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Investiture of Dr. Charles Lepper as president of GRCC

Sept. 6, 2023 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The investiture of Dr. Charles Lepper as the 11th president of Grand Rapids Community College will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, at Fountain Street Church.

This ceremony marks the official transfer of power to the new president, who began in January 2023, and is an important event for any college or university. It is among the oldest traditions in academia.

Investiture comes from the Latin and means “dress in robe.”

Fittingly, the upcoming investiture of Lepper will see a processional of robed academics from both GRCC and numerous other colleges and universities, all wearing the often-colorful regalia of academia, including cap, gown and hood.

President Lepper will march in regalia but without the medallion of office, which will be presented during the ceremony. The GRCC presidential medallion, made by faculty members,  is a recreation of the college seal and represents the scholarship and authority of the office. It includes three flames representing the highest and purest purpose of education replacing the darkness of ignorance and fear with the vision of truth, understanding and beauty.

The GRCC mace will also be part of the event (its presence is a tradition at inaugurations, commencements and academic convocations). It was made by faculty and students and includes a rope of gold encircling the wooden handle that spirals upward emphasizing the strength of the institution.

The hardwood column implies strength as it supports and elevates the silver globe which contains the college seal and encompasses a global awareness and diversity of the college’s mission.

Lepper has more than 25 years of experience at universities and community colleges, and prior to his role at Grand Rapids Community College, he served as a vice president at Salt Lake Community College.

Prior to his time at SLCC, he served as a vice president for Student Affairs  at Tidewater Community College in southern Virginia.

He has also been active with the National Academic Advising Association, serving as a consultant to two-year institutions around the country, and serves on the board of directors for the Michigan Community College Association, The Right Place and West Michigan Works!.

Lepper earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources and Personnel Management from Ball State University; a Master of Education in Secondary, Higher and Adult Education from Grand Valley State University; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership, Administration and Foundations from Indiana State University. He also completed Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management in 2017 and earned a professional development certificate in trauma and resilience from Florida State University in 2021.