170 Film/Video Alumni Return to Campus for Reunion

Alumni of the Film & Video Production major returned to campus May 2, 2015 for a reunion.
Alumni of the Film & Video Production major returned to campus May 2, 2015 for a reunion.

In celebration of 40 years of film and video at Grand Valley State University, film and video production faculty and the Film/Video and Arts & Media Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association hosted a reunion at the L. William Seidman Center on May 2 which gathered 170 alumni from around the country. The reunion also celebrated the retirement of Associate Professor Barbara Roos.

The theme of the reunion was “continuing the conversation,” a concept based on Roos’ documentary “William James College: An Unfinished Conversation” (1986). The film and video production major evolved from the arts and media program at the William James College, which Roos had a heavy hand in creating. Affiliate Professor Suzanne Zack and Maggie Annerino (both William James College alumnae, 1981 and 1983), gave remarks about Roos’ four decade span at GVSU.
“Future students will not have the benefit of sitting in a Barb Roos class, but they will feel her influence,” said Zack in her tribute to Roos. “With her retirement she becomes the predecessor whose influence will be shaping the future cohorts of students and educators. Her values of scholarship, the emphasis on the development of skillful and creative expression, purposeful and meaningful work and the innovative use of the mediums of communication, are now embedded in the culture of the Film and Video major at Grand Valley State University.”

The event featured networking with GVSU alumni, testimonials of the film and video major, advocating of the Dirk Koning Memorial Scholarship and three special speakers, each representing an era of film & video production at GVSU: Marti Ayres White, class of 1976; Mike Allore, class of 1996; and Travis Blake, class of 2014.

“Going to university in 2011, I didn’t really know what it meant to be studying film,” said Blake, who is the most recent Film & Video Student of Distinction award winner. “I remember recognizing that I could actually develop an understanding and participating in discourse about film. I think that’s what I appreciated about going to Grand Valley. In one class, I was learning how to properly set up a c-stand…and I was able to pair that with in other classes with film theory.”

Ayres White also gave insight on the skills she learned through liberal education at GVSU.

“The four years I spent at William James College I was with a group of students and professors who were excited about learning, and were on fire to make a difference in the world. I am delighted to be reuniting with many of those people at this event,” said Ayres White. She was in the second graduating class of the William James College in 1976.

The Film/Video and Arts & Media Alumni Chapter of the Alumni Association exists to promote, assist, and perpetuate the goals and objectives of Grand Valley State University. The Chapter seeks to create a network of film and video alumni across the nation and support recent graduates in their professional journey.