Board of Directors

Led by Passionate People

The Institute for Global Education is volunteer-driven and led by the following board of directors:

Gerard Akkerhuis, Treasurer, Executive Committee, Media

Gerard Akkerhuis received a MSW from Grand Valley State University in 1990 and has been a volunteer in public service since then, serving on several boards. Gerard has been a member of IGE since the early 1990s  and started being Treasurer in 2008.


Tom Burke, coordinator at IGE

Labor and anti-war activist, please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required if you would like to join IGE, organize an event or use the IGE office.


Dain Gates


Mike Franz

IGE member since 1985, initiated Week of Peace Education program with the public schools now in its 36th year.  Loves IGE Talks.  Community service:  the Micah Center and Beyond Prisons working group, Senior Advocates of Kent County.  Active and supportive of Disability Advocates, past local coordinator. Plays music at a Justice service in the inner-city with racially diverse pastors every Saturday.  Passionate about universal design in housing for seniors, affordable housing and Medicare for all, prison reform, and improving race relations in Grand Rapids.  I can use my religion or a secular approach in all of these endeavors. Retired English professor from GRCC.

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Chester Lowe

Involved with the IGE for several years and with the public sector for decades.

– Community Advocate for social and environmental safety: 2004-present
– Former educator/counselor: 1976-77@GVSU & 2011 @ GRCC-“Dynamics of Racism in Social Work”
– Volunteer outreach services for The Rx Health Council of West MI: 2005-present
– Rx Council of Western PA 1991-2004: Board Membership
– Former Volunteer for crisis intervention services in Grand Rapids: Switchboard Hotline, Inc./1974-76
– Program development for Prison Education through William James College/GVSU: 1974-1976
-Community Alternatives: Therapeutic Specialist for Mental Health in Pittsburgh/Washington, PA 2001
– B.S. in Sociology & Psychology from Grand Valley State University: William James College: 1976
– Accreditation/Training from Robert Morris University for Addiction Counseling: 2000

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Kim McKeon, Executive Committee

IGE came to my attention 30 years ago thru my high school social studies teacher. I reconnected 5 years ago due to its values of building peaceful and just communities. IGE is involved in anti-war activities. It is a place to have voices heard, encouragement of diversity and equality. I was a volunteer especially with the Peace Festival and organized the Mandela Day Celebration.


Wolfgang Santiago


Kate Shockey, Executive Committee


Katie Villaire, Chair, Executive Committee

Katie Villaire has been involved with the IGE since its establishment in the 1980s. Katie worked with the group for several years and became more active when her husband passed away in 1993. She has been an active member of the board since the late-1900s, and has shared the board position in the past before becoming Chair four years ago. Katie has helped the IGE in many of its programs and has a particular interest in education methods and issues, basic human rights and fair living conditions, and issues of equality. Katie is a retired college professor.