The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees selected Bill Pink to be the college’s 10th president.
Pink is GRCC’s dean of workforce development.
“I am honored, humbled and excited at the opportunity to be the next president of GRCC,” Pink said. “I am anxiously looking forward to working with our faculty, staff and students to craft the next chapter of this great institution.”
All board members voted for Pink, even the two who haven’t been sworn in yet.
“Bill earned this and he earned this by doing well amidst very good candidates,” said Chairperson Bert Bleke.
Pink will also be the first black president at GRCC.
Trustee Ellen James, who is retiring this year after 25 years, made the official recommendation, and all the trustees followed in obvious approval.
“This is the conclusion of approximately a year and a half, two years, of work in this board,” Bleke said.
The board sifted through 61 candidates with a 25-member screening committee, through a process that began last year.
Trustee-elect Kathleen Bruinsma said she was torn between Pink and Gates-Black.
“I come out on the side of Dr. Pink because he has been in our community doing the work that needs to be done,” Bruinsma said. “I think he would be a great person to bring this institution forward. I think he embodies all of our values.”
Trustee-elect Kenyatta Brame said there was one candidate that stood above the rest.
“Bill has the skills and the experience to make sure the college fulfills its mission,” Brame said.
“In a short time, Dr. Pink has made a positive impact on this community and has demonstrated leadership and the ability to advance the goals of the college.”
Trustees Deb Bailey, James and David Koetje all said they supported Pink.
Trustee Cynthia Bristol said she, too, supports Pink, who has “established remarkable trust and respect within our college and community.”
Trustee Richard Stewart also voted for Pink.
“I was very impressed with the amazing candidates, the breadth of their skill, their knowledge of the academic process,” Stewart said. “The thing that won me over … was a very obvious outward trajectory of skill … involvement in the time he’s been here.”
Stewart added that Pink has an unstoppable energy, ability to get things done, knowledge and skill, among other things.
Trustee Richard Verburg also favored Pink.
Bleke announced in the beginning of the meeting that Amy Fugate dropped out of the race for “personal and professional reasons.” Amy Fugate is the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Mott Community College, Flint.
The other candidate L. Joy Gates-Black is the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Student Success at Tarrant County College, Texas.
Pink was hired in the spring of 2015 as the dean of workforce development. Pink earned his associate’s degree from York College in Nebraska, a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University, a master’s degree from University of Central Oklahoma and doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.
Community comments were made after the appointment, from students, a former trustee, and city commissioners.
President of the GRCC Faculty Association Frank Conner said he was privileged to have been apart of the presidential search process from the beginning.
“Dr. Pink showed himself to be the best candidate from a very large pool of excellent applicants,” Conner said. “Dr. Pink seems to be universally respected at GRCC and I look forward to working with him. He has the potential to do great things.”
Student Alliance President Jose Garcia said he was pleased to see Pink chosen to be the next college president.
“I can honestly say that most of my peers agreed that Dr. Pink should be taking the role of the institution,” Garcia said. “He has done so much to build our college and has really emphasized all degrees and certifications as important towards the success of students here at GRCC as well as the success of our local economy.”
This story was updated at 11:50 a.m. to include additional comment.
This story was updated at 7:00 p.m. to include additional comment.