Davenport University appoints new members to its Board of Trustees

Davenport University has appointed two West Michigan community leaders to its Board of Trustees. Rachel Mraz, a senior vice president with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and Kent Riddle, the president and CEO of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation, have deepened their connection with the university by joining the university’s board. Mraz was serving on Davenport’s Foundation Board, and Riddle was honored at this year’s commencement ceremony with an honorary doctorate.

In addition to her work as a wealth management advisor, Mraz has a passion for philanthropy. She serves on many West Michigan boards, including those of John Ball Zoo, the Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

Mraz is a native of Grand Rapids and has a master’s degree in financial services with a focus in tax and philanthropic planning from the American College and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

“I am so pleased to become a Davenport trustee, especially at this point in the university’s history,” said Mraz. “Davenport has a rich legacy, but more importantly, it’s got a steady eye on what’s coming. I know university leadership is passionate about educating students for current jobs and the jobs of the future. It’s exciting to be part of crafting the vision for what’s ahead.”



Riddle graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering, which led him to a career in real estate development and global mergers and acquisitions. He began his association with Mary Free Bed after his wife suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash in 2002 and received rehabilitation care at Mary Free Bed. His gratitude led him to join the hospital board, and his knowledge and skills led him to be CEO of the organization in 2011. It has flourished under his leadership, including with the creation of Joan Secchia Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital set to open in 2026.

 “Davenport is breaking the mold in connecting students of all ages to jobs, including in the field of health care,” said Riddle. “They’re committed to identifying the needs of our growing community and preparing bright, innovative thinkers with leading-edge degree programs to help shape it. Davenport has a forward-thinking approach to education, and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to help support the university and its mission.”

Mraz and Riddle will participate in their first Davenport University Board of Trustees meeting in June.

“Davenport is so fortunate to have Rachel and Kent join our Board of Trustees,” said Davenport University President Richard J. Pappas, Ed.D. “To have leaders of their caliber embrace our mission to serve students at all stages of life means the university and the region will benefit from their talent and contributions for years to come.”


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