The Grand Rapids Southeast Promise Neighborhood Project, funded at roughly $6 million a year, will address a pipeline of 14 evidence-based solutions for student success, including school readiness, literacy and math success, transitions to middle and high school, post-secondary preparation, and a variety of student and family health and security targets.
Opportunity. It’s a word that you’ll find used widely in ad campaigns and recruiting brochures. It can make you look for the fine print or wonder what the catch is. At Western, it’s more than a word—it’s a motivation for our work and a promise to our students. I hear it frequently when I meet with alumni who eagerly tell me how Western offered them opportunity they couldn’t find elsewhere or when students share their excitement about the future, thanks to the possibilities they’ve discovered with us.
Our focus on and success in providing opportunity inspired the donors who chose to establish the Empowering Futures Gift. Their awe-inspiring $550 million contribution announced this past summer was the largest donation for a public university in U.S. history. That generous gift is focused on enabling Western to offer opportunities that will remove barriers for generations of students who might have thought a college education was out of reach or those facing challenges that threaten to derail their dreams. The gift allows for a significant expansion of need-based financial assistance for tuition and housing as well as gap funding for degree completion. We’ll also elevate career exploration and development activities like internships, practicums and co-ops; bolster health and well-being support; and undergird it all with faculty committed to student success and creative scholarship.
Opportunity is what Western offered to Dr. Merze Tate when other universities would not. We named our new University College in honor of this first Black woman to earn a bachelor’s degree here. And I know the students who walk through the doors of Merze Tate College, like Dr. Tate herself, will find the guidance and range of new opportunities that will inspire them to discover their own purpose and set their own future course. Read more about the new Merze Tate College and how its career exploration, academic advising and full complement of services support student achievement.
It’s a great time to be at Western—a place that has long focused on student success as it takes its promise “so that all may learn” to a new level. That’s what’s so exciting about these forward-looking activities—we are building on the foundation that we’ve already established to envision a future that’s open to every student who wants the chance to discover their purpose and develop a vision for a rich and rewarding life journey. Fulfilling that promise takes a community that shares a common goal and is prepared to join with us to dream, plan and take action. And the best part? There is always room for people who want to be part of our work to expand on our promise of providing that opportunity.
I hope you’ll be among them.
Edward Montgomery, Ph.D.
Always Dream Bigger
Power outages are happening more frequently and for longer time periods across the country, spurred by the combination of more extreme weather events— from heat waves to wildfires to hurricanes—and an aging energy infrastructure. It's a race against time to transition to renewable energy as the window to reverse the damage done by carbon emissions continues to close, says Dr. Pablo Gomez, associate professor of electrical engineering and director of the WMU Power Lab.
A team of social workers and psychologists with roots at WMU is growing its practice to bring mental health and wellness services to where its clients are—literally and figuratively.