By Joseph Poulos
Former GRCC President Juan Olivarez is returning to the college to serve as interim president until outgoing President Bill Pink’s replacement is hired.
Pink is set to leave this summer to become President of Ferris State University after serving five years in the top job.
News of Olivarez taking over presidential duties was announced on Monday, May 16 at a GRCC Board of Trustees meeting, during an update on the search for a new candidate to replace Pink.
GRCC Board Chairperson David Koetje first outlined the board’s goals and intentions in finding a new President.
“We have set in place a framework that will guide our search process for our next president,” Koetje said. “(A) leadership profile will be introduced later this month to stakeholders for their review and comment on that.”
Koetje also mentioned that the board expected to reach an upcoming agreement with an outside firm to streamline the process in finding the best possible candidate.
“We will be entering an agreement with the search firm in the next few weeks or so to assist us with this process,” Koetje said. “And our expectation is that we will make an appointment by the end of the calendar year. Our number one priority is to get the best candidate possible. Our number two priority is to do that as quickly as we can.”
Additional information about the search can be found here.
Koetje also revealed who will take over as interim president in the time between the departure of current president, Bill Pink, and the hiring of a new president. He said he was happy to announce that Olivarez, GRCC President Emeritus, will fill that role. The motion was approved unanimously.
In an Instagram post on GRCC’s official account, Koetje spoke highly of Olivarez.
“Dr. Olivarez knows this college because he helped shape it to become the success it is today,” Koetje stated in the post. “He has long been respected for his leadership here at GRCC and in our greater community. There are challenging times ahead of us, and GRCC’s mission remains vital. Dr. Olivarez is remembered for bringing people together and expanding opportunities for students so more people could take advantage of a quality education. His experience and vision will ensure this college continues moving forward at full speed while we select our next president.”
Olivarez was the first Hispanic college president in Michigan when he originally took on the role in 1999.
For his part, Olivarez is excited to be back in the position, if only temporarily. In a press release, he described what GRCC means to him.
“GRCC is such a special place for me, and I’ve been proud to have stayed connected over the years,” Olivarez said. “I’m excited to be able to come back, work with this strong team and ensure the work of this college continues without missing a beat.”