After graduating from Ferris’
College of Business in 1987
with a Bachelor of Science in
Business, Recco Richardson
went on to earn a Master of Arts
in Counseling Education from
Central Michigan University
and a doctorate in Professional
Psychology from Walden
University. A board-certified
professional counselor, he
specializes in the treatment
of children, adolescents and
adults for such issues as
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder, academic problems, anger and anxiety, bipolar disorder and
depression. He recently spoke with
about how his
experience at Ferris helped him go on to make a positive impact on
the lives of others.
: What originally brought you to Ferris?
: Leaving my hometown, Flint, for studies at Ferris
State University wasn’t necessarily a natural progression for me.
According to my ACT score of 12, high school GPA of 2.5, my having
been raised in a single parent home and other statistics, I had very
little chance of succeeding at Ferris or any other college. Ferris was
the only college that accepted me for enrollment. Little did I know
then that a new world of cultural differences, commitment, academic
excellence and a host of formal and informal mentors awaited my
: How did Ferris help you?
: As I look back, I would say a critical aspect of my experience
at Ferris, and one that still influences me, was the opportunity to
that I had to explore, be creative and provide leadership on campus.
Prior to enrolling at Ferris, I wasn’t necessarily a follower or the most
likely to succeed. My involvement on campus with various student
organizations, such as Youth Ambassadors for Christ, Inner Varsity
and the Public Relations Student Society of America, and several
campus tasks forces and initiatives sparked my interests in serving
others, developing programs and promoting what is now called
: How are you using that lesson and creating social change
through your work now?
: Today, I experience great joy and satisfaction in my counseling
private practice. Through my weekly individual or family counseling
sessions, regular prevention and intervention programs, scholarly
article writing, adjunct teaching duties at local colleges, community
involvement and various training programs, I’m led to believe that I’m
making a difference in the lives of others.
: You work in the Flint area, primarily with young persons from
dysfunctional families. What types of issues do they face?
: After 25 years of service in the health and human services field,
I’m finding that more and more young people – even those who are
not from dysfunctional families — are facing identity problems, intense
anger, lack of purpose or future goals, inadequate interpersonal skills,
levels of depression, and the like.
: What are some of the challenges faced by these students?
: I think it is safe to say that, in six out of 10 communities, students
are not at grade level, academically. I have served on the school
board of two prominent school systems and regularly reviewed the
local Intermediate School Districts’ reports on MEAP, ACT and annual
yearly academic growth of students from every district (21, in all) in our
county. There is not much difference between the outcomes of rural,
urban and inner-city youth.
Specifically, today’s students tend to not be at grade level in reading
and math. It is common for an eighth-grade student to read at the
fifth-grade level. Failure to be at grade level can cause students to
Q&A with Alumnus Recco Santee Richardson