On a chilly, overcast June morning hundreds of guests gathered, some seated in bleachers, before a stage erected at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum entrance. A giant American flag and the sounds of The United States Army Chorus filled the air.
“It is my honor to hereby declare the opening of the DeVos Family Learning Center and the reopening of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, thank you.”
After months of renovations and the construction of the 8,000-square-foot DeVos Learning Center, this is a day of celebration.
“I was just thinking dad would be so proud today. He would be so happy to see all these kids sitting here.”
Six years ago, Steve Ford, son of the President and First Lady Betty Ford was Ford Foundation chairman planning a civics and leadership program.
“Democracy is something that is supposed to be struggled and talked about and discussed and done in a civil way and he would want these young people to learn how to do that.”
Students who will soon attend the DeVos Learning Center seated with former Vice President and Ford cabinet member Dick Cheney.
“This library and all that it represents does a magnificent job telling the story of those days. Of Gerry Ford’s life but also of the time he spent in the Oval Office and all that was accomplished during those days.”
Doug DeVos is Trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.
“And the fact that we have a presidential museum here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the fact that Grand Rapids helped shape the character of President Ford as he’s talked about so much. The fact that we can learn about that character and how he applied it in principled leadership in his life and its right here in our midst is something special and that should get our attention as well.”
The museum and the new DeVos Learning Center are now open to the public.
Patrick Center, WGVU News.