GV alumni appointed to board of trustees

GVL /  Courtesy

GVL / Courtesy michigan.gov

Allison Ribick

Michigan governor Rick Snyder appointed Grand Valley State University alumni Victor Cardenas and Megan Sall to the GVSU Board of Trustees. Sall, 32, is the youngest appointed board member in the university’s history.

Cardenas, assistant city manager of Novi, and Sall, business development manager for The Right Place in Grand Rapids, replaced Michael Thomas and Shelley Padnos, whose terms ended last year.

“To be able to give back in any kind of way, especially at this level, is outstanding,” Cardenas said. “As is learning that I’ll be continuing to serve the university for the next eight years.”

Appointed on Dec. 14, Cardenas and Sall started their terms on Jan. 1 and will serve on the board until Dec. 31, 2022.

“I’m really excited to serve GVSU in this capacity,” Sall said. “I love the school and I love what they’re doing. We have some of the best students in the nation, and I want to do what I can to continue to make it a successful place for our students and our community.”

Cardenas also expressed his eagerness to take on the new role.

“I like how the governor has chosen youth for his two appointments this year to give that kind of perspective of younger graduates serving on the board at this time,” Cardenas said. “My love for Grand Valley is pretty deep. I am very grateful for the time I spent there and I attribute a lot of my success to Grand Valley.”

Cardenas graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and went on to earn a master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University. His activities while at GVSU ranged from serving as Student Senate president from 1998 to 1999 to being a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and being involved in the Resident’s Housing Association.

Cardenas is currently a member of the Michigan Local Government Management Association and serves on committees within that organization. Cardenas is also a member of the International City/County Manager Association and is a vice president of the GVSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.

“I’m hoping to build on the successes the people that came before me have established,” Cardenas said. “Grand Valley has a very rich and successful history and I’m hoping that I can be a part of that future to continue to build on being a premiere institution in the Midwest.”

Sall earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 2007 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2009 from GVSU. She was a Cook Leadership Fellow for three years during her time at the university and also worked in the Padnos International Center. Since then, she has spoken to several classes, some in the masters of Public Administration program and in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, and is now a mentor in the Cook Leadership Academy.

“Having a base of knowledge about some of the processes and procedures, and also knowing some of the people (at GVSU), will offer some great insight to get started,” Sall said. “At the same time, I know I have a lot to learn.”

After graduating, Sall interned for the City of Wyoming, Mich. From there, she became the assistant to the city manager and the Downtown Development Authority Director and Community Services Coordinator.

Sall was a program manager for the International City/County Management Association in Washington, D.C., where she managed a USAID project in Afghanistan that helped improve local governance in the area by setting up systems and sharing valuable information for residents.

“I want to be able to help speak into the university’s decisions about how we’re preparing students to enter the workforce and how we’re playing a role in the West Michigan community,” Sall said.

Cardenas and Sall said they look forward to making an impact on the GVSU and Grand Rapids communities in the upcoming years.

“I hope that after the eight years,” Cardenas said. “Grand Valley will be even more of a predominant place for kids in Michigan and across the country to attend.”

The GVSU Board of Trustees is comprised of eight members who work with GVSU President Thomas Haas and his staff to make major decisions concerning budgets and other important matters.

Each board member is appointed by Michigan’s governor and is then confirmed by the Michigan Senate before the member can begin an eight-year term on the university board.