Vanessa Greene, director of multicultural education at Hope College, received “Women of Achievement” recognition during the 37th annual YWCA TRIBUTE! Awards luncheon held in downtown Grand Rapids at DeVos Place on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Featuring the theme “eliminating racism, empowering women,” the event honored local women and female high school students for their personal accomplishments and commitments to the community. The program recognized 39 “Women of Distinction,” who were nominated by sponsors of the YWCA, in addition to presenting individual awards in seven categories (advocacy; arts; business, management, industry and labor; community service; professions; sports, fitness and wellness; and student honoree).
Greene, who was honored with the “Women of Distinction” recognition by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, has been director of multicultural education at Hope since 2003. She works with faculty, administrators, student groups, and community leaders to create greater awareness and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
During her tenure at Hope, she has led numerous new initiatives, including extensive programming in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, as well as luncheons and programs with keynote speakers, marches, film reviews, diversity workshops, and dialogues. She developed a Multicultural Leadership program and has sponsored highly successful leadership conferences and retreats for students. She also serves on numerous campus boards and committees to promote academic excellence, spiritual growth, leadership development, and social justice.
She is currently serving a second term as the president of the Grand Rapids Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., a national organization founded on Christian principles with a mission of community service. She was instrumental in chartering the college’s Tau Psi chapter of the sorority in 2005.
Her past community activities include having served as a member of the board of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA); co-chairing the Leadership Orientation Program Committee of the City of Holland’s Multicultural Resource Network; and directing the “START NOW!!! Get Ready for College Program,” which she founded. She lives in Wyoming and is a member of Messiah Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, where she is actively involved in the “children’s church” ministry.
Immediately prior to coming to Hope, she had worked in Continuing Education at Grand Valley State University for several years. Her professional experience has also included six years in vocational rehabilitation and five years as an entrepreneur.
In 2002, Grand Valley’s Counseling and Career Development Center presented her with the “Counselor of the Year Award.” In 2003, she received the “Champion of Diversity” award from LEDA. 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, as well as a mentoring award from the college’s multicultural student organizations. In October 2007 she was one of 21 nominees for the Lakeshore ATHENA Award presented by the Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg; the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2008, she received the “Phyllis Scott Activist Award,” recognized for her efforts on behalf of minority students, during the 26th annual Giants Banquet and Awards Ceremony honoring individuals and organizations for making exceptional contributions in shaping the history and quality of life in Greater Grand Rapids.
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.