GRCC trustees appoint President Emeritus Juan Olivarez to serve as interim president and guide college during transition

Dr. Juan Olivarez, who guided Grand Rapids Community College through 10 years of growth as president, will return to the role on an interim basis while the GRCC board of trustees search for a permanent successor to outgoing President Bill Pink.

Trustees on Monday unanimously voted to appoint Olivarez, who was GRCC’s eighth president, serving from 1999 until 2008, and who was named president emeritus in 2018.

“Dr. Olivarez knows this college because he helped shape it to become the success it is today,” said David Koetje, chairperson of the board of trustees. “He has long been respected for his leadership here at GRCC and in our greater community. There are challenging times ahead of us, and GRCC’s mission remains vital. Dr. Olivarez is remembered for bringing people together and expanding opportunities for students so more people could take advantage of a quality education. His experience and vision will ensure this college continues moving forward at full speed while we select our next president.”

The trustees are in the process of selecting a firm to guide a national search to replace Pink, who was tapped to become president of Ferris State University starting on July 1. GRCC trustees are planning public sessions to discuss the selection process and timeline. Koetje said the trustees hope to have Pink’s successor selected by end of the year.

“GRCC is such a special place for me, and I’ve been proud to have stayed connected over the years,” Olivarez said. “I’m excited to be able to come back, work with this strong team and ensure the work of this college continues without missing a beat.”

Olivarez will become GRCC’s third interim president. Dr. Patricia Pulliam served in the role in 1998 and 1999, and Dr. Anne Mulder in 2008 and 2009.

The son of migrant workers from Benavides, Texas, he was the first Hispanic president of any Michigan college or university.

Olivarez was an educator in the Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than 20 years before becoming GRCC’s Dean of Institutional Research in 1991.

As president, he worked to increase access to a quality college education and cultivated student-serving partnerships with local businesses, public entities, and nonprofit organizations.

After retiring from GRCC in 2008, Olivarez became president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. He was named Aquinas College’s seventh president in 2011, retiring in 2017. He was a distinguished scholar in residence for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Grand Valley State University’s Dorothy Johnson Center for Philanthropy between 2018 and 2021.

Olivarez has served on many national and regional boards and committees, including the Van Andel Education Institute, First Steps Kent, the Council of Independent Colleges, Educational Testing Services, High Education Research & Development Institute as well as the National Institute for Literacy.

2022 Excellence in Education Award nomination deadline extended until Friday, June 3

The deadline for nominations for the full-time faculty, adjunct and staff Excellence in Education Awards has been extended until Friday, June 3, 2022.  Please consider nominating a deserving faculty, adjunct or staff member.

The Excellence in Education Award was established in 1989 to honor an individual Grand Rapids Community College employee for their contributions to the College, higher education and the community. In 2000, the award was expanded to provide recognition in the form of a staff award and a separate full-time faculty award. In 2010, an additional award was added for an exemplary adjunct faculty member.

Recipients of the full-time faculty, adjunct and staff award each receive $1,000, and a $1,000 contribution to the GRCC Foundation is made in the recipient’s name.

The application has gone online which makes the entire process faster and easier.

Start HERE and select either Full Time Faculty, Adjunct, or Staff. 

Faculty & Adjunct: Email the Provost Office at
Staff: Email Angela Salinas at angelasalinas@grcctoday

Thank you for taking the time to nominate a deserving member of the GRCC family for these awards.

Internet Explorer- End of life

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Beginning June 15, 2022, Microsoft will be retiring Internet Explorer.

If you are still using Internet Explorer as your default browser, please switch to another browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

We have a helpful knowledge base article to assist you.

Any applications or sites that are traditionally only accessible in Internet Explorer can be opened in Microsoft Edge using the Compatibility Mode feature

If you use Internet Explorer for linking documents, you may now use any browser to complete this function. 

If you have any questions about this change, we encourage you to reach out to the IT Support Desk at 616-234-4357 or by visiting our Customer Support Portal at to submit a ticket.