Trustees select Salt Lake City Community College leader Charles Lepper to be new GRCC president

Charles Lepper, who oversees student affairs and enrollment at 10 Salt Lake Community College campuses, was selected Monday to be Grand Rapids Community College’s new president.

Trustees voted unanimously to select Lepper, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at the Utah college, to succeed Bill Pink and become GRCC’s 11th president.

Trustees are impressed by Lepper’s leadership experience at both community colleges and universities, said board Chair David J. Koetje.

 “Dr. Lepper has the skills and the passion for education needed to lead GRCC into the future,” he said. “He will arrive at a college in a good place, and stand on a strong foundation built by Dr. Pink and his predecessors. I am excited to see where he will take us in the years to come.”

The vote allows the college to approach Lepper about a potential contract.

Lepper has been in his role at Salt Lake Community College since 2015, providing strategic leadership and running day-to-day operations for student affairs and enrollment management functions at the 10 campuses. The system serves more than 60,000 students annually and uses a centralized administration structure to serve all campuses and their communities.

He also provides ongoing college-wide strategic leadership for the Division of Student Affairs, comprised of approximately 650 full- and part-time employees with an annual divisional operating budget of about $30 million.

Lepper previously was the vice president for Student Affairs at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Va., and held a series of leadership roles at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana between 2004 and 2013.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University, and a doctorate from Indiana State University. He also earned a certificate of completion from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Institute for Education Management.

Lepper was one of two finalists in the running to replace Pink, who became president of Ferris State University in July. GRCC President Emeritus Juan. R Olivarez has been serving as interim president during the search.

My GRCC Story: Cross country racer Audrey Meyering makes history as GRCC’s first – and likely only – three-time All-American

Earning National Junior College Athletic Association All-American honors three times in the same sport was not something Audrey Meyering expected when she enrolled at GRCC.

In fact, no other student-athlete in school history has achieved that feat. And it’s not likely anyone else will, either.

The global pandemic that ultimately gave all community college athletes a third year of eligibility had something to do with that. But so did Meyering’s considerable talents on the cross country course.

Recruited by GRCC coach Sharon Becker, Meyering knew immediately during her official campus visit that the college was a perfect fit.

“After graduating from high school, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do in college,” she said. “I thought about culinary arts, but I hadn’t enrolled in the program until after my first semester at GRCC. To save myself some money, and to get a feel for what I liked, along with the opportunity to run cross country, GRCC was the right fit for me.”

A four-time letter winner in cross country in high school, Meyering ran a personal-best 20:23 in the fall of 2019, her last season of high school cross country. The following spring saw the disruption of her track and field season and the final months of her high school academic career because of COVID.

Those disruptions followed her to GRCC. But Meyering said she tried to stay optimistic about the opportunities before her.

“I do feel like I’ve made the best of all my years at GRCC,” she said at the conclusion of the 2022 cross country season. “Being online for me was difficult at the start of COVID, but it grew on me after a while. It became the new normal. It’s crazy to see so many students back on campus this year.”

The pandemic also gave her a rare third year of competition and allowed her the shot at three All-American honors. Beyond that though, she said, being on the team for that long allowed for major growth in relationships with teammates and coaches.

“It has been very rewarding to make so many new lifetime friends,” she said. “I loved every second of being on the team.”

Meyering said the jump from high school cross country to collegiate cross country was significant, but she credited Becker for being there for her every step of the way.

“Coach has pushed me to be my best from day one,” she said. “I couldn’t be more grateful to have someone to help me become the best student-athlete and teammate possible. In many ways, she was a big reason that I chose to come back for the third time.” 

Meyering is on track to graduate this spring with her culinary degree and is excited to see what’s next.

She also sees similarities between her culinary journey and her athletic pursuits.

“Competitive drive is one of the things that connects the two the most,” she said. “In the (culinary) industry, it is easy to pick out those who have a passion for culinary arts and those who don’t, and I think that makes a big difference in terms of how far you can make it in either running or the industry.”  

And, just like Becker was a formative influence for her as her coach, she pointed to culinary professors who filled the same role for her in her academic career.

“My two favorite culinary professors are Chef (Bob) Shultz and Chef (Sarah) Waller,” she said. “They both know how to have a lot of fun in the kitchen while also being productive. They also always push us as students to be very creative, and I like the freedom to be able to create something new.” 

GRCC’s world-renowned culinary program has a strong international flavor, and Meyering has gotten a taste for a world beyond West Michigan, thanks to her courses and professors.

“After graduation I would really love the opportunity to travel,” she said. “It would be great to visit some new countries, experience new cultures and try new foods.”

She also hopes to continue to run competitively after graduation.

“Moving up from half marathons to full marathons would be really neat to cross off my list,” she said with a smile.

She laughs when she thinks now of running marathons and recalls her early junior high days of cross country competition.

“I didn’t think that running would be the sport that I’d fall in love with,” she said. “But I think I like it so much because I’m always running with my best friends and am constantly meeting new people along the way. Running is also how I clear my mind and relax.”

Among the new people she has met along the way is GRCC teammate Kaylee Scott, who set a new Raider record in 2022 with a blazing 19:12.7.

“Kaylee is the person who has impacted me the most,” Meyering said. “She’s been my running buddy the whole way through. In our sport, having someone to cheer you on and push you to your limits – and to share your struggles with – is the best. Sharing an All-American title with her, crossing the finish line just seconds behind her, those are some of my favorite memories.”

This story was reported by Phil de Haan. 

GRCC In the News 11/22/2022

GRCC to hire new president from Salt Lake community college

11/21/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Community College has selected its new president.

Grand Rapids Community College offers president post to Utah college administrator

11/21/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College has named its next president.

News at 11 p.m.

11/21/22 WZZM

(President announcement.)

Dancing with the Local Stars participants announced

11/21/22 White Lake Beacon

The Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that 38 new community stars including local dignitaries, business owners, and people of interest will comprise its cast for the organization’s 15th annual Dancing with the Local Stars.

… The dance professionals are:

… Patrick Johnson, President & CEO of West Michigan Flight Academy, Co-owner of PT Arts, LLC Performing Arts Consulting, Retired Dance Faculty at Grand Rapids Community College, 15-year participant

IT Support: Modified phone and support hours for the week of Thanksgiving

So that the members of IT can enjoy time with their friends and families, we will have modified phone and support hours for the week of Thanksgiving.

The changes are as follows:

  • Monday, November 21: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 22: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 23 through Sunday, November 27: CLOSED

Support requests may be submitted via

Emergency requests and those impacting a student’s ability to access learning resources will be responded to accordingly during the break.  

HR Notification: Payroll reminder

As we prepare to enjoy some time away from work next week for the Thanksgiving campus closure starting on Wednesday, 11/23/22, the Payroll Team has a reminder about your timesheets for the 12/9/22 pay date (for the pay period of 11/14-11/27/22). We don’t want the due dates to sneak up on you post-break!

While timesheets are still due by Monday, 11/28/22, many employees (students, especially!) are in the habit of submitting them at the end of the pay period. Since we will all be out on Friday, 11/25/22, you may want to submit your timesheet by Tuesday, 11/22/22 (or sooner if you’re out all week).

Please take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the most accurate version of your timesheet is submitted by Monday, 11/28/22.

And, supervisors, if you’re out for any additional time around this shutdown, please ensure you have a backup approver in place to review and approve timesheets by the deadline of Tuesday, 11/29/22. More information on setting up a backup approver can be found here.