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2020 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

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PHILANTHROPY DR. JUAN

PHILANTHROPY DR. JUAN OLIVAREZ, DONOR AND TRUSTEE, IS INSPIRED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE Dr. Juan Olivarez discovered the value of education early in life, and he has been helping others learn ever since. “I had a brother with Down syndrome, and when we were growing up, I was his protector and teacher,” Olivarez said. “I always loved being there for him and feeling like I was helping him learn something new.” medicine, research and education. This place is a miracle.” Olivarez and his son both fought battles against cancer, and this personal connection to the Institute’s research has given him a special perspective regarding the importance of science, awareness and discoveries that can impact human lives. A former teacher and clinical psychologist, an accomplished university administrator and a generous philanthropist, Olivarez has supported Van Andel Institute’s mission and education initiatives since 2008, both as a board member and a donor. While serving as president of Grand Rapids Community College, Olivarez met David and Carol Van Andel. He was inspired by their passion for biomedical research and science education and became interested in the Institute they helped found. “I knew Carol from working with her on philanthropic events, and when David asked me to join the Board of Trustees for Van Andel Institute for Education, I proudly and enthusiastically accepted,” he said. “I knew from the beginning that the Institute is a gem in our community and how very lucky we are to have it here.” Having lived in Grand Rapids for more than 48 years, Olivarez is amazed by the impact VAI has had on the region and the city he and his wife, Mary, call home. “There is no doubt the establishment of the Institute in 1996 is a marker for a shift in the city’s skyline, as well as the education and research infrastructure of Grand Rapids,” Olivarez said. “It’s really hard to believe everything the Institute has done in such a short amount of time — what started as the Van Andel family’s dream is now a national and international hub for “It’s really hard to believe everything the Institute has done in such a short amount of time — what started as the Van Andel family’s dream is now a national and international hub for medicine, research and education. This place is a miracle.” — DR. JUAN OLIVAREZ “As a survivor and a person whose family has been affected by cancer, I am well aware that we need better treatments and cures. I also know that if we can continue to support research with discipline and tenacity, we will one day find them.” Join Dr. Olivarez and become a VAI donor today. Contact Brett Holleman at brett. holleman@vai.org to learn how you can support the Institute’s scientists in their fight against cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases. DR. JUAN & MARY OLIVAREZ 26 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

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