President's Message to Campus - December 14, 2018

Commencement

Tomorrow we celebrate the graduation of nearly 1,000 students, many of whom are walking at commencement. The College of Business and College of Health Professions ceremonies begin at 10 a.m., with the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, College of Engineering Technology and Doctorate in Community College Leadership ceremonies following at 1:30 p.m. For those who are interested in but unable to attend commencement, the ceremonies will be streamed live courtesy of Ferris Cable 22. At each ceremony, I will share the stories of graduates who have overcome obstacles and persevered despite the challenges before them. Their stories are inspiring and are wonderful examples of how lives are changed at Ferris. If you would like to read about these graduates, their stories will be posted on our website after commencement.

I want to thank everyone who works so very hard to make commencement a memorable and special experience for our students. As graduation represents the final moment of the academic year for our graduates, it is my hope this is a moment they will remember and cherish. For them it has taken much hard work and sacrifice to get to this day. If you know a graduating student, please congratulate him or her on this achievement.

Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees are on campus this afternoon for their committee and regular board meetings. Today will be the final meeting for two of our trustees, Paul Boyer and Gary Granger. Dr. Boyer was appointed to an eight-year term in 2011 by Gov. Snyder and has served the past four years as board chair. He is also a member of our campaign cabinet for the Now and Always Comprehensive Campaign. Mr. Granger was appointed in 2001 by Gov. Engler and then reappointed by Governor Snyder in 2011. Having served on the Board of Trustees for 16 years, he is the immediate past chair of the Board. He currently serves as chair of The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors and co-chairs our campaign cabinet for the Now and Always Comprehensive Campaign. Both of these men have provided invaluable service to the University, have been great leaders on the Board, and I thank them both for their dedication and commitment to guiding our work at Ferris State University.

Community Outreach/Holiday Giving

This fall, with funding from the Frey Foundation, the Michigan College of Optometry partnered with the Mesick Lions Club and several local schools to provide eye examinations to 58 elementary school students. This included providing, at no charge, prescription eye glasses, in addition to medical diagnoses and referrals for additional follow-up care. More than half of the students examined received eye glasses, and for nearly half of the students, it was their very first eye exam. Thank you to Sarah Hinkley, MCO faculty and the Students in Need of Eyecare program for providing this much needed se

Throughout the semester our students, faculty and staff organized and participated in many fundraisers in support of various organizations and agencies. Some of these include our local and campus food pantries, The Salvation Army, WISE, Our Brother’s Keeper and more. Thank you to everyone who participated in these opportunities to help those in need. We have a very giving community here at Ferris, and your generosity makes an important difference for families at this time of year. Thank you so very much.

As we have done for many years, the University participates in the annual local United Way campaign. Monies raised go to support non-profit agencies in Mecosta and Osceola Counties that provide basic needs support, in addition to helping at-risk youth. We have currently reached 84 percent of our $60,000 fundraising goal. Many departments across campus hosted bake sales, silent auctions, chili cook-offs, the holiday auction and more. Our students collected cans and bottles, and held other fundraisers to support this worthwhile cause. There is still time to donate to the United Way, if you have not done so already. To learn more about how you can contribute, contact Linda Telfer or Jeanine Ward-Roof for more information.

Distinguished Staff/Team Award

Our Distinguished Staff and Distinguished Team Award Committee is looking for individuals and teams that excel in their work duties, have a positive attitude, participate as members of the University community and serve others. These awards provide an opportunity for an individual or team to be publicly recognized for their efforts and hard work, and for making a difference in the lives of those around them. Distinguished Staff awardees receive an individual plaque and a one-time cash award of $500. Team award winners receive a one-time equipment allocation of $1,500 to their department.

If you know someone who has demonstrated exemplary service to Ferris and his or her profession, or if you think a team of individuals deserve this recognition, I encourage you to consider a nomination. Nomination criteria are available online. If you have questions, please contact Elise Gramza for more information.

Athletics

Last Saturday was a special, memorable day as our football team defeated Minnesota State University – Mankato in the NCAA Division II Semifinals. This was a great game with two terrific, undefeated teams that played under true wintry weather conditions, 27 degrees with some wind, on a frozen turf field.

The game was close fought with Minnesota State Mankato taking an early lead. Ferris finished the first half with a 21-19 lead. The critical series was three minutes into the fourth quarter, when our team next executed a true championship drive, going 73 tough yards in 13 plays, mostly on the ground, using seven minutes on the clock. On the next possession we stripped the ball from the quarterback on the first play. We recovered and ran it in on our first play for our 6th touchdown and a final score of 42-25. Highlights from the game are accessible here.

Tomorrow our football team makes its first-ever NCAA Division II national championship game appearance. The Bulldogs take on Valdosta State (Ga.) at McKinney ISD Stadium in McKinney, Texas. Both teams are undefeated with Valdosta at 14-0 and Ferris at 15-0. Valdosta was the top seed for the semifinals. Kick-off is at 4 p.m. (ET), and the game will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3, in addition to broadcast live on local station Sunny 97.3 with our own veteran broadcasters Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston.

The Athletic Department and Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services have done a tremendous job organizing five buses filled with fans, athletes, and the cheer squad and pep band, to make the long trip to Texas. It is reported that we have sold nearly 1,000 tickets for the contest. How exciting it is to see the amount of support for our team from our students, faculty, staff and community members. Thank you to everyone who has played a role in organizing the buses, arranging the pre- and post-game receptions, and ensuring our team has the best fan support possible for this very exciting moment in Ferris history.

Congratulations to head coach Tony Annese, his coaching staff and our team for reaching this pinnacle of success, and to Coach Annese on achieving his 300th win last weekend against Minnesota State. This week quarterback Jayru Campbell was named the Ron Lenz National Offensive Player of the Year, in addition to being chosen for the Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-America team, together with offensive tackle Devon Johnson, defensive back Delon Stephenson, and offensive guard Nic Sawyer, who is a secondteam All-American. Congratulations to these players on their selection as All-Americans.

We are so very proud of our team and coaches, of their success this season, and of the attention and national recognition they have brought to our University. We know they will do their best, and we believe in their skill and commitment.

I wish safe travels to everyone heading to Texas. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

Happy Holidays

With the residence halls closed tomorrow, the campus will be quieter as we prepare to close for the holiday break at the end of business on Friday, Dec. 21. While students will not be on campus, it is exciting to see that 110 students have registered for the new “Wintermester” that begins on Monday and runs through January 11, 2019. This was designed to give students the opportunity to take online courses with the same quality and rigor of a traditional semester course during an alternative time frame. I very much appreciate the hard work and time put in by our faculty and staff to provide this unique opportunity for our students, especially during this time of year.

We are fortunate to work at a university where everyone can enjoy the period between Christmas and New Years with friends and family. I wish everyone the happiest of holidays and look forward to working with you in 2019.

David L. Eisler, president