George Heron, an SVSU adjunct professor, passed away July 18.
Born August 30, 1938, Heron began his life in Neward, New Jersey.
At the young age of 14, he joined the Venard Minor Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He then attended Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, pursuing and receiving a Bachelor of Arts in scholastic philosophy.
Heron went on to join the Maryknoll Major Seminary in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and became resident priest.
He later earned a Master of Theology in interdenominational urban ministry, as well as a Master of Social Work.
An avid supporter of the civil rights movement, Heron served as director of the Office of Social Justice in Norwalk, Connecticut, and participated in civil rights marches alongside renowned civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.
Heron married his wife, Carol Williams, in 1974, with whom he had four children. In 1983, his family moved to Essexville, Michigan, and he began working as the Executive Director of the United Way of Bay County, a position he held for over 25 years.
Over the course of his career at United Way, he raised more than $30 million. Heron also founded the Early Childhood Advisory Council for the United Way.
Heron later became an adjunct professor at SVSU, instructing students on social welfare policy. In May, SVSU named Heron the adjunct faculty member of the year.