Rich often referred to Grand Valley as the college founded, nurtured and embraced by this community. Its mission and impact was applauded and revered even by people who didn’t go there, like himself. Domiciled in West Michigan, the university’s dynamic growth echoed that of metropolitan Grand Rapids: they were and remain on parallel tracks of escalating academic excellence and surging economic expansion. Rich knew that an outstanding public university is an essential ingredient to the reputation and prosperity for America's leading cities. He was passionate about the future and led the charge for an always more prominent GVSU and an always brighter future for his hometown.