had an opportunity to work in each of the classrooms, from the infant room to the oldest classroom.

“I have always been passionate about connecting children and their families to the natural world. To this day children demonstrate their excitement for when they find “bugs” and other nature related items. Parents often share with me “new” things they have discovered as well. It brings me joy to know I have touched so many lives and have sparked their passion for learning about and protecting our world.

“Mentoring the college students in our program has provided me many opportunities to feel like I belong to GRCC. Watching them progress through the program, seeing them graduate, and then watching as they work in the field for which I helped train them brings great joy. Many come back to say “thank you” and to let me know they continue to build their confidence and professional skills because of the great start I have provided.

“I am excited to be able to spend long hours engaging with nature, whether gardening, birdwatching, hiking, or sharing my “traveling nature center” with others (www.sayyestonature.com). I will be sharing my love of nature with those who visit FMG Children’s Garden this summer, hosting six of the Science Sunday presentations.

“GRCC has been my home for over 30 years. I have enjoyed my many college “family” connections. I will miss them.”

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Penny. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC, the ECLL families, and our students; you’ve made an amazing difference in the lives of many.

GRCC retiree biography: Karen Walker

Karen Walker will be retiring from GRCC at the end of June. Karen joined the Grand Rapids Community College Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program in January 1987 as faculty and academic fieldwork coordinator. She developed fieldwork sites throughout West Michigan where a Certified Occupational Therapist (COTA) was not employed. Many of these facilities identified the benefit of a COTA and created this position after supervising a student. She developed several courses and unit topics in the OTA curriculum such as therapeutic relationships, adult development, and mental health.

Karen was appointed program director in August 2000. She serves as program director and faculty in the program. She facilitated and supported the OTA faculty (Matthew Mekkes, Lynda Jansen, and Sarah Ryder) to develop learning activities for the students throughout the college and community. These activities help the students to develop awareness and empathy for people with disabilities to be able to treat and advocate for them. The faculty partnered with facilities and programs such as; Lincoln School, Huntington Woods pre-primary impaired program, Martindill Wellness Center, Pilgrim Manor, Oak Ridge Retirement, Brookcrest Rehab, Adam Park apartments, GRCC dental clinic, GRCC preschool, and Michigan Works First.

Karen created unique hands-on learning experiences such as a wheelchair scavenger hunt. This hunt involves teams of students in wheelchairs ranging from sports wheelchairs, scooters, and standard wheelchairs to travel around the campus in search of clues while practicing their mobility skills and identifying campus accessibility.

Karen identified a need for a student conference so she developed and co-chaired the West Michigan Educational Consortium 2001-2015 which focuses on Occupational Therapy specialty practice areas. This was an annual conference for students in West Michigan Occupational Therapy and Occupational Therapy Assistant educational programs.

To keep current with OT practice she created externships for herself under the supervision of OT practitioners, many of whom were OTA program graduates. It was a pleasure being mentored by former students in areas of physical disabilities, home and community health, work hardening, and mental health.

Presently Karen volunteers in community and church activities. She has always been an outdoor enthusiast enjoying snowshoeing, rowing, kayaking, and backpacking. She enjoys traveling with family and friends. She plans to continue these activities in retirement and to explore new ones.

We wish you all the best in your retirement, Karen. Please stay in touch! Thank you for all that you did for GRCC and our students; you’ve made such a difference in the lives of many.

Celebrate Retirees at GRCC Preschool Open House TOMORROW, 6/15

Join us for a punch and cookie reception to say happy retirement to Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom — are all retiring this semester from the Laboratory Preschool. Combined they have worked at GRCC for 99 years!

Friday, June 15, from 4-5:30 p.m.

Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory

Celebrate Retirees at GRCC Preschool Open House on Friday, 6/15

Join us for a punch and cookie reception to say happy retirement to Cheryl Botham, Paula Kunst, and Penny Folsom — are all retiring this semester from the Laboratory Preschool. Combined they have worked at GRCC for 99 years!

Friday June 15 from 4-5:30 p.m.

Phyllis Fratzke Early Childhood Learning Laboratory