President's Message to Campus - December 7, 2018


Commencement will take place on Saturday, Dec. 15, inside Ewigleben Sports Complex. 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.

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to personally meet with several of our students who are graduating. It is humbling to listen to their stories and to learn how their experience at Ferris has changed their lives. In this I hear about the faculty and staff who have made an indelible impression on them and of the family members who have supported them. Thank you to everyone who has played a role in helping our students reach this milestone. I look forward to sharing their stories at commencement. If you know of a student who is graduating next week, please take a few moments to congratulate him or her. For many, it has taken much effort and sacrifice to get to this very special day.

As we approach Commencement, I want to thank the many people who are working very hard to ensure this is a special and positive experience for our graduates, their families and friends. If you have never been to a commencement ceremony at Ferris and would like to attend, please call our office at ext. 2500.

Good News

As we bring this semester to a close, members of the Ferris community continue to be actively involved in academic conferences and outreach, and doing many good works for and with our students. Below is just a sampling of this month’s Good News. Thank you for sharing these items. I encourage you to read the complete Good News listing when you have a few moments.

  • Christine Vonder Haar received the 2018 Charles Carpenter Fries Award from the Michigan Council of Teachers of English.
  • Catherine Bordeau presented “Applying Research on Inquiry-Based Learning to Honors Contracts” at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Boston.
  • Derek Drake and student Paige Brady presented “Making the Connections: Motivations and Attitudes in the Foreign Language Classroom" and Dan Noren, Ana Davila-Howard, Eric Warner and Derek Drake presented "Study Abroad Programs: Interculturality at the Grassroots Level" at the Michigan World Language Association Conference.
  • Deirdre Fagan presented “Writing to Examine, Writing to Resist: Political Illuminations through Poetry and Fiction” at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference in Alabama.
  • Carrie Thompson, Janet Vizina-Roubal and Mike Berghoef presented “Keeping IPE in Focus: A Unique Collaboration between Social Work and Optometry” and Mike Berghoef presented “Applying a Rights-Based Approach to Short-Term Study Abroad and Service Learning Trips” at the Council on Social Work Education in Florida.
  • Mike Berghoef was elected to serve as a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Phi Alpha International Honor Society for Social Work.
  • The seniors of the Graphic Design program are hard at work in the Design Project Center (DPC), the design studio within the College of Business. Read more about how the DPC provides seniors with actual client work and real-life experiences.
  • Donna Green presented at the Marketing Management Association Conference and received their Teaching Excellence Award. She has also been invited by the Higher Learning Commission to become a team chair for HLC visits.
  • The School of Digital Media received a grant for the purchase of a new video editing server from the Higher Education Television Authority.
  • Nick Pattison and David Baker gave interactive presentations, answered questions and helped 7th - 9th graders from Grand Rapids City Middle/High School see how Ferris can help them launch careers in the game industry at the school’s “Reverse Job Shadow” event.
  • The School of Digital Media and the RSO, Media Communication Association, hosted a video conference with World of Warcraft artists from Blizzard. Over 100 students interacted with the artists, discussing what they do, what is on their business campus, and what they look for in future employees.
  • The School of Digital Media hosted two VR/AR Professors from the University of Saxion, The Netherlands. The faculty attended many DAGD & TDMP classes and presented three VR/AR sessions to students.
  • Jeff Bean is an advisor for the New Evolution Educational Center, a Flint-based project modeled after the Freedom Schools of the 50s and 60s in Southern America. Kristy Motz was a Michigan representative to the Open Educational Resources Policy & Implementation Summit for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact held in Chicago.
  • Dejah Rubel led a hands-on session at the Library Information Technology Association Forum entitled “KML for Dummies: Using Excel, Earth Point, and Notepad++ to Create Google Earth Visualizations of Geographic Data Encoded in Catalog Records.”
  • Kendall hosted the National Council of Arts Administrators conference with faculty and alumni presenting in several discussion panels.
  • Jonathan Moroney was a featured presenter at “Design Thinking for Small Businesses & Nonprofits,” an event held by the Grand Rapids Chamber as part of its “Small Business Series.”
  • Under the direction of Susan Bonner, and in collaboration with Open Systems Technologies, Digital Art and Design students created Miner Madness, an educational board game that won the Student Game Award at the Meaningful Play conference.
  • Tatsuki Hakoyama ('14, MFA) held a solo exhibition, The Space Between, at the Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery.
  • Dustin Farnsworth (’10, BFA Sculpture and Functional Art) is currently one of four artists featured in the exhibition Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018, held at Renwick Gallery inside the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
  • The Students in Need of Eyecare program examined 58 children lacking access to eye care and is providing glasses to those who need them at no cost through a Frey Foundation grant.
  • Sara Bush published an article in the journal Vision Development and Rehabilitation titled, “Screen Time in the Pediatric Population: A Review of its Effects on Refractive Error, Attention and Learning, and Ocular Health.”
  • Alison Jenerou, Avesh Raghunandan, and Sara Bush published an article in the journal Vision Development and Rehabilitation titled “Divided Visual Attention Performance of Ice Hockey Players with History of Concussion.”
  • Optometry was well represented at the American Academy of Optometry in San Antonio, with more than 15 faculty and students presenting lectures, posters and papers, with Daniel Taylor receiving the Diplomate in Optometric Education.
  • 186 students, faculty and staff attended the “First Generation College Student Celebration.”
  • The Ferris Grand Rapids office hosted their Annual Friendsgiving Potluck with more than 50 students attending this Thanksgiving lunch.
  • During the Foundation Benefit for Excellence dinner, Gold sponsor Optio Data and Ferris IT representatives discussed enhancing their strategic partnership to include working with the College of Business on hiring graduating students, potential internships and opportunities for CIS/CIT students to tour Optio Data’s headquarters.
  • Southwest Michigan College visited Ferris to learn more about our Service Desk, Enterprise Services, and Cyber Security and to discover best practices.
  • ITS created a passphrase infographic to help illustrate the importance of maintaining secure access for user accounts.
  • More than 300 people attended the ACE Women's Network of Michigan Women of Color Collaborative Luncheon hosted at the University, with FSU Board of Trustees member Ana L. Ramirez-Saenz delivering the keynote address.
  • Franklin Hughes presented on early African American students at Ferris at the District IV Pharmacy Meeting Lunch in Grand Rapids.
  • Tracy Nichols Bush discussed America’s role in WWI at the Veteran’s Day Concert and spoke of the Harlem Hellfighters, which included FSU alumnus Percy Fitzgerald.
  • Kemi Fadayomi received the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education award from the Michigan American Council on Education Women’s Network.
  • Kylie Piette joined Interim Title IX Coordinator, Joy Pufhal, in co-presenting “Title IX Responsible Employee Training” through the Staff Center for Training and Development.
  • Ferris State University, through a multidisciplinary team submission, was awarded $39,675 by the Michigan’s Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program to assist in building campus-wide anti-violence work, utilizing peer education, and bystander intervention.
  • There are two newly approved Registered Student Organizations: Bulldog Mixed Martial Arts and Club Swim Team.
  • The Fall 2018 Dawg Days season was larger than any previous Fall Dawg Day season with 454 students attending and a total of 1099 with guests. The November 10 Dawg Day was the largest attendance for this season (182 students, 428 total) making it one of the top 3 largest. The largest was November 12, 2016 with 456 total attendees, 187 students.
  • The recruitment team participated in Decision Day events in Detroit and Grand Rapids where a total of 139 new Bulldogs were admitted for Fall 2019.
  • At the 20th annual Ferris Foundation for Excellence Benefit, Shelly Pearcy announced that the campaign goal will be increased to $115 million and the timeframe extended through June 30, 2022.
  • HNI Risk Advisors, Mercantile Bank, Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Community College became the first to sponsor the 2019 Growing Opportunity: A Partner Celebration on May 15, 2019 in Grand Rapids.
  • The Alumni Association partnered with the Detroit Red Wings to host the first Alumni and Friends night at Little Caesars Arena in November, with more than 600 total packages sold resulting in a gift of $3,150 from fans toward the Alumni Legacy Endowment.
  • Anne Hogenson, Ted Halm and Jeremy Mishler launched a digital marketing campaign designed to increase student enrollment in three specific academic programs. The website for the campaign promotes our free admissions application, overall value, expert faculty, advanced instructional resources and supportive academic environment.


Saturday our men’s football team dominated Ouachita Baptist in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals. Ouachita had what was considered the top defense in Division II. This season they had held opponents to 9.4 points per contest. They had not allowed multiple touchdowns at home this season and it had been nearly two months since they gave up multiple touchdowns in a game. At home they had outscored opponents 218-32 this season. It was a very different story last weekend. Our men scored four touchdowns in the first half to lead 27-0 at halftime. They continued to control the tempo in the second half, scoring 10 points to Ouachita’s 14 (their 2 nd touchdown was scored with 12 seconds remaining), and with liberal substitutions. Ferris had 509 yards in total offense and did not turn the ball over. On defense they blocked a point and intercepted a pass, both leading to touchdowns in the second quarter when we scored 20 points.

With the win, our team advances to the National Semifinal game against Minnesota State tomorrow in Mankato. Kick-off for Saturday’s semifinal game is at 3 p.m. eastern. The game will be streamed online by ESPN3 and, in addition to being aired by local radio station Sunny 97.3.

This is the second time in three years our team has reached the national semifinals. Over this same period, we are also the only team in the nation to reach the national quarterfinals three years in a row. Thank you to all of the students and fans who are heading to Minnesota supporting our team. From all of us at Ferris State University, we wish the coaches and student-athletes the very best! Go Bulldogs!

This week two football standouts were selected to the 2018 American Football Coaches Association Division II All-America Team. Junior quarterback Jayru Campbell received All-America First Team recognition with senior offensive tackle Devon Johnson receiving All-America Second Team recognition. It marks the second consecutive year the Bulldogs have had two representatives on the coaches' All-America listing.

Our women's soccer team earned its highest national ranking in school history from the United Soccer Coaches Poll by coming in at 10th in this season's final poll. The team’s overall record of 17-4-3 was the best in school history.

Men’s and women's cross country each had a runner compete in the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships on Saturday in Pittsburgh. Senior Damien Halverson placed 185th overall in the men's 10K race. Junior Katie Etelamaki placed 16th overall in the women's 6K and was named an All-American. Both student-athletes were competing in the National Championships for their first time. It also represented the first time in which our men’s and women’s teams each had an individual runner compete in the same championship.

Yesterday the women’s and men’s basketball team played Northwood at home with both teams claiming a victory, 76-63 and 97-78 respectively. Tomorrow the women play again at 1 p.m. and the men at 3 p.m. against Saginaw Valley inside Wink Arena. As part of Saturday's action, the men's team will hold a Basketball Alumni Reunion with all former players invited back to attend the game. They will be honored at halftime and have the opportunity to get their photo taken with the national championship trophy.

The hockey team plays their final two home games this weekend against Bowling Green, with the puck dropping both tonight and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. Saturday’s game will support The Salvation Army of Big Rapids and includes their annual Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to throw a new or slightly used teddy bear onto the ice at the first intermission to donate to kids in need during the holiday season. The Salvation Army will also be ringing the bells to raise money for those in need.

We are so proud of our student-athletes and all they have accomplished this season. Thank you to all of the coaches and athletics staff for guiding these students and leading them to success.

Holiday Wishes

The University will be closing for the holiday break at the end of business on Friday, Dec. 21, and re-opening on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. It is my hope that you have a wonderful holiday break. Safe travels if you are visiting family and friends, or just getting away for some rest and rejuvenation. Thank you for all of your hard work this year and for all you do for our students. I look forward to working with you in 2019.

David L. Eisler, president