GRCC Provost Earns Top Award for Women in Higher Education

Grand Rapids Community College Provost and Executive Vice President Gilda Gely received the Distinguished Women in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Council on Education at their annual conference in Lansing.

Michigan ACE, the state’s leading network for women in higher education, presented Gely with its highest honor on Tuesday during their two-day conference.

The award has been presented annually since 2001 to honor significant contributions women have made at Michigan's colleges and universities and in their communities. GRCC President Steven C. Ender nominated Gely for the award.
“I think Gilda embodies everything this award stands for,” said Ender. “She models leadership, top academic and administrative standards, and unceremoniously extends her hand to help other women advance in their own work.”

Gely said she is humbled by the honor. “I have been fortunate to have had wonderful women who were mentors, and it is because of them that I have been able to get to this point in my career,” she said. “I can only repay them by following their examples.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Gely was named GRCC provost in 2007. Prior to GRCC, Gely served as academic dean for the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao and vice chancellor for Universidad del Este, also in Puerto Rico.

At GRCC, Gely helped establish the college’s Leadership Institute and served as a mentor for the first cohort. She also serves as a board member for the Literacy Center of West Michigan and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Colleagues at GRCC called her a champion for women’s issues, social justice and gender equity.

Nearly 250 women who work in higher education attended the 2-day conference June 6 and 7 at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development in Lansing.  For more information about the conference or the Michigan ACE Network, visit

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.