President's Message to Campus - April 26, 2019

This is a time of considerable activity on campus as we enter the final week of classes. With spring touching this part of Michigan, I enjoy walking on campus, observing and talking with students. Over the course of the year we have become their home, and the friendships and relationships they have developed are easy to observe. This can also be a period of considerable pressure and anxiety for students as the semester rushes toward conclusion. If you see a student who is struggling, please take a moment to visit with them. Kind and thoughtful words of support can sometimes make an important difference.

For some students, these will be their final class sessions as they prepare for May’s commencement activities. For others this is an opportunity to connect with classmates and friends before returning home for the summer. There are numerous celebratory events when we recognize excellence, extraordinary achievement or special service.

Over the past weeks I have had the opportunity to visit with students who are graduating and hear their stories, some of which I will be sharing at commencement. These are extraordinary students – some overcome challenges, some have made this journey with little or no family support, others are on a life trajectory that is now far beyond their initial expectations. It is profound how their lives have changed since they first arrived on our campus. It is humbling to hear of their accomplishments and their gratitude for the support they have received from you, our faculty and staff. With your help, their lives are transformed.

Over the next two weeks there are many events taking place on campus. Thank you for providing ways for our students to connect and refresh during this busy time of year. Below is a sampling of the events. A complete listing can be found on the University’s campus calendar.

Spring Band & Orchestra Concert

The Ferris State University Symphony Band, West Central Concert Band and Chamber Orchestra will present a special concert, the “125th Anniversary of the FSU College of Pharmacy: A Musical Celebration” on Sunday, April 28 at 4 p.m. inside Williams Auditorium. This season finale concert, directed by Scott Cohen and Dale Skornia, will feature musical selections that celebrate important moments in the history of pharmacy since ancient times through the present, including at Ferris State University.

Sunday’s event will also feature presentations by Pharmacy students, faculty, alumni and emeriti, in addition to the presentation of student awards and scholarships. Even for someone who has spent most of his life as an active musician, this is a collaboration and programming that I have not experienced before. If your schedule permits, this would be a wonderful way to show support for our pharmacy students and music programs.

OMSS Annual PIGNIC and BGC Stepshow

On Saturday, May 4, the Office of Multicultural Student Services will host its annual PIGNIC on the Campus Quad from 1 to 4 p.m. Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to enjoy a meal together and celebrate the end of the school year. This event is free and everyone is welcome to attend. It is followed by another tradition, the Black Greek Council Stepshow, in Williams Auditorium at 6 p.m.

Pancakes with the President

“Pancakes with the President” will be held on Monday, May 6, starting at 10 p.m. in the Rock Café. This provides a welcome opportunity for students to take a short break from studying to enjoy a late night snack with their peers. If you have volunteered in the past, you know what a fun evening this can be. It is a wonderful opportunity to engage with our students in a unique way. Volunteers are always welcome. If you would like to help serve our students, please contact Terri Cook at ext. 2504 or [email protected]

16th Annual Police Memorial Ceremony

On Tuesday, May 7 at 9 a.m., the University will host the 16th annual Police Memorial Ceremony on the North Quad. This year’s program includes a keynote speaker, an Honor Guard, the playing of “Taps,” the Big Rapids Middle School choir singing the Irish Blessing, and the placement of a wreath to honor those who currently serve in law enforcement and those who have lost their lives keeping their communities safe from harm. Regrettably this group of fallen heroes includes graduates of our criminal justice program. Please join us for this moving and meaningful ceremony that recognizes officers representing local, county, state and federal departments who help keep our communities, our people and loved ones safe.

Legislative Day

The original legislative day in January was cancelled due to the extraordinary weather resulting from the polar vortex. Governmental Relations and General Counsel has rescheduled the annual Legislative Luncheon in Lansing for Wednesday, May 8. This provides the opportunity to help elected officials and their office staff see and understand some of the remarkable work happening at Ferris State University. Together we remind our legislators how critical state support is for our students. A bus will depart from the Big Rapids Holiday Inn at 8 a.m. and return by 5 p.m. for those interested in transportation. Our legislators are always impressed by the number of people from Ferris and Big Rapids who support this event. Everyone is welcome. To reserve a seat on the bus, please contact Jody Greco at [email protected]

Athletics

Our men’s tennis team, three-time defending league tournament champions, is entering the GLIAC tournament in Midland tonight as the #3 seed and will face #6 seed Ashland at 6:45 p.m. They beat Ashland earlier this month 5-2 at home in the only regular-season matchup between the two teams. First-round winners will advance to Saturday's semifinals beginning at 3:45 p.m. with the title match on Sunday at 9 a.m. We wish the team well in this weekend’s tournament play.

On Saturday our football team is hosting its annual Crimson & Gold spring practice game at noon. This game concludes the team’s official spring practice drills and gives our football fans a chance to watch the team for the first time since last fall’s national championship game. If you are in Big Rapids this weekend, come out to Top Taggart Field for a fun afternoon of Bulldog football.

David L. Eisler, president