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GRCC faculty and students react to President Pink’s surprise announcement of his departure to become FSU president

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Juan R Olivarez Plaza (Sabrina Edwards/ The Collegiate)

By Elizabeth Halvorson and Alena Visnovsky

When President Bill Pink announced Monday that he is leaving Grand Rapids Community College and becoming Ferris State University’s 19th President, it came as a shock to many GRCC students and faculty members. 

FSU hosted a closed search after their current president, David Eisler, announced he will be retiring this summer. The finalists’ names for the top FSU job were kept under wraps so the GRCC community didn’t know Pink was in the mix.

“I haven’t had many personal interactions with him (Pink), but it’s sad because he has such high morale for the college,” said GRCC’s Student Alliance Acting-President and Director of Communication Becca Klap. “He has always supported student endeavors and involvement.”

Pink has served as president of GRCC for five years and previously served as vice president and dean of Workforce Development at GRCC, as well as Oklahoma State University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. 

“Dr. Pink has done a lot for students. He always wanted to be there to support students, whether that was going to games or attending student events,” said GRCC’s Student Alliance Director of External Affairs Aracely Marroquin. “He always reminded us ‘You should be proud that you’re at GRCC. Be responsive. Be relevant.’”

Grant Snider, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at GRCC, gave his thoughts on Pink’s move to FSU.

“I think Dr. Pink is an excellent fit for Ferris State University,” Snider said. “I’ve been teaching since Fall of 1987, including 14 years at Ferris, and I’ve worked at institutions that have gone through president changes. It can make some people anxious, but that comes with any change. I wish President Pink all the best.”

Michael Shavey, Director of Experiential Learning at GRCC, relayed his best wishes to President Pink.

“President Pink’s announcement came as a shock,” said Shavey in an email to the Collegiate. “Ferris is getting an amazing president and person. He will be missed.”

It may take a while for some to embrace the changes on the horizon for GRCC. 

“I’m gonna miss his leadership, I think he’s a really good president and I’m sad to see him go,” said Heather Den Houter, a Support Professional for GRCC’s Occupational Support Program. “I know (a new president) has to happen, but I guess I’m not excited about it, because I like Dr. Pink.”

Shantaisa King, a student and employee at GRCC, commended Dr. Pink. 

“I feel like he’s doing what he’s told us to do,” King said. “He’s leading by example and I’m really proud of him. He took initiative and leveled up…  I’m confident that Dr. Pink will leave us in good hands.”