Home GRCC Campus News GRCC interim President Juan Olivarez states intentions for his return to the...

GRCC interim President Juan Olivarez states intentions for his return to the school

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Chairperson David Koetje presents Juan Olivarez with the President Emeritus Award. - Rachael Yadlowsky

Amongst the many staffing changes being made at the school, the most notable is the return of former Grand Rapids Community College president Juan Olivarez to the same position, albeit temporarily. 

After former president Bill Pink’s farewell announcement at the end of March, Olivarez took the interim post and is contracted until Dec. 31, 2022.

According to GRCC Communication Director Dave Murray, Olivarez stands to make $148,030 for his seven-month term, and is happy to be back at the college where he was appointed the first Hispanic college president in Michigan in 1999. 

“It feels great to be back at GRCC,” Olivarez said. “This is such a special place for me, and I’ve been proud to have stayed connected over the years.”

As the search for a long-term replacement continues, Olivarez looks forward to working with the GRCC Board of Trustees to help set the college in the right direction.

“I’m excited to be able to come back, work with the board of trustees, faculty and staff to ensure the work of this college continues without missing a beat,” Olivarez said.

As far as what the college is looking for in its search for a new president, Olivarez has some ideas of his own that might be helpful.

“​​A good president provides leadership, and also recognizes the expertise of the people on his or her team,” Olivarez said. “The president sees the big picture, and brings those experts together around the common goals and mission. The president is the face of the college in the community, a person people know they can connect with.”

Since this is a community that Olivarez is already quite familiar with, he has goals that he wishes to accomplish in his brief return to the college. His primary focus will be to ensure the college runs smoothly while the search for presidential candidates continues.

“My focus will be on getting our fall semester off to a great start,” Olivarez said. “My role is to serve as a bridge between President Pink and the next person selected to lead GRCC. I know this college and community very well, and I’ve been connecting and reconnecting with many of the people on the team so we can have the most seamless transition possible. GRCC plays a vital role in our community. I’ll continue building relationships with the region’s leaders, employers, and residents. They will know the work of the college will continue without missing a beat.”

Olivarez hopes to engage with the students at GRCC during his transitional role, and is excited to support them in any capacity he can.

“I enjoy talking with students,” Olivarez said. “Their stories are inspiring and each one is a reminder of the important role our college plays in this community. We have a long history of developing and supporting students to accomplish their personal educational goals. We’re here to serve you, so don’t hesitate to look for assistance as you need it.”

Though he has stayed in contact with GRCC in his time away from the school, Olivarez has been enjoying his quiet life in retirement and has no plans for a major career move once the new president takes over.

“​​I have been retired and enjoying time with my wife and family,” Olivarez said. “But I stay connected with GRCC and other groups in the community and I’m happy to share my experience and be a resource.”

While the presidential search continues along with the reorganization of other staffing positions, Olivarez hopes that he can steady the ship well enough to pass it off to his successor. 

For more information on the presidential search process, click here.

 

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