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My Town: Aquinas College president elected to national board of directors | People

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My Town: Aquinas College president elected to national board of directors
People, Schools
My Town: Aquinas College president elected to national board of directors

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Dr. Juan Olivarez, president of Aquinas College, has been elected to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) Board of Directors. CIC is the only national organization that focuses solely on providing services and a broad range of initiatives directly to independent colleges and universities to help improve the quality of education and strengthen institutional resources.

“The council is pleased to have Dr. Juan Olivarez as a board member,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “CIC continues to implement many exciting new programs, projects, and services, and needs a strong board of directors to oversee their planning and execution. I am certain that Dr. Olivarez will serve the council admirably and look forward to working with him.”

While working with CIC, Olivarez and the board will work on advancing the agenda for the future of independent higher education, participate in the development of future leaders, create programs for the development of quality and practice, and advocate for underrepresented students in independent colleges and universities.

“It’s an honor to serve on the Council of Independent College board,” said Olivarez. “Over the last several years, I’ve worked with the CIC to focus on improving higher education at independent colleges and universities from Aquinas’ prospective. Now, with my expanded role, I will be able to help guide the organization on a number of strategic initiatives that will advance higher education.”

Before becoming president of Aquinas College in 2011, Olivarez held leadership positions at Grand Rapids Public Schools for more than 11 years, and Grand Rapids Community College for more than 20 years. Through the years, he has also volunteered his time on a number of local, state and national boards and committees, including the National Institute for Literacy, Higher Education Research and Development Institute, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Michigan’s Colleges Alliance, and Van Andel Education Institute.

Olivarez graduated from Aquinas College with a bachelor’s degree, Wayne State University with a master’s degree in educational psychology, and Michigan State University with a doctorate in family and child ecology. Olivarez has received a number of awards and recognitions for his work and leadership in the fields of education and leadership, including the Champion of Literacy Award from the Literacy Center of West Michigan, Exemplary Leadership Award from Junior Achievement Worldwide, Educational Excellence Award from MSU’s School of Education, and Excellence Award from the Hispanic Center of West Michigan. He has also been recognized nationally by the National Community Leadership Association, Executive Leadership Institute, and National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.

The election was held during a meeting of the board of directors at CIC’s 2015 Presidents Institute in San Diego, California in January 2015. President Olivarez will serve a three-year term from January 2015 to January 2018.


About Aquinas College: Aquinas is a Catholic Liberal Arts College founded in 1886 by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids. The wooded, 117-acre campus is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With over 2,300 students and 60 academic programs, Aquinas College is an inclusive educational community that emphasizes career preparation, leadership, service to others and lifelong learning. www.aquinas.edu

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 750 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conference of college and university presidents. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.cic.edu

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