GV Foundation mourns the loss of long-time supporter

Rachel Matuszewski

A Grand Valley Foundation supporter, Dan Pfeiffer, passed away on March 19 at 89 years old. Pfeiffer

Courtesy / GVSU

will be missed by his family and friends, but his legacy lives on through his generosity to various organizations, commitment to bettering the GVSU community through his work in the Grand Valley Foundation and drive to reach his own goals while caring for others. 

Pfeiffer served on the Grand Valley Foundation for 19 years, starting as a foundation director and in 2012 as a member of the advisory cabinet until his passing. The Grand Valley Foundation is a nonprofit which provides students with grants and scholarships, faculty and academic program development, capital maintenance and growth, as well as long-term fiscal security.

Karen Loth, Vice President for University Development and Executive Director of the GVU Foundation, said Pfeiffer advocated for the GVSU community and generated support. 

“Our GVU Foundation directors are critically important to the success of the university and each of them contributes greatly in their own way,” Loth said. “Thanks to their loyal support, we have grown tremendously in the number of donors and the amount of giving we receive each year so that every student who comes here has the excellent Grand Valley education.  Our community is better because Grand Valley keeps doing amazing things, and it’s largely because of the way our foundation directors give their time, talent, and treasures to support our students.”

According to an obituary by MLive, Pfeiffer was born in 1931 on a farm in Byron Center, Michigan. He left the farm from 1952-1954 to serve in Korea in the United States Army as a sergeant and post-combat driver for generals. Pfeiffer met his wife, Eunice after returning from the Army. They have three daughters, Stephanie, Sarah and Stacy. 

“Dan was a good friend to the university,” Loth said. “He was smart, savvy in business and generous with his gifts — not just to us, but to many nonprofits in West Michigan.”

Pfeiffer’s work for GVSU began in 1980, where he supported capital projects and the Grand Valley State University Endowment Fund. The Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences has the Dan and Eunice Pfeiffer Student Study Space. 

“He was a loyal and active supporter of the university and generations of students have benefited over the years from his generous giving to our Health Campus, the Veteran’s History Project, and to scholarships and academic programs through his support of the university endowment,” said Loth. 

Pfeiffer’s support of others is reflected in his active involvement in the American Cancer Society, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Family Living Center to help patients with Alzheimer’s, and Habitat for Humanity. 

In addition to always wanting to make an honest deal and choose the option that made the most sense, his heartfelt ambition was to support others in becoming champions themselves,” Pfeiffer’s obituary in MLive read.

Pfeiffer liked to say that “If you move fast enough, old Father Time can’t catch up.” Loth advises students to learn from his legacy by finding a cause they believe in, giving with all their heart, and having a little fun along the way. 

A private funeral service was held on March 26 at Zaagman Memorial Chapel to honor Pfeiffer’s life.