GVSU announces Peter Secchia military support program

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Peter Secchia Photo by Johnny Quirin

Grand Valley State University will be providing more resources to veterans and active-duty military servicemen and women courtesy of the new Peter Secchia Military and Veterans Program, a gift offering from the Secchia family.

The program was named after the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter F. Secchia, who also served in the military and was the director of the Grand Valley University Foundation for decades. It will provide career support like transitioning from military to civilian careers and support for the development of multifunctional spaces, including a presence in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Dad would have been very pleased that our family can support these men and women who have given so much for all of us,” said Charlie Secchia, son of Peter Secchia. “We are excited about Grand Valley’s plans for the future and excited to be a part of it.”

GVSU will now be able to combine the majority of its resources for military and veterans into one comprehensive program that will optimize current offerings and help expand programming with new initiatives for veterans, including spouses and dependents, whether they are students or alumni.

“Because of the Secchia family, Grand Valley will be able to provide our military and veteran students with the additional support they need to accomplish their personal, educational and career goals,” GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella said. “We thank them for their generous support.”

In November, the university established the GVSU Veteran Promise, which guarantees admission to Grand Valley for enlisted 2021 Michigan high school graduates.

Last year, GVSU hired Jill Wolfe, an Army veteran and GVSU alumna, to serve as Grand Valley’s military and veterans resources manager. The position was created to support the more than 400 military or student veterans currently pursuing their degrees, as well as help hundreds more as they translate their military skills into careers as civilian leaders and entrepreneurs.

“We know nearly 200,000 service members become veterans each year and about 115,000 of those veterans are in a college classroom within seven months of separation from the military,” Wolfe said. “Grand Valley has a history of successful educational programs and support for student veterans, and we will now be able to share these opportunities with many more, thanks to the Secchias.”

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