Van Andel Institute Graduate School Convenes Sixth Annual Opening Convocation
Students, faculty, Van Andel Institute officials and invited guests commemorate opening of 2012-2013 school year, welcome incoming students
Grand Rapids, Mich. (August 20, 2012)
– Van Andel Institute (VAI) Graduate School launched a sixth school year with its annual convocation, a ceremonial gathering of scholars, officials, students and faculty that signals the beginning of the academic year. The ceremony featured a keynote address from Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., Vice President of Scientific and Medical Affairs for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
“The training you receive in this program prepares you for prestigious postdoctoral positions, the responsibility of running your own research laboratory and the prospect of becoming a leader in your field,” said Van Andel Institute Chairman & CEO David Van Andel, addressing students in his welcoming remarks.
“Before graduating, you have an opportunity to publish manuscripts as lead authors in peer-reviewed journals, to write and submit grant proposals and to present your research findings at national conferences – experiences certain to set your graduate experience apart from most other programs,” said Van Andel.
At VAI Graduate School, Ph.D. candidates work closely with Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) investigators, who serve as the school’s faculty, with the goal of training Ph.D. scientists as leading scholars in cell, molecular and genetic biology relevant to human diseases. Courses blend traditional disciplines into a novel, problem-based curriculum that closely represents the way scientists conduct research.
The first graduates of the program received diplomas in June, and the program is prepared to receive full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2013. The program will eventually recruit eight to 10 students per year with total capacity planned at about 45 students.
The program welcomed five incoming Ph.D. candidates: Alexis Bergsma and Nathan Merrill from the University of Michigan, Jason Cooper from University of Texas, Erin Hildebrandt, a Hope College graduate and Agni Naidu, a graduate of San Francisco State University.
About Van Andel Institute
Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individuals to pursue science or science-related professions. Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), the research arm of VAI, is dedicated to probing the genetic, cellular and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases and working to translate those findings into effective therapies. This is accomplished through the work of over 200 researchers and in collaborative partnerships that span the globe.