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2021 Graduate School Commencement Program

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This is the event program for Van Andel Institute Graduate School's 2021 Commencement Ceremony. It includes bios for each graduating student.


HISTORY OF VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE GRADUATE SCHOOL Van Andel Institute Graduate School develops future biomedical research leaders through an intense, problem-focused Ph.D. degree in molecular and cell biology. Through the leadership of Dr. Gordon Van Harn, then the director of Van Andel Institute for Education, the Graduate School was formally incorporated in 2005 and later that year received approval to grant doctoral and master’s degrees. The founding dean, Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg, was hired in 2006. The first class of three students matriculated in August 2007, and the first Ph.D. degrees were conferred in 2012. Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission was initially granted in 2013 and was reaffirmed in 2018. As of April 2021, the Graduate School student body has grown to 36 students. VAI is proud of 28 alumni pursuing excellent careers in academia, research and industry. Twenty-five students have graduated with Ph.D. degrees (two in the M.D./Ph.D. program), and three with master’s degrees. A strategic plan adopted in 2019 guides the continued growth, innovation, and excellence of the Graduate School through the year 2025. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We gratefully acknowledge that the origins and success of the Graduate School arise from: • The generosity of Jay and Betty Van Andel, whose vision led to the founding of VAI • Stalwart support of David Van Andel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of VAI • Thoughtful guidance from the Van Andel Education Institute Board of Trustees • Creative direction and diligent oversight by past and current members of the Van Andel Institute Graduate School Board of Directors • Committed leadership of Dr. Steven J. Triezenberg, President and Dean, Van Andel Institute Graduate School • Dedicated and excellent work by Graduate School staff members Kathy Bentley, Dr. Brian Haab, Michelle Love, Christy Mayo, Susanne Miller-Schachinger, Alli Roman and Dr. John Vasquez • Excellent operational and administrative support from VAI departments and staff • Scientific leadership and commitment from Dr. Peter A. Jones, Chief Scientific Officer, and his predecessors Dr. Jeffrey Trent and the late Dr. George Vande Woude • The passion of our faculty for doing science that improves the health and enhances the lives of current and future generations, and their commitment to teaching, training, and developing the future leaders of this discipline.

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