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Stories to inspire you.

Sandy Ward tells a story: When her late husband, Cedric, was in the fourth grade, his teacher invited him to be part of a local theater production. African American children were needed for roles and Cedric enthusiastically accepted the invitation.

"I grew up in pretty humble circumstances, learning to swim at the local YMCA, playing in nearby parks and staying pretty close to home."

Mira Krishnan, Ph.D., never really thought she'd stay in Michigan.

When she's not eating or sleeping, Rebecca Cruttenden is swimming, biking, and running to train for her yearly Ironman triathalon—basically, taking on the world. But that's not all. She's also baking and delivering cookies, speaking, and coordinating volunteers for her business, Clara Cookies.

West Michigan Woman sat down with newly appointed Grand Valley State University president Dr. Philomena V. Mantella to get her take on the future of higher education, her goals for GVSU as its first female president, why she's excited to live and work in West Michigan, and more.

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