August 16, 2022

Dr. Jean Pike was Devoted to Schoolcraft

Jean Pike

She served in many roles over 30 years at the College

Schoolcraft College’s great legacy is built on the contributions of its outstanding, faculty, staff and students. As part of an occasional series, we will look back at some of the people who have served our College in the highest manner. Today, we profile Dr. Jean Pike, who played an important role in the early days of Schoolcraft College and for many years afterward.

For more than 30 years, Dr. Jean Pike was an important part of the fabric of Schoolcraft College, serving a variety of roles supporting student success, including Assistant Dean of Students, the position she retired from in 1997. Dr. Pike passed away in January of this year at 87, but her legacy endures.

Dr. Pike was one of the first employees of Schoolcraft College. She started as a full-time counselor on August 24, 1964 – just one week before the first day of classes. From there, Dr. Pike moved to Director of Career Planning & Placement, then to Director of Counseling before becoming Assistant Dean of Students from July 1, 1982, until July 1, 1997.

Jean Pike receiving an award
Dr Jean Pike (center) was a vital part of Schoolcraft College for more than 30 years. Former President Dr. Conway Jeffress is at right.

Her contributions were many and varied during her career. Among the highlights and accomplishments noted in the Board of Trustees resolution on April 23, 1997, were:

  • Established the first Student Activities Office
  • Organized and established the Career Planning and Placement Center (now Career Services) with expanded services and resources for services
  • Coordinated the Counseling Center and Career Planning and Placement Center
  • Revised and expanded orientation and increased university contacts and articulation efforts
  • Received a Presidential Recognition Award in 1985
  • Helped forge the link between the College and the community by representing the College with chambers of commerce, the Livonia Civil Service, Michigan Employment Security Commission, Livonia Public Schools, and numerous state and community agencies

Jack Washka, Professor Emeritus, started at Schoolcraft College in 1967. He said his first contact with Dr. Pike likely was as the swimming and tennis coach, working with her and her office to make sure his student-athletes were staying on track academically. The next year, they had quite an adventure.

“The most fun Jean and I had in our early years together had to be our trip to New York City with the 1968 Schoolcraft College soccer team,” Professor Washka said. “This was to compete in the NJCAA championship. At this point in our lives, we were not much older than our team. Marv (Dr. Marvin Gans, Director of Athletics) had half the soccer team in one station wagon and Jean and myself, as a driver, in the second.

“What an amazing nightmare I had attempting to keep up with him in traffic I never knew existed! I clearly remember, in panic mode, switching lanes and riding on curbs to even stay close to him!

“It wasn’t until that evening when he told us that during his college days at New York City’s Hunter College he had been a New York City taxicab driver! And then he laughed.

“Jean and I got the picture and did not feel quite so bad about my driving skills. He had a way of smiling at us with a twinkle in his eye that let us know ‘All was well.’

Aged poster for "Hello Dolly" theatre production
Jack Washka, Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Jean Pike accompanied the men’s soccer team to New York in 1968 for the national tournament. While there, they enjoyed the stage production of “Hello, Dolly!” starring Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway.

“Besides all the excitement of the national championship was our opportunity to attend “Hello Dolly” on stage at the St. James Theatre starring Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway. The evening was filled with fun and excitement as only New York City can provide.

“Jean and I always remained close friends. This friendship grew even stronger during her years at Fox Run (senior living community) and our time together on the Retirees Committee. I always found Jean to be so charming and charismatic at all times.”

As a side note, Schoolcraft College defeated Marinette (Wisconsin) 3-0 in the quarterfinals, then lost to eventual national champion Mercer County (New Jersey) 4-0 in the semifinals and lost to SUNY Canton (New York) 4-0 in the third-place match.

Dr. Pike’s legacy continues to help students through the Jean E. Pike Scholarship Endowment Fund, which she started in 2015 with an initial donation of $25,000 to the Schoolcraft College Foundation. 

The Jean E. Pike Scholarship provides financial support for students who are pursuing studies at Schoolcraft College and are enrolled in a degree program. Applicants must be enrolled full-time and have a cumulative college GPA of 3.0 to be considered. Scholarship funds are available for tuition, fees, lab fees and textbooks. Up to $1,250 per semester can be awarded.

“Jean was very smart and very kind and generous,” Professor Washka said. “Witty, always fun to be around. I never saw her when she wasn’t happy. She was just great to be with.”

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