Honors college alumni finds success in law, maintains connection with GV


Courtesy / GVSU Alumni

Jack Blake, Staff Writer

Approximately 1,500 students are enrolled in Grand Valley State University’s Frederik Meijer Honors College (FMHC). Being in FMHC provides students with smaller class sizes to promote discussion, a vast array of co-curricular activities and resources meant to encourage undergraduate students to pursue research and leadership positions.

One GVSU and FMHC alumna Kirstyn Wildey was recently featured on the GVSU Alumni Facebook account for her professional success since graduating in 2011. 

Wildey earned her undergraduate degree in human resource management and went on to law school after her time at GVSU. In 2022, Wildey was selected for inclusion in “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watchfor banking and finance law, public finance law and real estate law

“My time at the Frederik Meijer Honors College was instrumental in helping develop critical thinking, research and writing skills, all of which paved a path for success during my time both as a law student at the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School and as an attorney with McDonald Hopkins,” Wildey said.

On top of being a student in the honors college, Wildey participated in GVSU’s study abroad program and lived as a student in Sydney, Australia.

“GVSU has a fantastic Study Abroad program through the Padnos International Center, and I encourage all students to explore studying in a foreign country – even if it is studying an area outside of their major,” Wildey said. “It truly is a once in a lifetime experience.”

After graduating from GVSU, Wildey wanted to find ways to stay involved with the university.

In 2014, she applied to become a board member for the Alumni Association and took part in many monumental changes to the university. During her eight-year tenure on the board, she oversaw planning for GVSU’s 60th birthday, the retirement of former GVSU President Thomas Haas and welcomed the current GVSU President Philomena Mantella. 

Recently, Wildey has been serving as a senior associate for the McDonald Hopkins law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, specializing as a tax credit finance and commercial real estate attorney. 

For her efforts in law, she was included in a list of the best lawyers for her respective specialty.

Wildey said this award is “given to attorneys in private practice who have typically been practicing for five to nine years.” First attorneys are nominated for the award then go through a peer review voting process.

“I have been honored to receive this award for the past two years in the areas of Real Estate Law, Banking and Finance Law and Public Finance Law,” Wildey said. 

Wildey credited some of her success to her time as a student at GVSU and still keeps in touch with professors, mentors and fellow alumni from her undergraduate experience. 

Additionally, Wildey maintains her connection to current GVSU students in many ways. She recently spoke to Seidman College of Business students regarding her life since graduating and actively connects on LinkedIn