President's Message to Campus - January 25, 2019

Festival of the Arts

On Friday, Feb. 1, the Festival of the Arts begins its monthly offering of workshops, concerts, plays and other events for the community to enjoy. This year’s Festival includes a wide array of offerings, by my count ninety-nine events throughout the month of February. The Festival of the Arts includes music, dance, photography, sculpture, theatre, painting, cinema, comedy, culinary, literature and more. In these you can observe, listen and participate.

The Festival of the Arts brings many artists to Big Rapids, but also features a significant number of events featuring members of the Ferris community, including David Baker, Lilia Caserta, Scott Cohen, Christopher Cosper, Pasquale Di Raddo, Kristy Motz, Dave Murray, Wendy Samuels, Dale Skornia, our FIRST Robotics RSO, English, Literature and World Languages, Kappa Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity, our Bands and Orchestra, Alpha Psi Omega theatre fraternity, Hospitality Management and undoubtedly others. If you are presenting or participating please let me know.

You can find the Festival booklets containing the schedule of events at various locations throughout Big Rapids, or you can see the complete schedule at There are many wonderful events to choose from, some of which are for the whole family to enjoy. Please take a moment to look at what the Festival of the Arts has to offer this year. Most of these events are free and open to the public. It is difficult to imagine any other small community in America that enjoys a festival of this size and scope during the heart of the winter.

Beyond Initiative Receives Recognition

The International Institute of Education is awarding Ferris State University with the 2019 Heiskell Award Honorable Mention in the Scholars as Drivers of Innovation category. This award recognizes the efforts of the Office of International Education to engage faculty members and create a collaborative partnership for campus internationalization through the Beyond Initiative.

The University will receive the award at the 2019 IIE Summit in New York City on February 18. The Beyond Initiative will be featured at the conference as a best practice in international education, and a summary of the program will be included in IIE’s new "best practices" feature, both online and in their IIENetworker magazine.

More than 150 faculty and staff across the University have participated in the Beyond Initiative. From hosting exhibits and co-curricular activities, to a TEDx-type speaker series called Minds Aflame, and Deliberative Dialogues in the classroom, this award recognizes the importance of these efforts at our University.

Congratulations to our faculty and staff, and to the Office of International Education on this well-deserved recognition.

Legislative Day

On Thursday, Jan. 31, the University is hosting the annual legislative luncheon in Lansing. This day provides an opportunity to talk with our state legislators and share some of the great things happening on our campuses, and to remind them how important state support is for our students. If your schedule permits, I would encourage you to join us. A bus will be departing from the Big Rapids Holiday Inn at 8 a.m. for those interested in attending. To reserve a seat on the bus, please contact Jody Greco at [email protected]

Master of Architecture Accreditation

The Master of Architecture degree program at Kendall College of Art and Design was granted a three-year term of initial accreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. This is wonderful news for Kendall and its students enrolled in the program. Congratulations to the Kendall faculty and staff, President Leslie Bellavance and Program Director Brian Craig on this achievement.


Seventy-three student-athletes were recognized for achieving GLIAC All-Academic & All-Academic Excellence Team honors during the fall 2018 season. These student-athletes represent six varsity programs – football, volleyball, soccer, women's tennis, women's cross country and men's cross country. The All-Academic Team represents students who carry a cumulative GPA of 3.0-3.49, with the Academic Excellence Team representing those student-athletes who have a cumulative GPA of 3.50-4.0. We are proud of our student-athletes, their hard work and success, both in their sport and in the classroom. Congratulations on this honor.

Tomorrow our women’s and men’s basketball teams face Lake Superior State at home at 1 and 3 p.m. respectively. This is an important game for both teams. The women are currently fifth overall in the GLIAC with the top eight teams at the end of the season reaching the league tournament. The men’s team will “Fight for First" as they are currently 14-7 overall this season and tied with Lake Superior State for first place in the GLIAC North Division. If you are in Big Rapids this weekend, come out and support the teams on Saturday.

David L. Eisler, president