Director of Communications
June 18, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College’s Board of Trustees voted from among nine candidates Monday to elect Debra Bailey as the board’s newest member. Bailey will replace trustee Terri Handlin who announced in May that due to personal circumstances she was resigning from the board. Handlin will serve through Aug. 31, 2013. The remainder of her term, which expires Dec. 31, 2014, will be served by Bailey.
“We are pleased to welcome Deb to the board,” Chairman Richard W. Verburg said. “Her extensive experience and career in the manufacturing industry will complement current board leadership.”
Bailey is director of Global Corporate Relations for Steelcase Inc., where she is responsible for local community relations and government affairs in the communities where Steelcase’s major facilities are located around the world.
“I am honored to become a member of the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees,” Bailey said. “GRCC is a critical and valuable community asset, and I look forward to participating in the decision-making process that moves the institution forward in a way that ensures sustainability and prepares students for their next steps.”
GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender added, “We welcome Deb Bailey’s extensive professional background and commitment to the residents of West Michigan. Her wealth of experience will enhance the efforts of the board as its members continue to support the mission of the college in providing educational opportunities for student success.”
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Bailey’s civic engagement includes serving as a member of the Aquinas College Board of Trustees, founding member and board and capital campaign chairperson for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, and city of Grand Rapids Parking Commissioner.
She also has been involved as a foundation board member for Western Michigan University and East Grand Rapids Public Schools, and as board chair of YWCA and the Heart of West Michigan United Way.
Recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Bailey has received several honors for her commitment to community service, including the YWCA Tribute Award, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Athena Award-Outstanding Woman in Business, Herman Miller Outstanding Employee Award and Aquinas College Outstanding Alumnae Award.
Before earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Western Michigan and Aquinas College respectively, she attended Grand Rapids Community College.
The Board of Trustees followed protocol set forth by the Michigan Community College Act to fill the vacancy. The act states that a board vacancy may be filled by a candidate from the district by a majority vote of the board through an application submission and interview process.
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for more than 30,000 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 locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.