Founder of i Understand non-profit joins Davenport University alumni board

Davenport University leaders have announced that Yvonne (Vonnie) Woodrick has joined its Alumni Association Board for a three-year term. Woodrick, a West Michigan native, graduated from the university in 1984. She said it’s wonderful to be part of the university that means so much to her.

“It’s truly an honor to be in a position to highlight Davenport, a university that is near and dear to my heart,” said Woodrick. “Witnessing the growth from a college to a university has been amazing, and the expansion of Davenport’s mental and behavioral health services and academic programs is extremely important to me.”

Mental health has been a focus for Woodrick since her husband, Rob, died from depression in 2003. The young widow with three children set out to change attitudes surrounding mental health and suicide. This cause has become her life’s work, and she founded the nonprofit organization i Understand in 2014. Her work and Davenport’s recent additions of a campus wellness center and two master’s degrees connected to mental health make this renewed connection between Woodrick and the university even more meaningful to her. This fall, the university launched the Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration, and the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling.

“The actions taken in this area by Davenport leaders display their understanding that mental health is health,” Woodrick said. “At the university, the topic is discussed, resources are readily available and career choices in this field are cutting edge. I am grateful Davenport University is bringing the mental and brain health conversations to the forefront. I am excited to be a part of this and can’t wait to see what the future holds in this area.”

Woodrick joins 11 other Davenport alumni who serve the university and its mission through its Alumni Association Board.

“We’re delighted to have Vonnie join our strong alumni board,” said Rachel Render, executive vice president for Advancement at Davenport. “Vonnie’s expertise is important as we focus on the whole health of our students as they pursue their higher education dreams.”

For more information on i Understand, go to:


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