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2021 Spring/Summer Highlights of Hope

  • Text
  • Cancer
  • School
  • Research
  • Education
  • Philanthropy
  • Scientific
  • Vai
  • Institute
  • Rapids
  • Institute
  • Hope
  • Michigan
  • Scientists
  • Virtual
The 2021 Spring/Summer edition of Van Andel Institute's Highlights of Hope donor publication.

PHILANTHROPY TRIBUTES

PHILANTHROPY TRIBUTES Gerald Bovenkamp Michael Garland George A. Sharpe Todd Stevens Kimberly Van Stee Chris & Julie Bovenkamp Cynthia Thayer Fredrick & Elizabeth Kathleen Teunis Alvin & Joyce Docter Edgerton Phantom Hockey Families Thomas & Garretta David & Carol Van Andel Christa Grieve Newhof Matthew R. Steensma Duke Suwyn Kevin & Julie Kieft Arlin & Emma Disselkoen Greg & Barbara Marczak These lists represent gifts made between July 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020. The accuracy of these lists is very important to us. Please contact 616.234.5552 if an error has been made. In Memoriam PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN’S FORD SCHOOL Peter Secchia, an ardent supporter of Van Andel Institute and a member of its Board of Governors, passed away Oct. 21, 2020, at the age of 83. He often was described as “larger than life” and leaves a substantial hole in the collective spirit of West Michigan and in the hearts of family and friends worldwide. Along with his wife, Joan, Secchia was a long-time supporter of VAI from the early years. “What a time this is for Grand Rapids … new and improved medical facilities, a new medical school, a focus on life sciences … and right at the heart of all of this is Van Andel Institute,” said the pair in VAI’s 2007 Annual Report. “The city is experiencing a complete transformation.” Secchia was the recipient of many notable awards throughout his life, including the Carol Van Andel Angel of Excellence Award, which he and Joan each received in 2017. The award celebrates individuals who have demonstrated significant contributions to VAI through volunteer service and philanthropy. Elsewhere on the Medical Mile, when Michigan State University was seeking to expand its medical school, Secchia worked to ensure its new campus was located in Grand Rapids. Today, MSU’s College of Human Medicine is housed in the Secchia Center on the city’s Medical Mile. 30 | VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE

Dr. Luis Tomatis, a driving force in bringing Van Andel Institute to life, passed away Sept. 29, 2020. Originally from Argentina, Tomatis was an energetic advocate for Grand Rapids, Mich. He was influential in creating and maintaining the environment that enabled the Institute to thrive and the Medical Mile to sprout up around us. Tomatis helped recruit top-tier scientific talent to establish VAI’s first Board of Scientific Advisors and appoint Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Brown as the board’s first chairman. After serving as VAI’s founding president from 1995 to 2001, he went on to become the director of medical affairs for the Richard M. DeVos family. A cardiothoracic surgeon, Tomatis was a former chief of cardiovascular surgery at Spectrum Health and MSU professor of cardiac surgery. He won numerous awards, volunteered for organizations like the American Heart Association and the Grand Rapids Symphony, and was responsible for arranging for invaluable medical equipment to be sent to his homeland of Argentina. Dr. Gordon Van Wylen passed away Nov. 5, 2020, at the age of 100. As one of VAI’s original trustees, Van Wylen was instrumental in establishing the early programs of Van Andel Institute for Education and created the groundwork for the success of VAI. We continue to see his vision in action through the programs we are developing and implementing today, some 25 years later. A man of immense scientific knowledge, education, experience and integrity, Van Wylen was an accomplished educator and administrator. He served as dean of engineering at University of Michigan, as Hope College president for 15 years, and as founding trustee and inaugural director of Van Andel Institute for Education. Van Wylen generously devoted his time and talent to numerous other organizations throughout his life. He was widely regarded as a thoughtful, visionary, kind and respectful leader. VAN ANDEL INSTITUTE HIGHLIGHTS OF HOPE | 31

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