President's Message to Campus - March 22, 2019

Standing in Solidarity

On Tuesday morning a group of students, faculty and staff gathered inside the IRC to attend a memorial for the 50 Muslim men, women and children killed last Friday worshipping in Christchurch, New Zealand. During the memorial, several members of the Ferris and Big Rapids community spoke about the tragedy and the personal impact this can have. Saudi Arabian student and leader at the Islamic Center of Big Rapids, Ahmed Alshammari, shared his thoughts on the tragedy. Mohammed Al Hussain, also a Saudi Arabian student and Islamic Center student leader, prayed in Arabic and then explained the prayer in English. Others had the opportunity to say a few words, express their condolences and to share a moment of silence for the innocent lives lost.

Each of us can think back to moments when horrific violence reminded us of how fragile life can be. In a moment the stability of our daily lives can be rocked by inconceivable acts of hatred and violence. Mr. Ferris often lectured on how the purpose of his school was to make the world a better place. In our own way each of us works to help build this future based on compassion and support for all people, no matter their ethnicity, gender, religion or beliefs. This is the world we want to create and build for our students, for our children and for their future.

I want to personally thank our faculty, staff and students who organized this gathering. It is important members of the Ferris and Big Rapids community can come together to grieve, to mourn and to remember the lives of those lost and their families. Especially at this time we need to reach out to Muslims in our community and tell them we care about them, we want them here, and that our University is a safe and comforting place for them as they suffer from this tragedy. When we are able to show love and compassion, and express our care and concern for those around us, we affirm the values we hold dear as a diverse and inclusive institution.

Budget Forum

As a University community we are dealing with unprecedented declines in the number of high school graduates. This has resulted in enrollment declines across our state and at Ferris. Over the past three years we have reduced the Big Rapids and Kendall budgets, and we will again need to make some very difficult budget decisions for next year. This affects each and every one of us. Together we have dedicated much of our lives to this institution. Like you, I care deeply about Ferris and the impact this has on us and our institution.

Please join me in open budget forums scheduled over the next two weeks so we can closely examine these trends, review enrollment patterns and together consider our future. I very much want to share with you what lies ahead and to hear your thoughts and ideas as we move forward. I believe strongly that we can and will do well even in this challenging environment. Our University is strong and unique. By working together we can be the example of how this is accomplished in Michigan.

Please attend one of the three forums scheduled in the University Center, Room 202A – Monday, March 25 at 10 a.m.; Wednesday, March 27 at 2:30 p.m.; or Tuesday, April 9 at 11 a.m. I look forward to sharing this information, visiting with you and answering your questions.

Theatre Performance

Next week, under the direction of Katherine LaPietra, FSU Theatre will present The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a play based on the novel written by British author Mark Haddon. The play depicts a mystery surrounding the death of a neighbor's dog that is investigated by Christopher Boone, a boy who has an autism spectrum condition, and his relationships with his parents and school mentor.

Since its premiere run in England in 2012, this unique show has received many accolades including Tony and Olivier Awards. The play runs at Williams Auditorium Thursday, March 28 through Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday, March 31 matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Williams Auditorium Box Office and online.

Athletics

Senior men's golfer Andrew Hammett has been chosen as the GLIAC Player of the Week. He earned medalist honors with a 136 total over two days before carding an impressive 66 in the final round at the Saginaw Valley Spring Invitational last weekend at Cherry Blossom Golf Course in Georgetown, Ky.

This week the Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced the 2018-19 WCHA Scholar-Athlete Award recipients. Seven members of our men's ice hockey team were honored – Oskar Andren, Cameron Clarke, Dominic Lutz, Liam MacDougall, Joe Rutkowski, Zac Tierney and Zach Yoder. Tierney earned this recognition for the third-straight year while Lutz, Rutkowski and Yoder are all repeat honorees.

Congratulations to these student-athletes for their success in competition and in the classroom.

David L. Eisler, president