By Elizabeth Halvorson, Alena Visnovsky, Joseph Poulos, and Kaia Zimmerman
President Bill Pink is leaving GRCC.
In a surprise announcement, Pink was selected as Ferris State University’s 19th President after a closed search. The announcement was made during a social reception that was live streamed from Big Rapids at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 28.
Pink made an announcement on GRCC’s Youtube channel at 11:15 a.m., just 15 minutes after FSU.
“I come to you this morning with what I would call bittersweet news for me,” Pink said in a pre-recorded message. “… But I need to let you know, let my family here, my GRCC family know that this morning in Big Rapids I will be announced as the next president of Ferris State University.”
Pink is considered the “selected finalist” for the position, pending a final approval by the FSU Board of Trustees.
Moments before Pink’s announcement to the GRCC community, FSU Board Chairperson Amna Siebold, who led the Search Advisory Committee, introduced Pink to those in attendance with heartfelt comments about his accomplishments and qualifications.
“The choice for the sole final candidate was unanimous,” Siebold said. “He will support our core values of collaboration, diversity, ethical community, excellence, learning and opportunity.
“He ticks almost every box of criteria listed during the listening sessions last year. I know you will find him as warm, engaging and inspirational as I do.”
During the FSU livestream, Pink indicated that leaving GRCC, the place where he has been president for five years, isn’t going to be easy especially “when you have gotten to know people and gotten to love so many people in a place and really worked…with them and for them as much as you could as president, to try to make things as smooth as possible for them to do their jobs… I was blessed because that campus is one that was doing it way before I got there and they’ll be doing it way after I am gone because it is an incredible institution that I need to make sure I acknowledge this morning…”
FSU launched the search for their next president in November 2021 with the goal of concluding the search before the end of the 2022 Winter semester after FSU President David Eisler announced his plans to retire in March 2021. Eisler is planning to retire in June 2022.
Following the announcement, GRCC’s Board Chairperson, David J. Koetje described Pink’s departure as “bittersweet.”
“Dr. Pink has been a wonderful leader for our college. His passion and energy are contagious, and he was certainly the right person at the right time for GRCC,” he said.
He highlighted Pink’s many contributions to the college and the work he did while leading GRCC.
“GRCC has changed in many ways on his watch,” Koetje said. “We witnessed transformational projects such as the GRCC Lakeshore Campus development. His students-first approach during the pandemic ensured West Michigan residents were able to continue their education and emerge stronger.”
Koetje noted that FSU has been a close partner of GRCC for many years, and he believes Pink will continue this important work in his new role.
“This community will miss having Dr. Pink here at GRCC,” he said. “Under new leadership, however, we will continue working together with all our Western Michigan partners as together we create a brighter tomorrow for all of our students long into the future.”
Editors Note: This story was updated on Monday, March 28 at 12:53 p.m. to add new information about the announcement. The original story was posted at 11:17 a.m.