Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Rapids Public Museum Co-host Celebration of Ellen M. James

A scholarship fund dedicated to honoring the trailblazing service of Ellen M. James is being celebrated with a reception on Tuesday, September 3, co-hosted by the Grand Rapids Community College Community College Foundation and the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM).

The reception will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 3. A short program will take place at 6 p.m. This event is open to the public, and attendees are asked to register here: register online.

James was a founding member of the GRCC board of trustees and has long been recognized by Kent County residents as a tireless advocate for the marginalized and for expanding educational opportunities for all students. Hers is among the local voices highlighted in the GRPM’s current exhibit Changing America.

“Ellen M. James’ leadership shaped not just Grand Rapids Community College, but the history and quality of life in West Michigan and beyond,” said Kathryn Mullins, vice president for college advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “We’re excited that her inspiring story is included in the exhibit, and that the Ellen M. James Trailblazer Scholarship will help GRCC students follow in her footsteps.”

Changing America examines the relationship between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington, which both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization and vision.

Using artifacts and stories from a local perspective, the GRPM added local perspective to the exhibit. In addition to artifacts from the Museum’s Collections, many items on display are on loan from the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.

Local stories, including James’ recollections, are told through the eyes of our community in the form of oral histories. Inside the exhibit, visitors are invited to share their stories, which will be saved in the GRPM’s digital Collection,

Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is an invaluable, publicly-owned institution that is home to more than 250,000 unique artifacts that tell the history of Kent County and beyond, houses the only planetarium in the region, and is responsible for protecting the Mounds, a national historic landmark. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, with its main location in downtown Grand Rapids, MI at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For additional information including hours of operation, admission fees and exhibit/event listings, please visit