College names winner of Excellence in Business Award


Birgit Klohs. Courtesy The Right Place

A college is scheduled to recognize a business leader at an annual fundraising event that will feature guest speaker Anderson Cooper.

Davenport University said today that it will honor Birgit Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place in Grand Rapids, a regional economic development nonprofit, with the 2016 Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award during its 19th-annual Excellence in Business Gala on May 6 at 6 p.m. at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids.

The gala

Davenport’s Excellence in Business Gala is the school’s largest annual fundraising event intended to directly benefit student scholarships.

“We are so grateful for the support of our generous contributors and business community who help DU students find success in the classroom and in their career,” said Peg Luy, EVP of alumni and development, DU.

This year’s business gala will feature journalist Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s nightly newscast “Anderson Cooper 360” and host of “AC360 Later,” and will recognize Klohs and her work as the recipient of the Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award.

Tickets for the annual gala can be purchased online.

Cook award

Richard Pappas, president of DU, said the gala is a celebration of business excellence as exemplified by Klohs, who has made an indelible mark on Grand Rapids throughout her 28-year career leading The Right Place.

“[Kloh’s] expertise as a leader in economic development and her success in bringing many outstanding companies to this market make her an outstanding selection as recipient of the Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award,” Pappas said.

The award was established in 1998 in honor of Peter C. Cook and highlights business and community leaders who exemplify the “entrepreneurial spirit, success and generosity to community.”


Klohs has served as the president and CEO of The Right Place for 28 years and has helped facilitate the creation of more than 40,000 jobs and $4 billion in capital investment in the region, according to DU.

She has served on a number of boards in West Michigan and was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the International Crossing Authority to oversee the construction of the North American International Trade Crossing.

Klohs is also a frequent speaker on national and international economic development topics and has participated in events in France, England, Germany, Sweden, China, Australia and Israel.

Klohs is a graduate of Western Michigan University, the Economic Development Institute, has completed the National Development Council’s economic development finance program and participated in a program on negotiation through Harvard University.


Cooper has received recognition for his journalism work, such as helping to lead CNN’s award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami.

He has also received eight Emmy Awards and an Edward R Murrow Award.

Since launching his career in 1992, Cooper has worked at Channel One News as a chief international correspondent, ABC News as a correspondent, host and anchor and CNN.

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