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Last updated 6:24AM ET
February 25, 2021
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(wgvu) - From GVSU:

Leaders at Grand Valley State University and in the West Michigan community are mourning the death of Arnold C. Ott on May 12. Ott was the longest standing member of the Grand Valley State University Board of Control, beginning as a charter member in 1960 and serving for 28 years, including two terms as board chair. He was 90.

Grand Valley State University has lost one of its true pillars, said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. Dr. Ott was instrumental in providing the vision for Grand Valley from the beginning. His service and leadership has resulted in the Grand Valley you see today. I was saddened to hear the news of his passing, yet I know his legacy will live on forever.

In 2001, Ott created the Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry at Grand Valley to bring added recognition nationally and internationally to the Department of Chemistry. The once-a-semester lecture series draws prominent chemists from around the world. In 2005, Ott created the Hilda C. Holder Scholarship for Women in Business at Grand Valley, in honor of his secretary. Ott is a member of the Grand Valley University Foundation Advisory Cabinet.

Arnold was a wise, intelligent, caring man, said Rich DeVos, co-founder of Amway. When my son, Dick, decided to drop out of college for a time, Arnold and his wife took him under their wing. Dick lived with them in Midland. He was able to attend business meetings with Arnold and travel with him. Arnold taught Dick how to run and build a business and encouraged him to finish college. That is a true demonstration of a man who really cares.

Ott received his doctorate in 1943 from Michigan State University in chemistry, physics, and bacteriology and was a leading chemist and entrepreneur in West Michigan. He worked at Dow Chemical Company and the Upjohn Company where he authored 55 domestic and foreign patents before starting the Ott Chemical Company in Muskegon.

A service is being planned at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Grand Rapids; the date is pending. Grand Valley President Emeritus Don Lubbers will deliver the eulogy. Ott's family has requested that in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry at Grand Valley State University.

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