Rosalynn Bliss Receives 2023 Honorary Life Membership Award

Morgan Schwanky
Michigan Municipal League
[email protected], 734-669-6320


ANN ARBOR, Michigan – Grand Rapids’ Mayor and former Michigan Municipal League Board President Rosalynn Bliss recently received the Honorary Life Membership Award from the Michigan Municipal League.

Honorary Life Membership, first awarded in 1932, is the League’s highest honor, reserved for the most active and inspiring leaders dedicated to the League and its mission.

“On behalf of everyone at the League, I would like to congratulate Rosalynn on receiving this award,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the League. “Rosalynn has created a legacy with her impact on Michigan’s communities through her service in local government. It was a pleasure to work with her when she served as the League’s Board President. Her leadership throughout her career has been and continues to be inspiring. She persists to be an avid advocate for our communities, and she truly embodies what it means to be a public servant.”

Rosalynn Bliss became the City of Grand Rapids’ first female mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years.

Mayor Bliss also is serving as the Frederik Meijer Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Grand Valley’s Frederik Meijer Honors College, where she teaches a junior seminar. She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in social work from Michigan State University.

Mayor Bliss served as President of the Michigan Municipal League 2016 – 2017 and currently serves on the boards of the Downtown Development Authority; Experience Grand Rapids, Convention Arena Authority; Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority, Housing Kent; National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education, and Families, Urban Core Mayors; City Business Collaborative; The Economic Club of Grand Rapids; and the Interurban Transit Partnership.

Mayor Bliss has been recognized and honored locally as well as statewide for her commitment, dedication and work in the field of child abuse and neglect and for her leadership in the community. As mayor, she has been committed to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs; working to create a cleaner, healthier, and safer community; and addressing disparities in Grand Rapids.

The Honorary Life Member Award was presented during this year’s Michigan Municipal League Convention, which took place in Traverse City.

“Receiving this award is truly an honor and it means a lot to me,” said Bliss. “It is particularly touching because it is being given by the Michigan Municipal League, an organization comprised of individuals who have a heart for public service and who appreciate the dedication and sacrifice it takes to serve. I am deeply grateful for and honored by this incredible recognition.”

Download and view photos from our award winners here on the League’s Flickr page:

For additional information contact the League’s Morgan Schwanky, Content Developer, Marketing and Communications, at (734) 669-6320 and [email protected].

Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at


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