Davenport University

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Davenport University
Davenportuniv logo.png
MottoGet where the world is going
PresidentRichard Pappas, Ed.D.
ProvostGilda Gely, Ed.D.
Academic staff
6191 Kraft Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
, , ,
United States

42°50′59″N 85°31′51″W / 42.8498°N 85.5307°W / 42.8498; -85.5307Coordinates: 42°50′59″N 85°31′51″W / 42.8498°N 85.5307°W / 42.8498; -85.5307
69 acres (0.28 km2)
ColorsRed and black          
AthleticsNCAA Division II

Davenport University is a private, not for profit, university with campuses throughout Michigan and online. It was founded in 1866 by Conrad Swensburg and currently offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees; diplomas; and post-grad certification programs in business, technology, health professions, and graduate studies (MBA).

Davenport's W.A. Lettinga Main Campus is in Grand Rapids, Michigan; the main campus includes student organizations, residence halls, and athletic programs.


The predecessor to the modern Davenport University was founded in 1866 by Conrad G. Swensburg, a Union Army Veteran who returned to Michigan from the Civil War;[1] the college, located in downtown Grand Rapids, opened with sixteen students as the Grand Rapids Business College on January 25, 1866. The college offered courses in various office skills, such as bookkeeping, penmanship, business law, and arithmetic.[1]

The college operated under various names and in several locations in Grand Rapids throughout its early history. By 1910 the college was on the verge of closing. Michael E. Davenport, a new teacher at the school, reinvigorated the remaining staff and eventually took over the school's leadership in an attempt to revive it.[1]

The school gained accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission—North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1976 and grew rapidly during the mid- to late 1900s and expanded with campus locations across Michigan.[1][2]


Davenport University's W.A. Lettinga Main Campus is located in Grand Rapids; the campus contains three academic buildings, a field house/student activities center, two suite-style residence halls, and one traditional-style residence hall with a full cafeteria.

The Richard M. DeVos and Jay Van Andel Academic Center is the main academic building on the campus; the 140,000 sq ft (13,000 m2) building was complete in 2005 at the cost of $23 million.[3] It includes state-of-the-art classroom and technology space and was constructed to look like a large office building in concert with Davenport University's focus on business, technology, and health degrees;[3] the facility includes academic advising, career services, and university offices, the campus bookstore and spirit shop, a café and dining location, the Margaret D. Sneden Library.[4]

The Robert W. Sneden Center, completed in 2010, is an $8.5 million 41,000 sq ft (3,800 m2) academic and arts extension connecting to the existing DeVos and Van Andel Academic Center.[5] The extension features additional classroom and technology space, faculty office space, and a modern 220-seat auditorium.[5]

The Donald W. Maine Business Building is a state-of-the-art business building designed to incorporate multi-media technology; the Donald W. Maine College of Business building will be more than 60,000 square feet.[6] A new Entrepreneurial Center will provide individuals seeking to start and grow businesses in West Michigan opportunities to consult with professionals at each stage in the process.

The Student Center opened in 2008 and became the fourth LEED certified building on the main DU campus;[7][8] the 87,000 sq ft (8,100 m2) facility houses meeting rooms, student social areas, Student Life Office, Student Center Café, a third on-campus dining area, fitness center with indoor rock climbing wall and suspended running track, and indoor basketball and volleyball court.[9] The Field House is connected to the Student Center and is a 1,500-seat arena that serves as the home for DU Panthers men's & women's basketball and women's volleyball teams.[9]

Beginning with the 2017-18 academic year, Davenport is a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) and NCAA Division II. In addition to national team championships in competitive cheer, hockey, lacrosse, rugby and soccer, plus individual championships in track & field, Davenport's men's and women's teams include baseball, basketball, cross country, dance, football, golf, softball, tennis, volleyball and wrestling.[10]

Residence halls[edit]

In recent years DU has undergone a transition from a commuter and online business school to include characteristics of a traditional university;[11] the school has increased its athletic program, athletic facilities, and student life facilities. Davenport currently has three residence halls on the main campus, with an off-campus apartment complex.[12]

Peter C. and Pat Cook Residence Hall or Cook Hall was the first residence hall constructed on campus; it is a four-story apartment-living style residence hall named for long-time donors Peter and Pat Cook.[13] Fred and Lena Meijer Residence Hall is a five-story residence hall on the DU campus,[13] and offers apartment-living style rooms for on campus students much like Cook Hall.[12] South Residence Hall is a four-story residence halls that offers traditional dorm-style living.[14] South Hall is the residence hall for freshman students living on campus; the hall also includes a large dining area.[14] One off-campus apartment complex is called Panther Woods, and features four buildings; the other off-campus apartment complex is called Panther Ridge and features three buildings.

Farmer's Athletic Complex[edit]

Built near the W.A. Lettinga Main Campus, Davenport University's Farmer's Athletic Complex was dedicated in March 2013, it features home fields for the school's baseball and softball programs as well as eight courts for the school's tennis programs. In 2016 Davenport finished building an outdoor facility hosting a new football stadium, soccer field, and nine-lane track and field complex. Along with this facility came an athletic support building housing new athletic offices, training room, locker rooms, and weight room.[15]

Regional campuses[edit]

Davenport University Livonia campus

In addition to the main campus, Davenport University offers classes at other locations throughout Michigan including a Corporate Campus in Grand Rapids; institutional campuses in Holland, Lansing, Midland, and Warren; as well as University Center locations at Mott Community College (Flint), Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Kalamazoo), Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City), Wayne Community College (Detroit), and Macomb Community College (Clinton Township).


University rankings
Forbes[16] Not Ranked
U.S. News & World Report[17] Not Ranked
Washington Monthly[18] Not Ranked
U.S. News & World Report[19] 122
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[21] 529[20]

Davenport University offers more than 50 areas of study and confers degrees from its five colleges;[22] the university has a faculty-student ratio of 14:1[23] and an acceptance rate of 82%. Davenport specializes in business majors, with the Business Administration and Management program being the most popular major, with close to 20% of enrolled undergraduate students. Other popular majors include Accounting, Business/Commerce, Marketing/Marketing Management, and Human Resources Management.[24]

The university is classified as a Master’s college and university by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[25] For the 2011-12 academic year, the university was ranked 529th by The Washington Monthly Master’s Universities Rankings. For the 2018 academic year, the university was ranked 122nd by U.S. News & World Report.[26] DU has full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).[27] Davenport received its ten-year renewal in 2003-2004.[27]

The university offers associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees through its five colleges at its main campus, extension locations and online:

  • The College of Arts and Sciences
  • The College of Health Professions
  • The College of Technology
  • The College of Urban Education
  • The Donald W. Maine College of Business

Student profile and life[edit]

There are currently approximately 7,500 enrolled students.

  • Average age:[28]
    • 23 at Grand Rapids Lettinga Campus
    • 28 at the undergraduate Level
    • 34 at the graduate Level
  • 37% part-time, 71% full-time[28]
  • 56% female, 44% male[28]
  • 112 international students from 34 countries[28]
  • Approximately 95% of full-time students receive aid.
  • Average of 12 students per class[28]


Davenport University athletic teams are known as the Panthers, fielding 25 sports. Most teams compete in the GLIAC conference of NCAA Division II, having previously been a member of the NAIA and the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference prior to 2017-18. Women's lacrosse is a member of the National Women's Lacrosse League, while men's lacrosse is a member of the MCLA Division I in the Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association.[29] Men's rugby competes at the Division I level of USA Rugby's Midwest Rugby Union.[30] Men's ice hockey competes in the ACHA Division I in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League, and a second hockey team competes in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference (MCHC) at the ACHA DIII level.[31]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Peter C. Cook — businessman and philanthropist[32]
  • JP Eloff — plays for the United States national rugby union team
  • Wilbur Lettinga — entrepreneur
  • Angus MacLellan — plays for the United States national rugby union team
  • F. Jack Meyering — founder of Atlas Truck Rental & Leasing
  • Mark Peters — CEO of Butterball Farms, Inc.
  • Carlos Sanchez — Director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce[33]
  • David Slikkers — Director of Government Relations at S2 Yachts, Inc.


  1. ^ a b c d "History of Davenport". Davenport University. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  2. ^ "Directory of HLC Institutions - Davenport University". Higher Learning Commission. 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Davenport University – W. A. Lettinga Campus". Rockford Construction. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  4. ^ "Davenport University Libraries | Davenport University". Davenport.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
  5. ^ a b King, Kyla (February 9, 2010). "Robert W. Sneden Center at Davenport University gets ceremonial ground-breaking today". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  6. ^ VanGilder, Rachel (2016-10-25). "New Davenport business building opening in Jan". WOODTV. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  7. ^ "Davenport University – Student Center". Rockford Construction. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  8. ^ Baeza Bickel, Nardy (August 19, 2008). "Calvin, Grand Valley, Davenport debut major indoor athletic facilities". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Baeza Bickel, Nardy (October 30, 2008). "Davenport University opens $15.6 million fieldhouse, student center". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "About Davenport". Davenport University. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  11. ^ Murray, Dave (March 31, 2010). "Davenport University holds investiture ceremony today for President Richard Pappas". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Staff (April 28, 2009). "New residence hall dedicated at Davenport". MLive.com. Advance Newspapers. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  13. ^ a b "Cook & Meijer Halls". Davenport University. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "South Residence Hall". Davenport University. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  15. ^ "Farmer's Athletic Complex". Davenport University. 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  16. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  17. ^ "Best Colleges 2020: National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "2019 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  19. ^ "Best Colleges 2020: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Master's University Ranking WM". Washington Monthly. August 3, 2011. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  21. ^ "2019 Rankings -- Masters Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  22. ^ "Davenport University Programs". Davenport University. 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  23. ^ "College Navigator - Davenport University". nces.ed.gov. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  24. ^ "Davenport University - Best Colleges - Education - US News and World Report Academics". U.S. News and World Report. September 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  25. ^ "Carnegie Foundation Classification - Davenport University". Carnegie Foundation. 2008–2010. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  26. ^ "Davenport University". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Davenport University: Statement of Affiliation Status". Ncahlc.org. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  28. ^ a b c d e "DU Facts". Davenport University. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  29. ^ Sagraves, Aaron (January 22, 2014). "Men's Lacrosse Team Opens Preseason at No. 22 in MCLA DI". dupanthers.com.
  30. ^ VanOchten, Brian (July 13, 2010). "Davenport rugby program promoted to Division 1 Eastern Conference". MLive.com. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.
  31. ^ "All-Michigan GLCHL League To Debut in 2010-2011". ACHA. November 13, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  32. ^ "Grand Rapids businessman, philanthropist Peter Cook dies at 96". MLive.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  33. ^ "The Ripple Effect: Carlos Sanchez, '01 - News @ DU". News @ DU. 2018-06-07. Retrieved 2018-08-01.

External links[edit]