Tag Archives: board of trustees

Juan R. Olivarez to be named President Emeritus

Juan R. Olivarez, who guided GRCC through 10 years of growth and challenges, will receive the President Emeritus Award as part of this year’s commencement.

The board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to bestow the title on Olivarez, who also will be the keynote speaker at GRCC’s April 27 commencement.

“Dr. Olivarez worked tirelessly for GRCC students, making sure they are the focus of everything we do,” board Chairman David J. Koetje said. “He built partnerships throughout our community that led to more opportunities for our students and strengthened our region as a whole. Presenting Dr. Olivarez with the President Emeritus Award is a reflection of his impact and of the respect we have for him.”

Olivarez became the first Hispanic president of a Michigan college or university when he was tapped to lead GRCC in 1999. The son of migrant laborers, he has degrees from Aquinas College, Wayne State University and Michigan State University.

After working in Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than 20 years, Olivarez became GRCC’s dean of Institutional Research in 1991. He was named the college’s eighth president and is known for his efforts to develop community partnerships and boost minority enrollment so all West Michigan students have the best opportunities for a strong education.

“We are a better college today because of Dr. Olivarez’s leadership,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “I continue to see his influence on how we work with the people we serve, and with each other. He brought people together and made sure that we are truly the community’s college. That’s a legacy that he can be proud of, and that we can celebrate with this honor.”

After retiring from GRCC in 2008, Olivarez became president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, guiding the organization through an economic downturn by developing staff and creating programs with a focus on sustainability. He became Aquinas’ seventh president in 2011, working to increase academic and athletic opportunities for students. He retired from Aquinas last year.

Olivarez has served on many national and regional boards and committees, including the Van Andel Education Institute, First Steps Kent, the Council of Independent Colleges, Educational Testing Services, Higher Education Research & Development Institute as well as the National Institute for Literacy.

In 2013, GRCC trustees renamed Bostwick Commons, the courtyard connecting the Main and Student Center buildings, the Dr. Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza, citing his vision that all students may find success in and out of the classroom. He is the third GRCC president to receive the President Emeritus Award, following Richard W. Calkins and Steven C. Ender.

Olivarez will deliver his keynote address to graduates during GRCC’s commencement, which will take place at 7 p.m. April 27 in Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE.

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GRCC In the News, 4-9-18

Change Ups: Sultan snags LaughFest’s Best of Midwest title

April 6, 2018; Grand Rapids Business Journal

… Grand Rapids Community College trustees unanimously approved a 0.88 percent tuition increase for the 2018-19 academic year, the lowest increase in nearly two decades.

GVSU students push for emergency phones on campus

April 6, 2018; WOOD TV

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — You’ve likely seen them on various college campuses in West Michigan: blue light emergency call stations that can connect students in distress with the nearest police department.

They’re at Western Michigan University, Hope College, and even Grand Rapids Community College, among others. But you won’t find them at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Now, a group of students are trying to change that.

Hope College students start DACA scholarship

April 7, 2018; The Holland Sentinel

In October, Hope College students organized a march to support those in the rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

For some students, that march was only the beginning of activism supporting DACA recipients. Four Hope College students — Alejandra Gomez Limon, Emily Salazar, Jonathan Mays and Jocelyn Gallegos — have created a scholarship at Hope specifically for DACA students. Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College have similar scholarships.

GRCC In the News, 4-5-18

Retired GRCC professor recalls working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

April 4, 2018; WZZM

In the Spring of 1963, retired Grand Rapids Community College Professor Gertrude Croom was a 16 year old living in a very segregated Birmingham, Alabama.

Contractors earn national awards

April 4, 2018; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Two West Michigan construction firms were honored for their work at a national awards ceremony.

… Rockford’s (Rockford Construction) work on the Grand Rapids Community College Laboratory Preschool earned it the National Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award. The award honors both general and specialty contractors for innovative and high-quality merit shop construction projects.

College’s Latino business center wins grant

April 4, 2018; Grand Rapids Business Journal

A local foundation has donated a three-year grant valued at $150,000 to a university’s Latino business center.

… “The Grand Rapids Community Foundation grant will help fund programs that equip young Latino professionals with the skills, resources, and confidence needed to become leaders at work and in their own communities,” said Carlos Sanchez, the center’s (Latino Business and Economic Development Center) director and a foundation board member. “Our Latino entrepreneurs will be more prepared to launch and expand successful businesses and empowered to take ownership of their future.”

(This article doesn’t mention it, but Carlos Sanchez is a member of the GRCC board of trustees.)

GRCC In the News, 3-26-18

GRCC to host regional basketball tournament in 2019-20

March 26, 2018; MLive

Grand Rapids Community College will host the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XII basketball tournament in 2019 and 2020, the school announced.

Grand Rapids Community College Approves New Security System

March 24, 2018; U.S. News & World Report

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids Community College trustees have approved purchasing a new security system that officials say would let it start a lockdown with the press of a button.

Review: ‘Building the Wall’ starts a powerful, captivating conversation

March 24, 2018; Revue

A conversation was sparked after the first production of “Building the Wall” by playwright Robert Schenkkan premiered in Michigan last night. The 70-minute-play, directed by Carrie McNulty, has already sparked controversy and confusion in the city with its artwork of an angry Donald Trump on the poster. What’s important to be pointed out though, is that the Actors Theatre Grand Rapids production is less about Trump and more about the messages and ideologies that existed long before the last election.

… Last night, the audience talked with Michelle Urbane from Grand Rapids Community College and One World Diversity and Leslie Curry, a lawyer with Legal Aid of Western Michigan. Tonight, the audience will hear from a man from the GR Rapid Response to ICE, a group who aids immigrants who are at risk of deportation from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On Saturday, the audience will hear from Edye Evans Hyde from Grand Rapids black theater group Ebony Road Players.

Sparta softball team looks to have plenty of defense, depth this spring

March 23, 2018; MLive

SPARTA — Sparta softball Nicole Hutchens likes the potential of her team this season.

… Among the key seniors is pitcher Sarina Gerke, who is in her third varsity season. She was all-conference last season. Madison Marble is a returning senior outfielder who has signed to play at Grand Rapids Community College next season.

GRCC In the News, 3-22-18

Witnesses say mutual fight led to man’s death; mother in doubt

March 21, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — After almost a year of investigation, police and prosecutors found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the April 2017 death of a 25-year-old Grand Rapids man.

… (Julius Melvin) Vinson’s family described the 25-year-old as a “jokester” who was well-loved by his family and others. He studied business at Grand Rapids Community College, and wanted to be a real estate agent.

Grand Rapids Community College raises tuition $1

March 21, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College students will see their tuition increase by $1 this fall – the lowest hike in nearly two decades, officials say.

‘He’s a fighter’ 2-year-old diagnosed with rare Vanishing Bone disease

March 21, 2018; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An Ottawa County boy is battling a disease so rare, less than 300 cases have been reported in the entire world.

… Antonio (Aguillon) has been at the hospital nonstop, getting a lot of help from friends and family.  A coworker of his at Grand Rapids Community College started a GoFundMe page to help with the family’s medical expenses.

Collegiate Men’s Basketball: SUNY Ulster eliminated from national tourney with loss to Grand Rapids

March 21, 2018; Daily Freeman (Kingston, N.Y.)

DANVILLE, ILL. — SUNY Ulster was eliminated from the NJCAA Division 2 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday as Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan) held off the Senators 98-88.

Battle Creek’s Best Bracket – Today’s Boys Elite Eight Region

March 21, 2018; Battle Creek Enquirer

So your bracket is busted and you don’t have any reason to pay attention to March Madness any longer. Well, you are in luck.

… No. 3 Jeremiah Davis vs. No. 6: Khylen Watkins

No. 3: Jeremiah Davis Harper Creek Class of 2017: As a senior, Davis led Harper Creek in scoring with 18.9 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds a contest in his final year on a 15-9 team. He finished his career as a two-time All-City player and an honorable mention All-State selection. Davis played his freshman year at Grand Rapids Community College.

UIX: Offstage engineering makes a big difference in local music

March 22, 2018; rapidgrowthmedia.com

Making music takes talent. Making a record takes commitment. But making it all sound good, takes experience.

… A sound engineer of 25 years, and currently Associate Professor of Recording Technology at Grand Rapids Community College, (Tim) Heldt was working with cutting edge equipment that few outside of his profession could afford, or understand.

Southwest Michigan slates 2018 Chávez awards dinner

March 21, 2018; La Prensa

KALAMAZOO: Southwest Michigan will celebrate the life and work of civil rights leader César E. Chávez on Saturday, March 24, 2018 during an annual scholarship fundraising dinner that includes the presentation of regional awards and scholarships.

… He (Juan Olivarez) served as the seventh president of Aquinas College from 2011 to 2017 and eighth president of Grand Rapids Community College from 1999 to 2008. In addition, he was a GRCC dean for 20 years; president and CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation for three years; and a teacher, school psychologist and administrator with the Grand Rapids Public Schools system for many years.

Kent County considers early childhood tax for November ballot

March 21, 2018; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Early childhood education advocates in Kent County are once again working to place a county tax millage request on the ballot.

… There are also additional millages levied by the Kent Intermediate School District, Grand Rapids Community College, Kent District Library and the Inter Urban Transit Partnership — better known as The Rapid — and by local school districts and local units of government.

GRCC In the News, 3-21-18

GRCC’s tuition increase is the lowest in nearly 20 years

March 20, 2018; WZZM

Grand Rapids Community College trustees approved the lowest tuition increase in nearly two decades. For the 2018-2019 school year, there will be a 0.88 percent increase.

Ferris State tops Barry, moves to DII Final 4

March 20, 2018; WOOD TV

The Ferris State men’s basketball team is in the NCAA Division II Final Four.

… In other college action, Grand Rapids Community College fell to Danville in the National Junior College round of Sweet 16. GRCC lost to Danville 78-70.

Invitan a participar en Segunda Ceremonia Anual para Latinos Graduados de Colegios (Invitation to participate in second annual ceremony for Latino graduates)

March 20, 2018; La Prensa

LANSING, MI: La Comisión Hispana de Michigan (HLCOM, por sus siglas en inglés) invita a todos los estudiantes latinos de Michigan a participar en la Segunda Ceremonia Anual para Latinos Graduados de Colegios que se llevará a cabo el próximo 6 de abril [2018] de 6:00 a 9:00pm, en Lansing Center, número 333 avenida E Michigan, de esta ciudad. Estudiantes interesados en participar, favor de registrarse a más tardar el 31 de marzo en el siguiente link:

… Entre los registrados se encuentran graduados de licenciaturas y maestrías de las siguientes escuelas: Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Lake Michigan College, Michigan State University, Mott Community College, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Siena  Heights University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University y Western Michigan University.

(LANSING, MI: The Hispanic Commission of Michigan (HLCOM) invites all Latino students in Michigan to participate in the Second Annual Graduate Ceremony for Colleges that will be held on April 6 [2018] ] from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., at Lansing Center, 333 E Michigan Ave., of this city. Students interested in participating, please register by March 31 at the following link:

… Among those registered are graduates of bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the following schools: Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Lake Michigan College, Michigan State University, Mott Community College, Palmer College of Chiropractic, Siena Heights University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.)

Surprise proposal for former heroin user

March 20, 2018; WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kelly Galbraith thought marriage just wasn’t in the cards for her. She was wrong.

… Brandon Gerth had enlisted the station’s help to surprise Galbraith, a student at GRCC and peer support specialist at a rehab facility.

GRCC In the News, 3-19-18

Grand Rapids Community College rides momentum into national tournament

March 17, 2018; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — The Grand Rapid Community College men’s basketball team heads to the NJCAA national tournament winners of 8 of their last 9 including 2 wins over Ancilla college which has been ranked 1 or 2 in the country all season.

Change Ups: Jones receives honorary doctorate for improving cancer treatment

March 16, 2018; Grand Rapids Business Journal

… AWARDS

… Grand Rapids Community College and Spectrum Health honored the first students who received need-based Spectrum Health Care Professionals Education Scholarships. The 96 students are sophomores in GRCC’s Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant and Radiologic Technology programs. Scholarships ranged from $3,000-$4,000 with almost $350,000 awarded for 2017-18. Students in the Medical Assisting program will be eligible for the 2018-19 scholarships.

Carlos Sánchez lanza candidatura de GRCC

March 18, 2018; El Vocero

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN (EVH) .- Carlos Sánchez, director del Centro de Negocios y Desarrollo Económico Latino de Ferris State University, anunció su candidatura al consejo de administración de Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).

(GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN (EVH) .- Carlos Sanchez, director of the Center for Business and Latin Economic Development at Ferris State University, announced his candidacy to the board of directors of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).)

Arts briefs 3/19/18

March 19, 2018; The Lanthorn (GVSU student newspaper)

… GRCC to present the play ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’

From Thursday, March 29, to Saturday, March 31, Grand Rapids Community College will be presenting the play “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” by Sarah Ruhl. Ruhl, who is a MacArthur Fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist, set the comedy in a quiet cafe, where a constantly ringing cell phone forces a woman to confront her assumptions about mortality, redemption and technology.

Medical marijuana clinic rolls with changes

March 16, 2018; Grand Rapids Business Journal

With the possibility of Michiganders voting on marijuana legalization in November, a Grand Rapids-based clinic is keeping an eye on legislation that could affect its bottom line.

… (Paul) Farage and (Tony) Holmes knew each other from attending Grand Rapids Community College then Grand Rapids Junior College. They had stayed in touch off and on over the years, Farage living in Hawaii and California and Holmes in Chicago.

Poet David Cope to hold reading at Kentwood library

March 16, 2018; MLive

David Cope, former poet laureate of Grand Rapids, will read from his latest release, “The Invisible Keys,” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, at the Kentwood branch of the Kent District Library, 4950 Breton SE.

… Cope, a longtime Grand Rapids Community College professor and poet, was named Grand Rapids poet laureate by the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids in 2011.