By Shane Madden
The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees has chosen to appoint Charles Lepper as the college’s 11th president.
Lepper is currently serving as the vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Salt Lake Community College in Utah and interviewed at GRCC on Oct. 19. Prior to his current position Lepper served as vice president of Student Affairs at Tidewater Community College and has earned a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, a master’s degree from Grand Valley State University and a doctorate from Indiana State University.
Lepper said he is elated and excited to join the GRCC community.
“I am overjoyed to have been selected to serve as the 11th president of Grand Rapids Community College,” Lepper stated in an email. “Since the beginning of the search process, I have been impressed with the outstanding work happening at the college and the positive working and learning environments that have been established and continue to be nurtured. I was able to quickly conclude that GRCC is a special place and something that I wanted to be a part of and I am happy that I now get to be part of the GRCC family. Countless thanks to the Board of Trustees, search committee, faculty, staff, students, and community partners who have put their trust and faith in me. I look forward to getting to know the college and community, building relationships, and strengthening partnerships. I am eager to get to work and will do my very best to continue the success of GRCC.”
The board vote was all but unanimous, with six votes going in favor of the Lepper and the seventh, after hearing other members’ point of view, expressed deep support for the incoming president.
Board chairperson David Koetje, along with the rest of the board, expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the selection process, and to the community engagement they received throughout. He had this to say about Lepper: “Very student focused. His lens on how to make tomorrow better than yesterday, is through the lens of students. That became crystal clear to us as we listened to him. Plus, he has the moxy to be a college president. He’s been in a complicated, sophisticated organization… I ask myself the question, ‘who is the leader that’s the most worth following?’ I think that was the separator for me.”
Frank Conner, head of the Faculty Association, commented on their behalf.
“We would be happy to work with any of them,” Conner said. “We were fortunate to have great applicants. I was on the screening committee, and we had tremendous folks who wanted to work here. I think Dr. Lepper is a great choice.”