Ferris State University Names Selected Finalist to Become 19th President

Bill Pink, Selected Finalist

Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously named Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College, as the selected finalist to become the 19th president of the university.

The announcement comes after a “comprehensive national search led by an advisory committee that included faculty, staff, student and community inclusion.”

Pink has served as Grand Rapids Community College’s president since May 2017, and has three-plus decades of experience as an educator, leader and active community member.

Before becoming president, Pink served Grand Rapids Community College as a vice president and dean.

During that time, Pink built west Michigan connections which include various service commitments to a wide range of boards and organizations inside and outside higher education in Grand Rapids, west Michigan, across the state and nationally.

Pink presently serves on the executive committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the board of trustees of the Higher Learning Commission. He also serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, Spectrum Health West Michigan, Heart of West Michigan United Way, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids and the American Association of Community Colleges.

In addition, Pink is the vice-chair of The Right Place, Economic Development and will become chair in 2024.

Officials say Pink holds education credentials such as a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Professional Education from Oklahoma Christian University, a Master of Education in Physical Education and Secondary Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Doctor in Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma in Instructional Leadership, Academic Curriculum.

The Ferris State Board of Trustees will officially vote on the next president at their regular meeting scheduled for Friday, May 6 in Big Rapids.

Officials say upon this confirmation, Pink will succeed current President David L. Eisler, who will retire on June 30 after serving as Ferris’ 18th President for 19 years.

Following the official vote by the Board of Trustees, Pink will start as president in July 2022.

“I am honored to be selected by the Ferris State University board. I have been familiar with the good work of FSU for years, as the partnership we have on our GRCC campus has provided a great pathway from associate to bachelor degree for many years,” Pink stated. “I will not attempt to fill the shoes of Dr. Eisler and the incredible work he has done for the university, the region, and our state. Instead, I’ll wear my own shoes in continuing to move Ferris forward. I am excited about the opportunity.”

“Ferris has been impacting our state for over 135 years, and will continue to do amazing things for our communities and the people who live here,” continued Pink. “I am honored to be selected to continue that work. We have a big job to do in higher education across our state and nation in helping our communities dig out of the pandemic’s effects. Ferris needs to be right in the middle of that work, and I look forward to leading the effort.”

“Dr. Pink is well known in the Grand Rapids area, but he is no stranger to the Ferris State University community. GRCC has partnered with Ferris on many classes. Students can get an associate degree with GRCC and a bachelor’s degree with Ferris in certain workforce-related programs without ever leaving the GRCC campus,” said Amna P. Seibold, chair of Ferris’ Board of Trustees. “Most importantly, Bill embraces the principles upon which Woodbridge Ferris founded our university. Ferris has always been ahead of the curve in providing hands-on education to our students, translating into great jobs. I look forward to having Bill lead our university into the future.”

“Bill brings great higher education experience and is a well-respected and engaged member of the Grand Rapids community and West Michigan region,” stated Ronald E. Snead, an alumnus of Ferris who is in his second appointment as a member of the Board of Trustees. “Beyond West Michigan, he has developed great contacts around the state of Michigan, including with Michigan’s community colleges through his work with the American Association of Community Colleges board and beyond. He has developed great experience during his career and is ready to come in and hit the ground running here at Ferris.”

“I was so impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and innovative ideas that Bill Pink brought to his interview and what he could bring to the presidency at Ferris State University,” Trustee George Heartwell, former mayor of Grand Rapids, said. “I saw what he did at GRCC and admired his efforts. I knew Bill as a community member who took his responsibility as a citizen and leader very seriously. I am also impressed with Dr. Pink’s commitment to economic and environmental sustainability while maintaining a laser focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.”

“Bill knows us, and he knows West Michigan,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair, Ana Ramirez-Saenz. “Bill is a great listener who wants to build relationships, first, and partnerships, second. He will work to build and strengthen those important relationships with our key constituents at Ferris State University. He is not someone who is going to rush to judgment. Bill is relationship-driven, and that goes with a great vision for where he wants Ferris to be in the future.”