A message from the president

As seen in the Fall DU Review magazine. 

There is so much about fall that signals excitement, and that is incredibly apparent on our campuses. We just moved in the largest number of residents in our history onto our W.A. Lettinga Grand Rapids Campus, and we are celebrating positive enrollment growth for our university. Our vision and mission to be a renowned quality institution of higher education that prepares and transforms students to achieve and excel in their careers is resonating and inspiring. Yes, we have much to celebrate.


We are living out our stated mission as we move through our plan for the future: Vision 2025. On the pages of DU Review, you can see the vision coming to life. You will read about the custom programs we have created and grown to reach all students, regardless of their backgrounds, circumstances or socioeconomic status. When you hear from alumni like Yamaka Bracey, who has a master’s degree from our College of Urban Education, how Davenport and its classes, faculty and approach fed her passion to be the best educator in an urban district, you will be moved and know her students are in good hands. The effects of our university grow wider through all the students we touch, and all whom they touch, and so on. What an awesome responsibility and privilege.

We are grateful that Davenport’s vision inspires support from our greater community. Many of you have become involved with our ELEVATE Campaign, which is an ambitious multi-year campaign dedicated to securing resources for our students, and attended our Excellence in Business event featuring golf great Jack Nicklaus. You will see a recap of that wonderful night, which included honoring Dr. Jacqueline Taylor with the Peter C. Cook Excellence in Business Award.

Also in this issue, you’ll read about two mental health programs that are new this Fall Semester and the direct result of the Klingenberg family providing necessary resources. The master’s degrees in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and in mental health counseling are both seeing enrollments above our targets. Employers throughout the state are waiting to hire and promote these students when they graduate.

University life is enriching in the classroom and also outside of it. Our fall sports got off to a great start, and we have expanded some of our varsity sports. You can read about a NASA scientist who made a dramatic career switch, came to Davenport, and is now the first full-time women’s ultimate Frisbee coach in the country.

Davenport is full of true and inspiring stories. Thank you for being a part of making them possible and for enriching the fall season and our collective future in remarkable ways.



Richard J. Pappas, Ed.D.



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