Gillett Society Donor Spotlight: Kevin '80 & Lori Houghton-Rahrig '81, '01
Why did you choose Grand Valley State University?
L: I knew that I wanted to become a registered nurse. My mom had always wanted to be a nurse (and earned her nursing degree later in life) and had encouraged me to pursue this dream. I was looking for an "on campus" college experience, but didn't want to attend a large university. I didn't know much about GVSU. I learned that GVSU had a great nursing program. I had a tour, I loved it, and the rest is history!
K: As a senior at Muskegon Catholic, Coach Jim Harkema offered me a scholarship to play football for GVSU. I knew it was a great school and had a strong business program. I was considering other schools, but was really sold on what GVSU had to offer.
What are you currently doing?
K: I am the Chief Operating Officer at Nichols, a paper, packaging, and sanitary supply company headquartered in Norton Shores.
L: After 16 plus years as a critical care nurse at Mercy Health, St. Mary's in Grand Rapids, I left to begin my teaching career in the Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) at Grand Valley State University in 1997. After finishing my PhD at MSU in 2011, I am currently an Assistant Professor in KCON.
Favorite memory when thinking of GVSU?
K: Watching GVSU grow over time to be the outstanding university it is today.
L: Laughing with my friends, meeting Kevin, and having Bonnie Wesorick and Nicki Grinstead as my nursing professors (among others). Bonnie was my clinical instructor on the oncology unit at Blodgett. I was so impressed with her strong science base, her ability to speak pathophysiology fluently, and her patient advocacy skills, ensuring patients were the center of care. Her influence of having a strong physiology background helped me understand how important it is for nurses to be strong critical thinkers and patient advocates.
Why is it important for you to be a member of the Gillett Society?
L: Kevin's parents, Don and Wilma Rahrig and my parents, Charles Houghton and the late Jeanette (Root) Houghton believed that it was important to obtain a college degree. We wanted this for our children and would like to help others achieve their dreams starting with a strong GVSU educational foundation to begin their careers as we did.
What impact do you hope your gift will have on students?
K+L: Grand Valley provides an outstanding education and is a great value. A college degree is very important, but can be expensive. We hope that these gifts can lighten the financial burden for students.