Ferris State University President Bill Pink (middle) received the “Role Model Education
Award” from the Greater Grand Rapids Branch of the NAACP, on Friday, Oct. 21 at the
JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.
GRAND RAPIDS – Ferris State University President Bill Pink received the “Role Model Education Award” during the 56th Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Gala and Awards ceremony, hosted by the Greater Grand Rapids Branch of the NAACP, on Friday, Oct. 21 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.
Pink, who is in his first year as Ferris’ 19th president after serving as the president of Grand Rapids Community College, was cited for his community impact. The “Role Model Education Award” is presented to a “well-respected individual, who others want to emulate.” In consultation with the vice presidents, the NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch president selects the recipient and acknowledges the “dedication and long-term impact of an individual or organization’s work.”
“I am humbled to be recognized by the Greater Grand Rapids chapter of the NAACP,” said Pink, who remains involved with various Grand Rapids and West Michigan organizations. “As educators and as adults, we have opportunities to positively impact the lives of young people who come to us from a diverse range of backgrounds. With opportunities to influence come great responsibility. This is at the heart of our work at Ferris State University. It is my privilege to lead these efforts.”
The keynote speaker for the late-October event is Karen Boykin-Towns, vice-chair of the National NAACP Board of Directors, who will speak to the event’s theme, “Imagine.”
Cle Jackson, president of the NAACP’s Greater Grand Rapids Branch, saluted Pink’s advocacy for and commitment to breaking down barriers young people face in education and on the path to career success.
“Dr. Pink, current president of Ferris University, has a passion for creating a path for all persons to receive an education. He started, supported, championed projects and initiatives to create programs for everyone, no matter their age, interests, income and access – removing barriers and innovation is his thing,” Jackson said. “With that, it’s clear why the Role Model Education Award, which is given to well-respected and admired individual who has qualities and values that reflect a state of excellence, is being given to Dr. Bill Pink. He is a husband, father, and preacher whenever he has a microphone in his hands.”
Jackson further noted Pink’s service in various areas, such as nonprofit and workforce development, in addition to his contributions to the launch of the GR Promise Zone scholarships, which he cited as “a game-changer for our community.”
Pink added, “I am grateful to President Jackson and the outstanding administrative team of the Greater Grand Rapids chapter of the NAACP. Their advocacy and everyday work truly make a difference in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.”