Birgit M. Klohs, president and CEO of The Right Place, Inc., will serve as Davenport University’s 2019 commencement speaker this Sunday at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As more than 900 students receive their bachelor’s and graduate degrees in business, technology, health and urban education from Davenport University, Klohs will receive an honorary doctorate of business degree.
“It is an honor to have Birgit Klohs speak at this year’s commencement ceremony,” said Dr. Richard Pappas, president of Davenport University. “As a former Davenport University Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award honoree and a recent inductee into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Birgit is a model example for our students of how to create a successful and community-minded career.”
This year’s Davenport University graduates range in age between 19 and 64. They hail not only from cities across Michigan but also from 21 states across the U.S. as well as internationally. Nearly 40 percent of this year’s students are the first in their families to graduate from college. Students will be earning degrees spanning from accounting to cybersecurity to occupational therapy and nursing. Nearly 30 percent are graduating with a master’s degree and another 60 percent are earning their bachelor’s.
Klohs has served as the president and CEO for The Right Place, Inc., a regional economic development organization, for more than 30 years. Under her leadership, it has created more than 44,000 new and retained jobs while spurring over $4.8 billion in new investment throughout West Michigan. As a leading economic development strategist, Klohs collaborates with local, state and national organizations on critical issues related to economic development.
Klohs’ career began as an industrial consultant with the Berrien County Economic Development Corporation. She later served with the Michigan Department of Commerce and then Grand Valley State University, where she was assistant director of the Office of Economic Development. Klohs is a graduate of Western Michigan University and the Economic Development Institute. She also completed the economic development finance program through the National Development Council as well as Harvard’s executive management programs.
Graduates will walk at a ceremony held at the Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids this Sunday. More information about the ceremony and a live streamed video can be accessed at davenport.edu/commencement.