Judge named GRCC’s 2014 Distinguished Alumnus



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


April 22, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. John A. Hallacy, a Calhoun County judge known for his activism and community service, is Grand Rapids Community College’s 2014 Distinguished Alumnus.

“Judge Hallacy has devoted much of his professional and personal life to serving his community, especially disenfranchised populations such as the poor, the elderly and the abused,” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender. “We stress the importance of community service to our students, and Judge Hallacy is a wonderful example.”

Hallacy received an associate of arts degree from GRCC in 1983, a bachelor of science degree from Western Michigan University in 1985, and his juris doctorate degree from Valparaiso University’s School of Law in 1988. He has served as a judge for the 10th District Court since 2009 and became chief judge this year.

Hallacy said he chose to attend GRCC because of its cost and because it was close to his home in Holland. He said his fondest memories involve being on the men’s swim team, which finished third in national competition in 1982 and fifth in 1983.

“It is clear to me now how important GRCC was to my future,” Hallacy said. “I was challenged academically and it was there that I found the self-confidence to help me be successful in the future. GRCC was the foundation for my future success in my education and my career.”

During his career — from prosecuting attorney to the bench — Hallacy has worked to improve the justice system. As a Calhoun County prosecutor, he started a diversion program that gives first-time juvenile offenders the opportunity to have their criminal charges dropped if they successfully complete the program. He also has been honored for his efforts to get funding to provide nurse examiners in sexual assault cases. He started a successful sobriety court in 2010.

But Hallacy’s efforts to improve his community don’t end when he leaves the courtroom. He also works with a domestic violence shelter, the United Way and has served on a state Task Force on Elder Abuse and on the board for the National Resource Center for Racial Healing.

The State Bar of Michigan gave Hallacy the Frank J. Kelley Distinguished Public Service Award in 2011.

Hallacy will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award as part of GRCC’s commencement, which will take place at 6 p.m. May 2 in Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE. The award honors those who have earned at least 30 credit hours at the college, have made substantial contributions to the good of their fellow beings, and have served as a positive motivational force for others.

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.