Julien Kouamé, research manager at the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute, received his doctoral degree in research and evaluation on Saturday from Western Michigan University.
MLive reported about the “magical” combination of Kouamé’s hard work and the generosity of many people. Kouamé overcame the death of his father, the burning of his family’s farm, and dropping out of high school to get to the Ph.D. hooding ceremony. “Marianne Di Pierro, director of WMU’s Graduate Center for Research and Retention, called it an example of ‘what happens when a lot of people care.’” Eugenie Adon Brou, Kouamé’s mother, flew from the Ivory Coast to attend the ceremony in Kalamazoo, Mich. “I know I work hard, but in the end, something happened that is like magic,” said Kouamé. “I want to thank everyone for their support, for all they did to make today happen.”
Kouamé added, “My success (graduation) is the combination of many efforts. However this will not be possible without many people who care about others. I am a true result of philanthropy. That is why I think the Johnson Center is the right place for me to work. This is the way I can give back to the community. Those who supported and helped me do not expect anything back except for me to pay it forward. This is just what I want to do through my research and evaluation skills here at the Johnson Center.”
Established in 1992 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy is a university-based center serving nonprofits, foundations, and others seeking to transform their communities for the public good. The Johnson Center is recognized for its applied research and professional development benefiting practitioners and nonprofits through the faculty and staff of the Johnson Center’s Community Research Institute, Frey Foundation Chair for Family Foundations and Philanthropy, The Foundation Review, The Grantmaking School, Johnson Center Philanthropy Archives and Library, and Philanthropic and Nonprofit Services.
Grand Valley State University is a four-year public university. It attracts nearly 25,000 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university serving students from all 83 Michigan counties and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers 82 undergraduate and 30 graduate degree programs from campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland, and from regional centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships. Grand Valley employs more than 2,000 people and is committed to providing a fair and equitable environment for the continued success of all.