Juan Olivarez became the seventh president of Aquinas College on July 1, 2011. Previously he served as the president/CEO of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation from
July 2008 through June 2011 and as president of Grand Rapids Community
College from 1999 through June 2008. He holds a doctorate in family and child
ecology from Michigan State University, a master's degree in educational psychology from Wayne State University, and a bachelor's degree from Aquinas
A native of Benavides, Texas, Olivarez and his family moved to East Chicago,
Ind., where his father and uncle worked in the steel mills of Gary. In 1967 he
arrived in Grand Rapids to attend Aquinas College. His career in education
began in 1971 when he was hired by Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) to
teach first grade, becoming one of the first bilingual teachers in the district.
Olivarez worked for GRPS for 20 years.