President Dr. Steven C. Ender, in full commencement regalia, stands behind a lectern.

Steven Ender to receive President Emeritus Award at commencement

President Dr. Steven C. Ender will receive the President Emeritus Award as part of commencement on April 28.

Ender, who became GRCC’s ninth president in 2009, retires at the end of the month.

“As a distinguished leader, writer, and speaker, Dr. Ender’s mark in higher education has been significant,” said David J. Koetje, board of trustees chair.  “That mark has placed him in an elite group of respected leaders throughout high education.

“We were blessed to experience the benefits of that leadership as he skillfully navigated us from a very tenuous financial position eight years ago to a very strong financial position today. This spring — for the first time in our history — we will approve in excess of $1 million in scholarships.”

Ender’s skillful leadership has led to significant achievements and growth during his time at GRCC. Highlights of his tenure include the signing of 92 transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities, as well as area high schools; receiving more than $55 million in grants to support teaching and learning; and raising $21 million through the foundation for capital projects.

Ender, the first GRCC leader without Grand Rapids or Michigan roots, has served on the board of directors for The Right Place, Spectrum Health System, Talent 2025, YMCA, WMCAT, and Economics Club. He also served 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, Pa. 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.

GRCC’s board of trustees voted April 17 to recognize Ender. He will be the second recipient of a President Emeritus Award from GRCC. Richard W. Calkins, the seventh leader of what was then Grand Rapids Junior College, was the first recipient.

Ender will be honored during commencement, which takes place at 7 p.m. April 28 at Ford Fieldhouse, 226 Lyon St. NE. This year, 1,650 students are eligible to graduate at the end of the fall 2016 semester or applied to graduate during the winter or summer 2017 semesters.

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