FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Communications
Sept. 19, 2017 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Dr. Bill Pink will meet with students, alumni, community members and business leaders during a week of activities leading to his investiture as Grand Rapids Community College's 10th president on Sept. 29.
Pink has served as president since Dr. Steven C. Ender retired in May after leading the college for eight years. The investiture will formally confer all the honors of the office on him, said psychology professor Frank Conner, Faculty Association president.
"Investiture is the formal academic ceremony where the title, roles, responsibilities, and authority of the college presidency are publicly bestowed upon a new holder of the office," Conner said.
The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE. Speakers will include state Rep. Winnie Brinks; Teresa Weatherall Neal, GRCC alumna and Grand Rapids Public Schools superintendent; Grand Valley State University President Thomas J. Haas; and Cale Merdzinski, president of GRCC's Student Alliance. A reception in honor of Pink will take place immediately after the ceremony.
The investiture will cap off a week of activities in which Pink will share his vision for GRCC with West Michigan. He will hold a community forum at GRCC's Lakeshore Campus in Holland and conduct a breakfast meeting with business representatives at Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC. Pink will also host a pancake breakfast with students and take part in a panel discussion featuring GRCC alumni.
Community members can meet him during a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at The Heritage Restaurant, which is inside the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center at 151 Fountain St. NE.
GRCC's board of trustees named Pink, GRCC's vice president and dean of Workforce Development, as president in November 2016 after a national search. Board members said he had both the expertise and vision to take the college to the next level.
"Throughout the interview process, the board was impressed with Dr. Pink’s vision for intersecting the work of this college with the future of every student who enrolls in this school," said board Chairperson David J. Koetje.
"He captured our confidence with his insight in how this flourishing organization can successfully navigate the waters of an uncertain future. His accomplishments while serving as vice president and dean of Workforce Development demonstrated that he understands how important it is to capture the insight and expertise of the people working around him."
Prior to joining GRCC’s leadership team in March 2015, Pink served as vice president for academic affairs at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. He has been an educator for more than 25 years, and has taught or coached in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Oregon. As a college basketball player, he earned awards for his athletic and academic achievements, including a 2016 induction into the York College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Pink has an associate degree from York College in Nebraska, a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Christian University, a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, and a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.
He contributes to his community through a variety of ways, including membership on the board of directors for Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids, and the Heart of West Michigan United Way. Pink also serves as a board member of West Michigan Works!, the workforce development agency for seven counties in West Michigan.
In April 2016, Pink was awarded a prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Future Community College Presidents. He is a former member of the National Selection Committee for the National Merit Scholarship Council and is a former national conference co-chair for Dream Deferred: The Future of African-American Education.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.