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Bill Pink Officially, Unanimously Voted as Next President of Ferris State University

PhotoBill Pink, currently the president of Grand Rapids Community College, has officially and unanimously been voted as the next president of Ferris State University. The board's vote occurred during its regular meeting on Friday, May 6, before commencement. Bill, middle, is shown here with his wife, Lori, right, and his daughter, Lydia, left. This is a file photo from March 28, 2022.

Ferris State University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to name Bill Pink as its 19th and next president during official action at its regularly-scheduled board meeting on Friday, May 6, in Big Rapids.

Pink, currently the president of Grand Rapids Community College, will become the first African-American president in Ferris’ 138-year history after previously becoming GRCC’s first African American president in its 100-plus-year history in May 2017. Following the trustees’ official vote, Pink expressed gratitude in the confidence the board has placed in him to become the university’s next president, following in the footsteps of David L. Eisler, the current president, who is retiring after serving 19 years of leadership at Ferris.

“I am grateful to the Board of Trustees for the honor they have given me and the confidence they have in me to become the next president of Ferris State University,” Pink said. “Ferris has a long and proud tradition in higher education that extends more than 135 years. Ferris embodies its core values of collaboration, diversity, ethical community, excellence, learning and opportunity. These foundational principles will be at the heart of the work we continue to do moving Ferris forward. I also thank Dr. David Eisler for his many years of guiding the university.”

Board of Trustees Chair Amna Seibold, on behalf of her fellow trustees, announced Pink as the selected finalist to become the next Ferris president on Monday, March 28. That announcement capped a comprehensive national search with input from a search advisory committee that included participation from students, alumni, faculty, staff, the community and the trustees. Seibold has high praise for Pink, who will officially assume the presidency on Monday, July 11.

“Today’s vote by the Board of Trustees reaffirms the confidence we have in Dr. Pink as he is now officially the next president of Ferris State University,” Seibold said. “While there is significant work ahead, we’re united in our confidence in Dr. Pink as the right person to take on the challenge of leading Ferris into the future.”

The search for Ferris’ next president started in 2021, aided by the efforts of the 25-member search advisory committee. The executive search firm, WittKieffer, assisted the trustees and the search advisory committee before the trustees made the final decision.

With the process now completed, Pink looks forward to the work ahead as he prepares to step in as Ferris’ next president.

“When I was named the selected finalist in March, I was overwhelmed by so many warm welcomes and well wishes that have made me and my family all the more excited to join the Ferris State community,” Pink said. Bill and his wife, Lori, have two children, Lance and Lydia. Lance is married to his wife, Kayla, and they have a son, Nate. “I very much look forward to meeting with our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members and talking more about how together we can build upon the impactful work and momentum at Ferris and take the university to new heights.”

Pink’s salary will be $425,000.

The trustees also approved retiring President Eisler’s request to return to Ferris as a faculty member following an approved administrative sabbatical leave for the 2022-23 academic year.

In other May 6 action, the trustees approved:

  • phase IV of the Capital Renewal and Deferred Maintenance plan to continue addressing the needs of Ferris buildings in Big Rapids and Grand Rapids that comprise more than four million square feet. This five-year plan, from FY23-FY27, includes items such as electrical, elevators, HVAC, plumbing, roofing and more at a cost not to exceed $12.5 million

  • a preliminary 2022-23 housing and dining budget of $29 million

  • 12 appointments or reappointments to the boards of directors of FSU-authorized charter school academies, amended language to change the required number of charter school board members from seven to five with now three members required for quorum, changing the name of Conner Creek Academy East School District to Michigan Collegiate, effective immediately and an address change for Huron Academy Elementary School reflecting its move from Sterling Heights to Clinton Township

  • a payment to the County of Mecosta Drain Commissioner for the Ives drain watershed and Ives drain outlet improvements for Ferris’ fair share, $1,400,000

  • recognition of the COVID-19 Re-entry Committee members for their work in shaping the university’s response to the pandemic

The current trustees are chair Amna P. Seibold, of East Grand Rapids; vice-chair Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz, of Caledonia; secretary Rupesh K. Srivastava, of Wixom; member-at-large LaShanda R. Thomas, of Grosse Pointe; George K. Heartwell, of Newaygo; Kurt A. Hofman, of Grand Rapids; and Ronald E. Snead, of Stanwood.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Trustees is Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, in Grand Rapids. Committee meetings begin at 10 a.m. followed by the full board meeting at 11 a.m.