This Year's Honorees
We look forward to honoring former EGRPS Custodial Supervisor Bruce Towne and CDR. Bill Krissoff, MD, Medical Corps, United States Navy (Ret.), who will be the guests of honor at the Foundation's Community Service and Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner, Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Bruce Towne spent 23 years as an EGRPS custodian, but that doesn't begin to describe the difference he made in our community. Towne's enthusiasm, friendliness, energy, and passion made him among the most well known and well loved people in town. When he worked his last day for the schools earlier this year, it was a bittersweet occasion that overflowed with gratitude and appreciation. Towne will be honored with the Community Service Award.
Commander Krissoff, who graduated from EGRHS in 1964, is an orthopedic surgeon who honored his fallen Marine son Nate in an extraordinary way. After Nate was killed in action in Iraq, Dr. Krissoff, at age 60, decided to walk away from his thriving practice to join the United States Navy Medical Corps. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, caring for injured soldiers. Major General Larry Nicholson, who had been Nate's regimental commander in Iraq, served as the top Marine general in southern Afghanistan during Krissoff's time there. "Bill made a difference for good every day," said Nicholson. "There can be no greater act of love by a father for his fallen son than to take his place in the ranks in the midst of war." Commander Krissoff will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Additional information regarding this event will be shared in 2021. Please check back for updated event information.
Recap of 2018 Awards Dinner
The Foundation held the 11th Community Service and Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner Thursday, November 1, 2018 at Thousand Oaks Golf Club. Photos from the dinner are available at the bottom of this page, below the Now&Forever video.
The Community Service Award honors someone who has significantly contributed their leadership and spirit to the community of East Grand Rapids. The recipient doesn’t need to be an East Grand Rapids alum.
Elizabeth Welch, '88 was this year's recipient of the Community Service Award. Elizabeth has spent most of her adult life advocating for public education. An attorney by trade, she has fought against cuts to school funding and advocated for our students and schools as both a Trustee of the Board of Education and a concerned parent. Welch started her work as a parent representative on the East Grand Rapids PTO Legislative Committee. Her work then expanded to include Friends of Kent County Schools, Michigan Parents for Schools, and the School Finance Research Collaborative, a study to determine the true cost of educating a child. Elizabeth has led the way in advocacy and awareness for public education in Kent County and in Michigan, and she is well known throughout the state for her depth of knowledge in school funding and her advocacy efforts.
The Distinguished Alumni Award honors East Grand Rapids alumni who have distinguished themselves through personal and/or professional achievements. Henry "Fritz" Schaefer III is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia, as well as Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Schaefer graduated from East in 1962 and received his B.S. in chemical physics from MIT and his Ph.D. from Stanford. He is married to the former Karen Rasmussen, '63. For more than 30 years, he has been one of the most highly cited scientists in the world. He is the author of more than 1,500 scientific publications, and he's also been listed by The Best Schools as one of "Seven Chemists who Deserve a Nobel Prize."
Before the two honorees spoke, guests were treated to a delicious dinner and chocolates from Kilwins of East Grand Rapids for dessert, an uplifting performance by middle school and high school singers, and a short video introducing the Foundation's Now&Forever campaign. You can watch that video below.