posted January 23, 2008

Vanessa Greene to Receive Giants Award

 Vanessa Greene, director of multicultural education at Hope College, will be honored during the 26th annual Giants Banquet and Awards Ceremony, to be held at Grand Rapids Community College on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The Giants awards honor individuals and organizations for making exceptional contributions in shaping the history and quality of life in Greater Grand Rapids. Each is named for an individual who pioneered change that fostered the inclusion of minorities into all walks of life in the community.

Greene will be among 11 community members and two organizations to receive the awards during the evening. She will receive the Phyllis Scott Activist Award, named for Phyllis Scott, who fought for the rights and dignity of minority students in a time when many inequalities were prevalent in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

"I have witnessed Vanessa's tireless efforts on behalf of the students at Hope College that are a true reflection of the meaning of this award," said Christina Arnold, who is director of the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at GRCC, which coordinates the awards program. "This award is just a fitting reflection of her daily dedication not only to the health and strength of Hope College but of our full community."

Greene has been director of multicultural education at Hope since 2003. The college's Office of Multicultural Education works with students, faculty, staff and other members of the Hope community in conjunction with the college's overall effort to enhance minority participation and explore issues related to diversity.

In conjunction with her role at Hope she also chairs the college's Committee on Multicultural Education, co-chairs Hope's President's Implementation Committee and serves as campus liaison for the Great Lakes Colleges Association Committee for Institutional Commitment to Educational Equity. She is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and of the American College Personnel Association.

Her community activities currently include serving as a member of the board of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA), and she is a member of Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, where she is actively involved in the "children's church" ministry. She has also co-chaired the Leadership Orientation Program Committee of the City of Holland's Multicultural Resource Network; and was a director of the "START NOW!!! Get Ready for College Program," which she founded. She lives in Wyoming.

Immediately prior to joining the Hope staff Greene was employed at Grand Valley State University for five years, working in the Continuing Education department. She was responsible for admissions, financial aid, academic advising and career services. She also worked with students, faculty and staff, and in community outreach in a variety of ways. Among other activities, her responsibilities included developing college preparatory programs for middle school and high school students; coordinating diversity development programs for faculty and staff; coordinating tutoring services; and teaching a freshman seminar.

In 2002, Grand Valley's Counseling and Career Development Center presented her with the "Counselor of the Year Award." In 2005, she received an award from the Wolverine State Baptist Convention Women's Auxiliary for achievements in Christian Education and Religious Promotion in Human Relations. In October 2007 she was one of 21 nominees for the Lakeshore ATHENA Award presented by the Chamber of Grand Haven, SpringLake and Ferrysburg; the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce.

Her career experiences prior to joining Grand Valley's staff included serving as an independent art consultant with Creative Galleries Inc. in Grand Rapids; as a vocational rehabilitation consultant with Coordinated Rehabilitation Employment Consultants in Grand Rapids; and as a program manager and counselor with Work Skills Corporation in Ann Arbor.

Greene graduated from Grand Valley with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1983. She completed a master's in education, in college student affairs leadership, at Grand Valley in 1998.

The Giants awards were initiated in 1983 by GRCC's Continuing Education Office and the African-American community. In addition to the recipients of the named awards, a "Giant Among Giants Award" winner will be announced during the banquet.