Sports Communication Speaker Series featuring Ferris Alumni

Ira ChildressTwo Ferris State University graduates will speak about their achievements in the sports industry to students in the school’s newly-created Sports Communication course.

On Wednesday March 23, in the Interdisciplinary Resource Center Room 115, Askia Allison, international kickboxing champion and coach, will be the featured speaker. Allison, a native of Detroit, is a 1999 graduate of Ferris.

On Monday, March 28, 2003 Ferris graduate Ira Childress, a Baldwin native and NCAA Assistant Director of Leadership Development, will be the featured presenter. The Childress talk will be held in Room 111 of the College of Business.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to know that graduates from our program find successful careers they love. Their willingness to give back by coming to speak to my class this semester shows that we have built good relationships during their careers here,” said Sandra Alspach, a professor of Communication at Ferris. “The students can see that graduates of Ferris can enter their desired career field and succeed.”

Alspach appreciates the unique perspective alumni bring as they return to campus to speak to classes of current students.

“I can invite any sports professional to come to class; but when it’s a Ferris grad, and one from my Communication program, it’s even better,” she said. “When we let alumni tell the Ferris story, students are more willing to believe.”

Following Allison and Childress, Grand Rapids Press sports editor Mary Ullmer will speak to the class on Wednesday, March 30 in IRC Room 115.

Ferris’ Spring 2011 Sports Communication course examines how participants and observers of sports communicate. As part of their work, students of the course and the academic minor break down how the sports industry has evolved and how it grows as a cultural phenomenon. Students study how sports organizations function through the integration of athletes, managers and audiences through communication.

The 300-level class, the capstone course for the Sports Communication minor, meets Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. in IRC Room 115.

For more information about the speakers or Sports Communication, contact Sandy Alspach at (231) 591-2779 or at These events are free and open to the public but seating is limited.

22 March, 2011