Students are optimistic about new GV Board of Trustee appointments


Courtesy / GVNext

Madison Steigerwald, Staff Writer

At the beginning of February, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office appointed two new members to Grand Valley State University’s Board of Trustees, pending Senate approval. 

Although voters elect who governs three major public universities in the state, the governor appoints Trustees for the remaining public four-year institutions in Michigan. These trustees make many discussions about community and campus partnerships, create annual programs and manage business affairs. 

The new appointees are Ronald E. Hall (of Bloomfield Township, Michigan) and Shelley E. Padnos (of Fennville, Michigan). They will replace Megan Rydecki and Victor Cardenas, whose terms expired at the end of last year. 

Hall received a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point and later served as a captain in the U.S. Army. Additionally, Hall received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School. 

Hall is the president and chief executive officer of Bridgewater Interiors, L.L.C., an automotive interiors manufacturing firm located in Detroit. He also serves on several executive boards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago – Detroit Branch, Corewell Health, the Skillman Foundation, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Business Leaders for Michigan, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association – Original Equipment Division and Detroit PAL’s advisory board. 

“I am honored by this appointment and humbled by the confidence being placed in me by Governor Whitmer,” Hall said in an interview with GVNext. “Educational opportunity expansion is a personal passion of mine, and I have supported various entities in the space my entire career. GVSU is doing great work educating and preparing future leaders and citizens for Michigan, and I look forward to joining their efforts.” 

Padnos is the executive vice president of PADNOS, a company that “buys, processes and sells paper, plastics, metals and more for industrial and commercial clients.” She received an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Cooley Law School. 

Padnos has a lengthy history with GVSU, previously serving on the Board from 2007 to 2014 and as a Grand Valley University Foundation director for the last three decades. Additionally, she and Carol Sarosik created the Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, housed in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. This center aims to create dialogue across the GVSU campus and West Michigan. 

“I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for my appointment and am very much looking forward to rejoining the board of Grand Valley,” Padnos said to GVNext. “Universities face huge challenges going forward, and it is my goal to add value by crafting solutions and directions for GVSU.”

Josie Jackson, GVSU student and treasurer of the Law Society, values the consideration placed in Padnos’ appointment regarding her experience within the community.

“I think it is really important that the Governor considers who they are placing in this position,” Jackson said. “Even though Grand Valley is a smaller university, this decision will affect the community here so it is comforting to know that Shelley Padnos has been a part of the GVSU community for a while.” 

The Board of Trustees’ role is to adopt general philosophies and policies for the University and provide guidance to the administration regarding them. In the last year, the Board made decisions regarding adding degrees, increasing tuition and approving President Mantella’s contract extension. 

GVSU Student Senate President Faith Kidd said she’s optimistic about the new members of the Board of Trustees making changes students want and need. 

“I hope that the new members are open to making positive changes as we exit the pandemic and combat issues such as low engagement, low student wages, low participation in student government and declining enrollment,” Kidd said.  

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Feb. 24 at the Seidman Center in Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 8 a.m. and the Board of Trustees Formal Session starts at 11 a.m. Students are encouraged to come and voice any concerns they may have.