‘Toast’ celebrates grads’ time at GV and beyond


Courtesy / GVSU

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

Alumni Relations will be hosting a celebration for 2023 graduates on Thursday, April 13 called “Toast to the class of 2023.” This event will give graduating students an opportunity to catch up with friends, enjoy light refreshments and take home a commemorative Laker for a Lifetime champagne flute. 

All students who will be attending upcoming winter or summer commencement ceremonies are invited to attend the event. The event has been sponsored by Alumni Relations since 2013 and provides seniors with a chance to celebrate their pending graduation with President Philomena Mantella.

“Toast to the Class of 2023 is a celebration of your journey as a student, your graduation and what it means to be a Laker for a Lifetime,” said Alumni Relations Assistant Director of Events and Volunteer Management Ashlyn Leavitt. “Students will enjoy music, photo opportunities, dessert, sparkling punch and a glass of champagne (or a non-alcoholic variety), before raising their glasses to Toast the Class of 2023.” 

Alongside remarks from Mantella, GVSU Alumna and Alumni Relations Board of Directors Member KJ Tucker will speak at the event.

The toast is part of a series of additional complementary commencement events held by various groups across campus. The events are designated to be smaller, more intimate celebrations of graduates from student organizations and similar organizations. 

Leavitt said turnout is looking promising for the Taste event. 

It seems like students are excited about the return of the event,” Leavitt said. “Our goal was to have 500 students participate this year and we have already surpassed that.” 

The Toast event was originally called “Toast with T-Haas,” after the then GVSU President Thomas J. Haas. In its inaugural year, roughly 120 students attended the event. By the next year, the number of attendees doubled and has only increased since. 

“I’m so proud to represent the GVSU Lakers within the community, state and across the nation,” Haas said during the inaugural toast. “When I come back to GVSU, I come back to family.”

The Alumni Office aims to make this event a way to celebrate students’ time at GVSU and transition them into the future as alumni. Currently, the alumni network consists of around 138,000 graduates.

The event aims to culminate the “L3” commitment: Laker Lifetime Learning. This principle outlines the university’s statement of commitment to creating a network of resources and support for students from the day of their admittance to GVSU and post-graduation. 

Overall, the event acts as a send-off for seniors before they walk across the commencement stage in the next few weeks. For some, commencement will mark an entrance into the workforce while for others a stepping stone to the next phase of their education.

For those interested in attending the event, Alumni relations request that all attendees RSVP by April 10. A valid state I.D. is required for event attendance.