Scholarfest to honor Dr. Juan and Mary Olivarez

This year’s Scholarfest — 6-8 p.m. November 1 at the New Secchia Piazza — will honor Dr. Juan and Mary Olivarez. 

As Grand Rapids Community College’s eighth president, Juan Olivarez forged community partnerships and increased educational opportunities for underserved populations.

Mary Olivarez is equally committed to education, spending 24 years with Grand Rapids Public Schools, teaching kindergarten and early childhood education, and working with students with multiple impairments. 

This year’s event will be very special as we are bringing it back to campus in our new Secchia Piazza. We invite you to share this fun-filled evening spent in the company of friends while experiencing the fabulous sights and sounds of GRCC. 

The event includes a strolling dinner, music by the GRCC Guitar Ensemble and Atrevidos Nortenos and a brief program at 6:45 p.m. Dress is business casual.

Individual tickets cost $150, with proceeds benefiting GRCC scholarships. You can RSVP online.

For more information, contact Mary Reed at (616) 234-3930 or

GRCC presidential candidate Stuart Blacklaw on campus today

Dr. Stuart Blacklaw is on campus today for several forums and an interview with the Board of Trustees.

Access to the feedback survey will be at each session, on the Presidential Search website, and available at President Search Feedback Form – Fall 2022.

His schedule is as follows:

  • 8:00-8:40 a.m. — Breakfast gathering with the Board of Trustees in room 122 of the ATC.
  • 8:45-9:30 a.m. — Cabinet in ATC.
  • 9:45-10:30 a.m. — Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access in the ATC auditorium. Public link to live-stream.
  • 10:45-11:30 a.m. — Faculty forum in the ATC auditorium.
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Student forum in the ATC auditorium.
  • 12:45-2:00 p.m. — Lunch with the Executive Leadership Team in ATC.
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. — Campus & Community forum (all faculty, administration, staff and public invited) in the ATC auditorium. Public link to live-stream.
  • 3:45-5:15 p.m. — Board of Trustees Interview in the ATC auditorium. Public link to live-stream.

Recap of October Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) meeting

GRCC’s Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) met on Friday, October 14, from 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

Here is a recap of the meeting:

  • The team held the meeting from the Lakeshore Campus, again in a HyFlex format, providing an option for both in-person and virtual attendance.  GRCC’s Media Team provided key support for these efforts, which were another first for the College as this was SLT’s first meeting at the Lakeshore!  Many thanks to Dave Selmon and the Lakeshore Campus staff for their help as well!
  • Team members heard Dr. Olivarez’s opening remarks about the importance of SLT and the strategic planning process at GRCC as well as the significance of holding a meeting at the Lakeshore, which offered both virtual and in-person opportunities to tour the new building. 
  • Team members heard an update on the new SLT Executive Committee members as well as changes to the SLT Bylaws Draft Document based on the feedback SLT members provided at the September meeting.  SLT members are continuing to review the Bylaws Document.  The SLT Executive Committee members are: Brian Knetl, Provost; Sheila Jones, Associate Provost; Jennifer Batten, Professor of Physical Sciences; Vikki Cooper, Professor of English and Director of Instruction for Developmental Education; Ann Isackson, Associate Dean of Student Success–Support & Retention; Amanda Kruzona, Interim Director of Institutional Research; and Jonnathan Resendiz, Interim Associate Dean, School of STEM.
  • Amanda Kruzona, Interim Director of Institutional Research, presented data related to students who attend classes at the Lakeshore Campus.  A guest presenter, Mandy Cooper, who serves as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Lakeshore Advantage, then provided a presentation about the Lakeshore region and the work of Lakeshore Advantage.
  • Seven guest panelists, representing Lakeshore Campus faculty, staff, and students joined Provost Knetl for a discussion about how the College can support the Lakeshore Campus.  They also provided the Provost with a “wish list,” which SLT Exec has added to the meeting records and will use as SLT works to refine the Strategic Plan framework in the next several weeks.  Many thanks to Dave Selmon for organizing the panel and to Coral, Tiffany, Jacqueline, Cyndi, Roel, Annette, and Kristie for their candid responses throughout the conversation.
  • Prior to the meeting’s adjournment, members heard updates related to the Dean of Lakeshore Campus Search, GRCC Presidential Search, HLC Reaffirmation process, and Civil Rights Compliance Survey.
  • SLT’s next meeting is Friday, November 18th and will be held at the DeVose Campus.  During this meeting, SLT members will continue to work on the implementation of GRCC’s 2022-25 Strategic Plan Framework.

Please contact Sheila Jones,, if you have any questions about SLT meetings.

About the Strategic Leadership Team: The purpose of the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) is to provide a forum that enables a wide variety of college constituency groups the opportunity to provide input into the present and future direction of the College.  This team will guide the development and on-going implementation of our strategic plan, review benchmarking data, study budget realities and offer recommendations for budget priorities.  SLT’s membership includes over 90 representatives of the college community.  Please visit this page to learn more about SLT.

Retirement Readiness learning opportunity and Open Enrollment session during Benefits Fair on October 26

Join GRCC Benefits staff and representatives on Wednesday, October 26 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in ATC Rooms 118 – 124 to learn more about the 2023 updates and changes to GRCC health plans. The six health plans will be reviewed and details on coverage and monthly cost will be shared.

During the Benefits Fair, you can participate in the Retirement Readiness learning opportunity from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the ATC Auditorium. Please register via your Online Center account. This session will be offered in a hyflex format — both in person and virtual.

You can also participate in the Open Enrollment Benefits Info Session from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the ATC Auditorium. This is the annual opportunity for you to make changes to your benefits and to add or drop eligible dependents from coverage.  Changes made at open enrollment are effective January 1, 2023. Please register via your Online Center account. This session will be offered in a hyflex format — both in person and virtual.

GRCC volleyball team, faculty teaming up to raise awareness of breast cancer and support those fighting the disease

Grand Rapids Community College volleyball players are raising awareness of breast cancer and supporting those fighting the disease and working for a cure with a special Pink Night on Tuesday.

GRCC student-athletes will be wearing special pink jerseys when they take the court at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse against Muskegon Community College.

“Our student-athletes work to be leaders on and off the court, and the Pink Game has long been an important event for our volleyball players,” Athletic Director Lauren Ferullo said. “Many of us have friends and relatives who have courageously fought the battle against cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to share about the challenges being faced, and the resources available in our community to help people.”

Admission is $5, with GRCC students and employees admitted free with their RaiderCard. Proceeds and donations will go to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. The organization supports people battling cancer and those grieving the loss of friends and loved ones. Donations also will be accepted during the game.

The game commemoration is one of several events hosted by the Athletic Department and Exercise Science Department to raise awareness about the disease.

Professor Melanie Schiele Gady is leading a presentation and learning session from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 in room 214 of the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer. This learning session will include what breast cancer is, signs and symptoms, risk factors, how to lower risk, screenings, lifestyle heath, exercise, treatment and care. The event is open to all students and employees.

Pink Night has been an annual event for the volleyball team during coach Chip Will’s 16 years at the helm.

The volleyball team is riding an 18-game win streak and has already clinched a share of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Northern Conference title.

GRCC MPP Exclusive deal with Dell

To kick off your holiday shopping, we’ve launched select items EARLY with our Holiday Gift Guide.

We will rotate Black Friday pricing on select models from now through the holiday season. Shop early and still get great savings, no need to wait!

Take advantage of this MPP Exclusive deal! Look under ‘Deals’ for some great pre-Holiday offers.

Here are some highlights (offers live 10.17-10.26):

  • Inspiron 16 Laptop $749.99           
  • Inspiron 24 Touch All-In-One $1,059.99
  • XPS 15 Laptop $2,649.00

GRCC In the News 10/18/2022

News 8 Daybreak

10/18/22 WOOD TV

(Volleyball’s Pink Game.)

Funding roundup

10/14/22 Community College Daily (American Association of Community Colleges)

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and its partners will use a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase the number of community health workers in west Michigan.

GRCC working with community partners to train students for careers in-demand healthcare fields

10/17/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College is working with its partners to build a pipeline of public health workers to help more people enter the workforce to meet the demand in West Michigan.

Lake Michigan College dean of diversity is touring community organizations

10/17/22 The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph)

BENTON TOWNSHIP — Cam Herth has been on a listening tour.

… That influenced me coming here. I worked with GRPS for 10 years, then I accepted a position as executive director for the Black Educational Excellence Program. That was a nonprofit and it was housed at Grand Rapids Community College. So that’s another component that had me working with students of color in regards to education, and it exposed me, as well as those students, to higher education. We had articulation agreements with a variety of colleges and universities. The purpose was when the students completed the program they would have tuition paid for whatever school they applied and got into.

Learn about health benefits at FSA & HSA informational lunch & learn session

Join the Benefits team on Tuesday, October 25 from 11:30am -1:00pm in Room 234 Student Center (MultiPurpose Room) for an informational overview of Flex Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts. 2023 Health plan options will also be reviewed.

Open Enrollment begins Monday, October 24 and runs through Friday November 4. 

Get your questions answered and learn about these benefits from various representatives in the health benefit field.

Lunch will be provided. Register for the session via your Online Center Professional Development tile.

For benefits questions, please contact or

Back and better than ever: The GRCC Leadership Institute

The GRCC Leadership Institute has been transformed, updated, redeveloped and re-energized!

Human Resources has partnered with the leadership development consultants of Insight Action Learning Group to establish a program committed to strengthening new and emerging leaders from across the GRCC campus. 

Please apply to be one of the first participants in this new and improved seven month cohort experience. Meetings will take place monthly beginning in January through July. 

The GRCC Leadership Institute program seeks a diverse pool of candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • exemplifies GRCC’s values
  • Commitment to attending the program in its entirety
  • Continuing employment at GRCC for one year after completion of the L.I. program

Please visit the updated Leadership Institute webpage to review more details and information about the program as well as the Leadership Institute application.

The deadline to apply to be a part of the 2023 cohort is Friday, November 4.

Questions? More information? Contact Laura Caulk or Angela Salinas.

English Department Scholarships: Apply by November 7

Please consider applying for an English Department Scholarship. 

If you have an interest in writing or literature or justice, you may qualify. 

There are six scholarships available and each has their own criteria.

Review them here!

The November 7 deadline is approaching, please compile your materials now.  Let Nora Neill ( know if you have any questions.