June/July Newsletter

JuneJuly Newsletter (1)

December 2020

2020 Scholarship Recipients!




Suchir Gupta: Suchir graduated from Forest Hills Central High School with a 4.0 unweighted GPA and a cumulative unweighted GPA of 4.483.  He attends The University of Michigan College of Engineering.  Suchir’s essay revealed that his passion and academic strengths in computer science led him to put together a team of  students who established a non-profit called Coders4Tomorrow summer camp to promote interest among young financially impoverished students in Grand Rapids.  Besides working as a tutor at Kumon Learning Center, he volunteers at a retirement village, helping senior citizens retain their memory by playing games with them.  He was actively involved in varsity tennis and Science Olympiad while also founding and leading the Math Club at FHCHis teachers spoke very highly of him.  “Suchir Gupta is one of the finest young men I had the opportunity to teach.  He walks in with a zealous spirit every day”.  “He is one of my highest achievers from his freshman to senior year, and yet he does it with a humble attitude and intrinsic desire to learn”.   In his interview with the Committee, this well spoken young man showed passion to return to West Michigan as a Software Developer and continue to empower students to drive Coders4Tomorrow in his ongoing efforts to minimize the wealth gap in Grand Rapids.

Hannah Feng:  Hannah believes that our nation’s future lies in education and hopes to make the most of her college years, not just for her benefit, but to give back to the West Michigan community where she intends to reside.  She attended Grand Rapids Christian High graduating with a 4.229 weighted GPA.  Hannah has endured adversity as a child of Asian immigrants and divorced parents but she became immersed in her studies with particular emphasis on Psychology leading her to a choice of becoming a Psychologist and attending The University of Michigan.  This articulate young lady expressed her feelings on the issues of mental health that affect everyone including Asians, in her words… “a very proud people-highly concerned with dignity who are reluctant to receive psychological treatment”.  Hannah’s AP Psychology teachers said, “As much as Hannah shines as a student, she shines even more as a person.  She is mature, confident without a trace of arrogance, and has a positive attitude every day”. Her AP Literature and Composition teacher wrote, “The word I would choose for Hannah would be effervescent.  Hannah is everything a teacher hopes for in a student: she is curious, enthusiastic and inclusive”. Hannahs extracurricular activities include varsity tennis as captain junior and senior years, volunteering at the Other Way Ministries as a youth mentor, Keystone Church, leading a middle school program and Hospice volunteering.  She is a member of Rotary Interact Club as Vice President as well as Food Club, a cooking and service club she started at school.  Her work experience includes tennis instructor,  Chick-fil-a employee, and a member of a symphonic orchestra.

Carly Zondervan: Graduated from Caledonia High School with a 4.0 GPA in addition to taking 15 AP classes, Carly is a determined young woman with character, poise and passion with a giving and serving spirit. In Carly’s interview with the committee, she described herself as a hard worker, perfectionist and leader.  These traits are apparent from the long list of accomplishments, service and mentoring captured in her essay.  Carly was a 3 year member of the Student Council, a member of the National Honor Society and a mentor for a group called “A More Beautiful You” who strives to build confidence, compassion and teamwork among middle school girls.  Since she was 10 years old, she has also been involved with Woman’s Life Fraternity that focuses on helping local people in need.  She served as a children’s ministry leader at Ada Bible Church for 6 years and remains involved with the Kids Food Basket and other local service organizations.  In high school Carly played golf, tennis, and was captain of the volleyball team for two years.  She nannies in the summer and works at Bigby Coffee as well.  Her English teacher writes, “ Carly’s most notable quality is her spirit of selflessness.  Her passion for service was never clearer to me than in her class-assigned speech about caring for her brother with autism”.  It is no surprise that Carly has chosen a career goal of becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and plans to attend Hope College. She pledges to continue bringing a positive impact to West Michigan 



Member Spotlight: Josh Regnaud

Josh Regnaud, is a Financial Advisor with The Tupper Group at Merrill Lynch out of Grand Rapids. Josh joined the University Club as a way to connect with other influential members of the Grand Rapids community and build upon his professional network.

Josh grew up in Virginia and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, minors in Leadership as well as Science and Technology in
Society.  Josh also holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Florida State University.

After gratuating college, Josh received his commission in the United States Navy and proceeded to flight school in Pensacola, FL.  Following undergraduate flight training he proceeded to Norfolk, VA where he completed the advanced syllabus in the E-2C Hawkeye community and was
subsequently assigned his first squadron, VAW-124 “Bear Aces.”  He has over 1000 hours in the
E-2C Hawkeye and supported Operations New Dawn (Iraq), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq and Syria).

Josh moved to Grand Rapids this summer on the heels of his wife’s job change.  What brought him to Financial Advising?  “I wanted to parlay my desire to serve, from a military to a civilian capacity, and found our societies’ lack of financial understanding and wherewithal as great starting point.”  He enjoys educating clients and helping them reach the goals they desire.

Josh and his wife Ashley currently reside in Kentwood with their son, Jack.  He enjoys running, the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.  He looks forward to serving the community at a holistic level.

Make sure to say “Hi” to Josh next time you see him at the Club!

Katie’s Column (January)

DID YOU KNOW that the University Club has reciprocal privileges at the New York Athletic Club?

DID YOU KNOW that the NYAC, founded in 1868, is one of the premier Athletic Clubs in the country? Beyond being an athletic powerhouse known for its sports; it also hosts banquets, receptions and weddings for leaders in the world of business, politics and the arts.

DID YOU KNOW that the NYAC has 187 overnight guests rooms, many of them with beautiful views of midtown Manhattan and Central Park?

DID YOU KNOW that on April 20th, the Grand Rapids Symphony is playing at Carnegie Hall in NYC? What a perfect time to travel to NYC, stay at the New York Athletic Club, and see the GR Symphony! Carnegie Hall is within walking distance to the New York Athletic Club.

Remember, reciprocity is a great way to visit other Clubs and really adds to the value of your membership here at the Club. I have personally stayed at the Detroit Athletic Club, University Club of Chicago and the New York Athletic Club and highly recommend visiting any or all of these places!

AC Updates for 2018

The Club’s Newest Class: AQUATIC FITNESS

This class is designed to give EVERYONE a chance to get fit with the lowest level of impact.  Aquatic fitness is ideal for
members who may have compromised backs, hips, knees, ankles and joints. Water aerobics offers resistance and aids to
rebuild muscle through low impact movement. No swimming experience is necessary.  This class will be instructed by Colleen Cleves. Kick off date: January 8th 7-8 am.

Early Morning Spinning is Back plus an Extra Bonus!

Beginning on Wednesday, January 10th, Spinning is back.  We have added a little bonus to the end of each class with an additional 15 minutes of core and stretching to complete the workout.  This class will be instructed by Sarah Langejans.

Journey to 5K returns with a New Time and New Instructor!

Starting on Monday, February 19th, we will start the Journey to becoming a runner. This Class will be every
Monday and Wednesday from 7:15 am to 8:00 am.  Similar to the last Journey to 5k, this course will include a wide variety of workouts, stretches and techniques to improve your running capabilities. This class will be instructed by Katie Kelly.

The Sports Sampler is Back! And just in time for those New Year Goals!

Interested in signing up for a Group Fitness Class but unsure of the right fit for you? Now is your chance to try a sample of the Athletic Clubs most popular classes to give you a feel of the fitness varieties and intensities we offer. Join us, 6pm on January 18th, for 10 minutes of Power Spin, 10 minutes of HIIT/Friday Five and 10 minutes of Venyasa Flow Yoga.  Social members are welcomed to attend this event.

Looking forward to a fit and active 2018!


Happy New Year From The General Manager

It was great to see so many of our members through the holidays and I would like to thank all of you for your generous contributions to the employee Christmas fund this year.  Our staff works so hard during the Holiday season and you have no idea how much they appreciate that fantastic bonus at years’ end.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who hosted parties or sponsored events throughout 2017, especially in December.  It always helps to end the year on a positive note!

The success of any club is due primarily to member participation and having open communication with the Club leaders and management.  I think all of you are aware that I welcome any input you may have regarding anything related to the betterment of the club, no matter how small.

There is a wide variety of Club functions throughout the year for you to enjoy.  Please take these opportunities to mix and mingle with fellow members or entertain friends and colleagues. Stay tuned for our Networking Nights!

We continue to see improvements to our building with many additions scheduled for the upcoming year. Our landlord, CWD, upgraded our building access and has provided each member with an access badge. Starting January 1, CWD will be charging a $10 replacement fee for lost badges.

We are starting to book 2019 weddings! Please remember to recommend your Club to family and friends that are looking for an amazing wedding venue. Not only do we have a new Executive Chef, Chef David Dalton, but we also have on staff two full time Event Planners that will make your dream wedding come true. Katie and Leslie both have a vast amount of experience with the Club and can walk you through the entire wedding process at no additional fee.

Chef David comes to us with an abundance of expertise. Chef David is a native of Northern Michigan. At an early age, he worked at a local steakhouse and immediately fell in love with food, its presentation and the hospitality industry. He is a graduate of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. He helped open Leo’s Seafood Restaurant as the Sous Chef. After three years with Leo’s, Chef David decided to broaden his horizons and bought a ticket to Europe. There he traveled, studied, and worked under multiple chefs in several countries. His time oversees gave him the opportunity to experience food and the industry from diverse cultures and various philosophies. He was then recruited to return to Michigan, specifically to take over as the Executive Chef at the Acorn Grille, Thousand Oaks Golf Club. After eight years of growing many facets of that facility, he decided to continue to share his expertise, making it a win win for our Club. Please make sure to introduce yourself when visiting the Club as he has expressed the importance of getting to know you, our members.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2018!

Best Regards,

Laurie Kelbel


Member Spotlight: Jennifer Heemstra

Jennifer Heemstra, professional pianist and entrepreneur, received the College of Music
Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University this May.  In December 2014, she founded the Kolkata Classics trust in India, which provides free health services for trafficked women, educates children from the slums to the elite and exposes the citizens of Kolkata to high quality classical music.  She has put on 62 concerts and performed for and worked with over 60,000 adults/children.  For her work, she was presented with the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad from John Kerry in 2016.

Recently Heemstra founded a US-based NGO, the Pitch Pipe Foundation (501c3), which links great artists to great need.  Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Pitch Pipe Foundation is planning concerts at 172 Veterans Affairs Hospitals in the USA the week of Valentine’s Day.

A native of Grand Rapids, Heemstra attended Grand Rapids Christian High School before earning a Bachelor of Music with honors from Michigan State University and her Master of Music from The Cleveland Institute of Music. Ms. Heemstra enjoys exercising, spending time with her cat, traveling and soaking in different cultures and religions.  After working at Case Western Reserve University for 7 years she moved to Rome, Italy to pursue a career in music and teach English to Generals in the Italian Airforce.  She has seen more countries than states in the USA, and has ridden in an Amish buggy and a Calcuttan rickshaw.  She currently splits her time  between Washington, DC, Kolkata, India and Grand Rapids.

Make sure to come say Hi the Ms. Heemstra next time you see her at the Club!



Tips To Beating Holiday Overeating

We are all tempted by holiday food every year at this time.  Someone brings your favorite meal or dessert and you feel obligated to eat large portions to show your appreciation.  It’s time to get the control back over what and how we are eating during the holidays.  Here are some of my favorite tips to beating the overeating.

No. 5 Never start on an empty stomach.

Showing up to the party on an empty stomach is asking for trouble.  I will fill up on a healthier meal before ever going to the party.  I will choose foods with a high nutritional value such as lean meats, lots of leafy greens and good quality carbs like sweet potatoes.

No. 4 Stay away from the food!

If you stay where the food isn’t directly in front of you, you’ll have a better chance to resist the temptation to “graze” on the treats.  Keeping food out of sight and out of mind is a great strategy if you’re goal is beating the overeating.

No. 3 Bring something healthy to the party.

If you bring the healthy food, most people will appreciate your efforts and you’ll have a safe dish on the buffet.  Bring snack size portions on a tray of vegetables and a healthy dip or bring a snack size lean meat choice such as a turkey wrapped asparagus or hummus.

No. 2 Wear your most fitted clothes.

Nothing brings to mind how much you’re eating as form fitting clothes. We all have buffet pants and lose dresses just for those occasions.  If you’re really trying to beat holiday overeating then wear your form fitting clothes. Remember your stomach can hold about six cup of food, or about the size of six baseballs.  So, keep this in mind when you start to expand from eating.  Your goal should be not to let your clothes get too tight.

No. 1 Avoid the drinks.

Alcohol and sugary drinks can up your appetite, so be careful when saying yes to that beer, wine or soda.  Alcohol also lowers
inhibitions and judgment especially when it comes to food.  Don’t let the alcohol talk you into a bad nutritional choice. Coffee and tea is a healthier alternative to those sugary drinks. Staying hydrated with water is also a way to keep yourself fuller longer and keep that desire for bad beverages to a minimum.

– Jason Goodell

Katie’s Column (December)

DID YOU KNOW that Club has been doing our Holiday Brunch with Santa for over 20 years? Originally it was a
Saturday lunch with Santa, but it was poorly attended. So in 1989, the Club took it up a notch with crafts, gifts for the kids, a magic show and balloon animals. Then in the mid 1990’s, the party was moved to a Sunday so families without kids could enjoy a wonderful Holiday Sunday Brunch.

DID YOU KNOW that over the past 5 years, we have averaged just under 200 people each year, and around 75 of them are children? Since I have worked at the Club, I have personally gone out and bought each child a gift and organized the crafts. I LOVE see the kids grow from year to year, especially the ones that are now 9-10 years old. I first started buying little rattles or building blocks for them and now some of them are too cool to sit on Santa’s lap! How can that be?

DID YOU KNOW that the Members’ Annual Luncheon has always been one of our most popular events! Over the past 5 years, it has averaged around 200 people. The famous strolling carolers added to the festivities in 1990.  If you haven’t attended before, we would love to have you come. This year’s luncheon is December 20 from 11:30am – 2:00pm. Make sure to call early for a reservation!

DID YOU KNOW that the Club has a wonderful event on December 7 that you should attend! It is the “Bubbles of the World” tasting event with presentation by Bradford Hammerschmidt, a Partner and Wine Specialist with
Imperial Beverage. If you have ever attended a wine or bubbles tasting with Bradford, you know how
knowledgeable and interesting his tastings are! The Chef has created an enticing menu of hors d’oeuvres to go along with the bubbles. Call the Club for reservations. 616.456.8623

DID YOU KNOW that the Spanish Wine Dinner held on November 10 was so popular, we sold 160 bottles of the wine our members enjoyed that night! If you have not attended a wine dinner at the Club before, you have to keep a look out for our next one! Beyond having great food and wine paired perfectly that evening, you have the
opportunity to purchase the wine you enjoyed at the event for a discounted rate.

– Katie Blaauw, Assistant Manager & Event Coordinator