March 17, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College President Dr. Steven C. Ender announced today (Thursday, March 17) his plans for retirement at the end of his current contract with the college that culminates on June 30, 2017.
The announcement was made to GRCC faculty, staff and students during the president’s bi-annual coffee and conversation, an informal question and answer-style public forum during which Ender shares information on the state of the college, progress achieved on current initiatives, as well as outlining future initiatives.
“I have been blessed to have had a more than 40-year career working in higher education, the past seven at GRCC,” Ender said. “But, the time has come where I decided that my next step is retirement. I do not want this announcement to overshadow all of the great things we will do at the college during the coming year. However, I have made my decision and wanted to share it with the campus community sooner rather than later.”
Board of Trustees Chairperson Bert R. Bleke said that the search for the next GRCC president will commence immediately, noting he and the board have much gratitude to express for Ender’s skillful leadership of GRCC.
“President Ender has been a highly effective leader,” Bleke said. “During his tenure the college has weathered a recession, expanding and declining enrollments, and sought ways to improve student success and retention. Dr. Ender lead the charge to stabilize the budget, improve teaching and learning spaces, and increase dollars available for student scholarships to name only a few accomplishments. He leaves GRCC in an academically and financially sound place, and we cannot say enough about how thankful we are for his service to the college.”
The first GRCC leader without Grand Rapids or Michigan roots, Ender quickly established himself in West Michigan serving on the board of directors for The Right Place, Spectrum Health System, Talent 2025, YMCA, WMCAT, and Economics Club. He also serves on the Michigan Community College Association Executive, Legislative and Strategic Planning committees; the Kent County Collective Impact Initiative for Children and Families Committee; and the United Way Visioning Council.
Prior to GRCC, Ender was president of Westmoreland Community College in Youngwood, Penn. A Richmond, Va. native, he has spent more than 40 years working in higher education holding numerous teaching, counseling and administrative positions, as well as having published extensively in refereed journals and textbooks.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 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.