Former GR mayor joins college’s sustainability office


George Heartwell. Photo via

Former Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell has taken a part-time position with a local college that will allow him to continue his work in the area of sustainability.

Grand Valley State University announced that Heartwell would serve as community sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability Practices in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Heartwell, whose 12-year tenure as mayor ended Dec. 31, will begin his new role in February.

New role

As community sustainability coordinator, Heartwell will further Grand Valley’s goals in the areas of sustainability and civic engagement, and serve as a resource for students.

He will continue to chair the Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership and Grand Rapids Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development.

"I look forward to bringing to Grand Valley my passion for sustainability, the broad network of relationships I cultivated during my time in public office, and my love of West Michigan," Heartwell said.

Sustainability expertise

Anne Hiskes, dean of Brooks College, tapped Heartwell for the position upon learning he would be leaving the mayor’s office.

“I cannot think of an individual with a richer experience in sustainability, social innovation and community engagement,” she said.

Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas also noted Heartwell’s extensive experience.

“George’s dedication to advancing the sustainability practices of Grand Rapids is unwavering,” Haas said.

“His expertise and experiences will help Grand Valley continue as a leader in sustainability and partner of the city of Grand Rapids.”

Grand Valley has been nationally recognized for its best practices and culture, earning accolades from The Princeton Review, Sierra Club and Best Colleges.

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